Celtic punk band The Real McKenzies threw a belated St. Patrick’s Day party at Ottawa’s SAW Gallery on Friday.
After a suitably rollicking opening from Toronto garage rockers Wine Lips, the kilt-wearing headliners took the stage for a set of hard-driving, bagpipe accompanied punk songs about defying authority, charting your own path, and drowning your sorrows when times get bad.
There were plenty of mosh pit worthy punk tracks and cathartic sing-alongs to fan favourites like “Drink Some More” and opener “Pour Decisions.”
Cantankerous frontman Paul McKenzie interspersed the songs with dirty jokes, tall tales (did you know that Scottish LSD “turns everything fucking plaid?”), and foul-mouthed political rants (the Sex Pistols were more fond of the monarchy than these guys).
The group paid tribute to Canada’s WWI troops with the patriotic “The Lads Who Fought and Won,” but provided a more cynical take on war with the grim “Culling the Herd.” Other songs drew from works by Robbie Burns and Charles Dickens.
The McKenzies closed on a perfect note, leading the crowd in a sparse rendition of that iconic Canadian sea shanty, “Barrett’s Privateers.”
Line-up: Wine Lips / Real McKenzies
Date: March 25/2022Venue: SAW Gallery, Ottawa