Singer at Home In Avalon’s ‘Irish Pub’

Source: Boston Herald
Author: Annette Cardwell (donated by Ryan Mitchell)
Copyright: (c) Boston Herald

By the time Shane MacGowan and the Popes took the stage Wednesday night at Avalon, the spirited crowd had turned the usually Euro dance club into a rollicking Irish pub.

Cracking a smile to this Boston crowd, MacGowan seemed right at home as he launched into “Streams of Whiskey” with a slurred but resounding, “This is for (Aerosmith’s) Joe Perry!”

The Popes, a six-piece outfit formed to back MacGowan on his solo debut “The Snake,” proved their live presence by bounding from tune to tune with incredible energy and talent, especially whistle/fiddle player Jon Myers.

Meanwhile, MacGowan-clad in trademark black and shades-simply rocked passively back and forth with his microphone and stmbled through the words, introducing each song with “and it goes like this.”

Singing along to such old Pogues favorites as “Dark Streets of London” and the the newer “Nancy Whiskey” and “Donegal Express,” the crowd wasn’t disappointed.

MacGowan shied away from some of the unfamiliar recent material (performing only three songs from the new release) but dipped heavily into the well of Pogues hits such as “USA” and the lilting “A Pair of Brown Eyes.”

Toward the end of the first set, MacGowan broke from the Irish theme by ripping through a boozy version of “Hippy Hippy Shake,” with the Popes rocking hard behind him.

The rest of the show clearly belonged to the Emerald Isle, with sing-a-longs to “Young Ned of the Hill” and “Irish Rover” ending the first set and an encore filled with more traditional melodies.

The Walton from Canada opened the show, drawing cheers for their Squeeze-style boucy-pop sound.

However, the real winners of the night’s opening groups were the Bogmen, an unusual punkish blend of Latin and Irish influences with a lounge-act twist.

Lead singer Bill Campion shook and howled through songs, switching impressively between a Tom Jones croon and a growl reminiscent of the Bosstones’

Ryan also writes….
At the Boston gig August 9th 1995, several hundred bar coasters were given away for free in the club. On one side they have Shane’s face from the USA “The Snake” cover with fluorescent purple/pink hair and say Shane MacGowan and The Popes rounding the top and The Snake below Shane’s picture. On the back is an ad for HMV Record Stores (an American chain) in the Boston area. I have several of these and I beleive they were one of a kind items for that gig only.