Scottish punks The Real McKenzies celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a sold-out show at Calgary’s Dickens Pub.
The Vancouver-born Celtic rockers played a blistering set of bagpipe-accompanied punk, mixing original anthems with headbanging covers of Scottish folk songs.
Lead singer Paul McKenzie occasionally stopped to rant on subjects as diverse as LSD experiments conducted within Canada by the CIA, the superiority of kilts to pants, winter tours, and the importance of respecting Remembrance Day (introducing the WWI tribute “The Lads Who Fought and Won”).
McKenzie also reminisced on the moment he says solidified his career path – leaving home against his parents’ wishes to travel to an Iggy Pop and the Stooges/Alice Cooper/MC5 gig in Michigan.
“My father wanted me to become a soldier or a policeman and my mother wanted me to be a Roman Catholic priest – what did I have to lose?” he recounted. “I went to the concert, I had a great time, I got an MC5 tattoo…I became a rock-and-roller!”
They closed their set with a sing-a-long of Canadian pub staple “Barrett’s Privateers.”
The raucous psychobilly of Raygun Cowboys was a perfect start to the night, supplementing punk riffs with trumpets, trombones, and a stand-up bass.
For the punks of Calgary, there was no better place to mark everyone’s favourite holiday.
Performers: The Real McKenzies and Raygun Cowboys
Venue: Dickens Pub, Calgary
Date: March 17/2018