Formed: Around Christmas Eve 2005, when Portland musicians Ezra Holbrook and Jenny Conlee-Drizos first shared an admiration for the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York.” KMRIA (Kiss My Royal Irish Arse) was formed shortly thereafter and has performed in Portland on five of the last six St. Paddy’s Days.
Sounds like: The Pogues, though no one here attempts to ape Shane MacGowan’s shambling grandeur.
For fans of: The Pogues. Though the Minus Five, Black Prairie, Caleb Klauder Country Band, the Eels, Norway Rats, Celtic Conspiracy, and R.E.M. are some of KMRIA’s members’ side projects.
Why you care: There might be more authentic troupes plowing the golden songbook and certainly more practiced variants than the annual collective, but you’re not going to find anything resembling the blend of instrumental facility and rollicking, nervy swagger—no less an authority than original Pogue James Fearnley helped navigate the group through some of the trickier instrumental thickets (he approached Chris Funk and Conlee-Drizos; Decemberist-ship has its privileges). Even if the band won’t dare match the famously booze-sodden hijinks of its forebears, this first weekend St. Paddy’s show since the inaugural Doug Fir performance should see the crowd more than compensate.