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Gaelic Storm blows into The Maryland Theatre

April 03, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

Gaelic Storm knows how to have fun and how to poke fun.

The band's first gig was on St. Paddy's Day in Santa Monica, Calif., in 1996 when the band was just together to have fun.

Back then, their idea of rehearsing was "We went to my place, drank some beer, told some stories and practiced two songs," guitarist Steve Twigger said in a recent phone interview.

"We had no dreams or desires of taking this anywhere but locally," Twigger said. "We really were just having the time of our life with it."

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Then the band performed in the 1997 movie "Titanic" as the party band in the steerage section. That appearance opened a few doors.

"After some reluctance we stepped through them," said Twigger, 47, who lives in Austin, Texas.

Since "Titanic," the band has gained a following. And they've headlined at Milwaukee Irish Fest, which Twigger said is considered one of the world's largest Irish festivals.

On Friday night, Gaelic Storm will perform at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.

Twigger describes Gaelic Storm's music as a contemporary version of Irish music. Band members bring their experiences from performing in rock bands and use an African percussion set rather than a regular drum set to create a world music flavor.

Some members have left and new ones have joined. The remaining original members are Twigger and Patrick Murphy. Members are from Ireland, England, Canada and the U.S., though most of them have become U.S. transplants.

The most recent CD the band released was "Bring Yer Wellies" in 2006. Wellies are rubber boots; on the CD cover, a pony wears a pair.

Now, the band is putting the finishing touches on a new CD, due out this summer, called "What's the Rumpus?" Twigger said "What's the rumpus?" is an Irish phrase for "What's going on?"

Maryland Theatre patrons will get to hear some songs from the new album as well as fan favorites such as "Johnny Tar" and "Me and the Moon," during which the band gets the audience to sing along to the chorus and flash lights from their cell phones or cameras.

As the group starts up its new tour, fans also have been asked to bring something along to concerts: a unithong.

The joke is on band member Pete Purvis. Gaelic Storm members posted on the band's Web site that Purvis was collecting unithongs; they asked fans to bring unithongs to concerts.

The posting went online at the end of the last tour in March, which included concerts on a Caribbean cruise with John Mayer and Barenaked Ladies, Twigger said. During that cruise, Mayer came out in a unithong.

For those not familiar with the garb, it is a thong that stretches up over the shoulders, a la the lime green unithong Borat wears in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." (To see an example, go to www.herecomestheboss.com/images/news/lg_a-borat2.jpg.)

"We keep threatening to make (Purvis) wear that on stage," Twigger said.




If you go ...



WHAT: Gaelic Storm

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, April 4

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: $29.96 in advance; $32.04 the day of the show

MORE: For tickets, call The Maryland Theatre at 301-790-2000 or go to www.mdtheatre.org.




Hear it for yourself



Courtesy of Gaelic Storm, listen to "Me and the Moon" from the album "Bring Yer Wellies."

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