The News Journal
March 11, 2010
Black 47: For the Irish punk in you

Black 47: For the Irish punk in you

By Peter Bothum • The News Journal • March 11, 2010

There will be two camps that form in the next week, with one notably larger than the other: Those who revel in St. Patrick's Day and its accompanying drinking, music and merriment, and those who feel that the whole thing is Blarney.

Members of the first group probably already have their plans set, or else they could pick from an event or participating venue on pages 16, 17 and 31 of this section.

As far as music purposes go, the epicenter of Irish music this weekend is the World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia, where Black 47 will perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Many fans of political Celtic rock think of The Pogues first and foremost, but Black 47 has to be considered The Beatles to their Rolling Stones.

Youngins, meanwhile, seem to favor Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. But those bands wouldn't exist if Larry Kirwan's crew of rabble-rousers hadn't set up shop in New York in 1989 and blasted away with festive romps ("Funky Ceilli," "Different Drummer") and angry pleas for peace ("Livin' in America," "Rockin' The Bronx").

With a sound bursting with uilleann pipes, tin whistles and an impressive arsenal of brass, Black 47 is the unofficial band of St. Patrick's Day.

Tickets for the show range from $21-$34 (including preposterous processing fees). Visit

Those who want to avoid the green beer, leprechaun hats and fiddle-and-banjo style music should check these shows out:

Alice In Chains, 8 p.m. Saturday at The Tower Theatre, 69th and Ludlow streets, Upper Darby, Pa.

Replacing a dead lead singer isn't easy.

It worked for Queen, because they never really did it. After Freddie Mercury's death in 1986, the band played a few stadium shows with revolving lead singers. When they toured with former Bad Company main man Paul Rodgers as their singer, they made it clear: This was Paul Rodgers + Queen, not the real-deal Queen by any stretch.

It didn't work for INXS. After Michael Hutchence died in 1995, the band put in the douche from "American Idol," which was a disaster from the moment he opened his mouth. The band with eight players could have 80, and it wouldn't matter -- Hutchence was the band. Period.

Then there's Alice In Chains, which went into hibernation for a while after Layne Staley died in 1995, and then went through a batch of replacement frontmen after deciding to reunite. They finally settled on William DuVall, singer for the band Comes with the Fall, and the response has been mainly positive.

Maybe that's because guitarist Jerry Cantrell wrote the tunes, and Staley delivered them with one of the most amazing rock voices of the last 20 years. But they're still good tunes, and DuVall handles them well.

Alice In Chains' show Saturday at The Tower is sold out. Check or your favorite ticket broker to see if you can nab your own tickets.

Michael Buble, 8 p.m. Tuesday at The Wachovia Center, 3601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.

You want to hate Michael Buble. You need to hate Michael Buble, especially after you watched Canada -- his native country -- rip gold medals off the necks of the U.S. hockey team.

But you can't. Because Buble is a modern-day, poor man's Frank Sinatra. A sweet crooner with style. A handsome dude who seems cool. A guy who puts out music that non-fans probably wouldn't voluntarily buy or fire up, but who also wouldn't throw up if it were on in the background.

Tickets to see Buble do his thing at Philadelphia's big house range from $49.50-$95. Naturally 7 opens the show. Visit

Mike Gordon, 9 tonight at the TLA. The Phish bassist plays a trippy solo show. Tickets are $23 at

The Disco Biscuits, 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St., Philadelphia. The city's own jam band was influenced by Gordon and Phish.

Contact Peter Bothum at 324-2885 or

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