Few things get my Irish blood pumping like a Bastard Bearded Irishmen show. Always highly energetic, the bastards’ catchy tunes, crazy stage antics, and fun banter make for a hell of an enjoyable time. Taking the outdoor stage next to SouthSide Works, the band filled the plaza with the wonderfully rad sound of Celtic-influenced punk rock.
Anyone who has been to a BBI show is familiar with the fun and sometimes dare-devilish stage antics of guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Bastard. This kilt-laden Irishman is known to dance with the audience, climb stage apparatus, and stand on amps (thanks to his wireless guitar system) — which makes the show even more fun to watch. Even while performing his punk-rock gymnastics, he never falters on his guitar.
And although the whiskey is flowing, BBI shows are always kid-friendly. These young punks joined the band onstage for the traditional Irish tune Jar of Porter. Along with that came some expert renditions of Flogging Molly‘s If I Ever Leave This World Alive and Tobacco Island, A-Ha‘s Take On Me, and Patrick Street‘s Music for a Found Harmonium.
One of the things I love about Pittsburgh’s music scene is its collaborative nature. For a few songs during the set, the band was accompanied by the masterful flautist Jess Hohman formerly of The Commonheart.
Regardless of whether or not you enjoy Irish music, every Bastard Bearded Irishman show is a tour de force that will leave you wanting more. The night gets older, the Jameson flows more freely, the songs get faster and faster. I’d argue that they get better the more whiskey they drink, akin to a Popeye-spinach scenario. Whether or not my hypothesis there is true or not, the talent of these musicians is clearly evident. They’re a fun-loving, hearty bunch of bearded bastards, and we wouldn’t want to have it any other way.