This St. Patrick's Day, there will be plenty of Irish drinkin' music around Portland, but only the Doug Fir will be celebrating the darker and more poetic side of inebriation—not to mention the political troubles that often inspire it—courtesy of KMRIA. The Portland notables will play the songs of the Pogues and that great Celtic punk band's patron saint of shitfaced, Shane MacGowan. Riff City asked the members about their favorite Pogues songs.
Chris Funk of the Decemberists "Thousands Are Sailing"
"The chord progression is really interesting, and the melody almost makes me cry every time. The other night at rehearsal, Casey [Neill] pointed out some really fantastic lyrics: 'Postcards we're mailing/ Of sky-blue skies and oceans/ From rooms the daylight never sees/ Where lights don't glow on Christmas trees/ But we dance to the music.'"
Ezra Holbrook of Dr. Theopolis "A Pair of Brown Eyes"
"The song says a lot about the tragedy and the aftermath of war through a very simple and personal narrative, which gives the song a lot of power without being grandiose.... I don't know if Miles Davis ever got into the Pogues, but if he did I think he would dig this song for the same reasons."
Jennifer Conlee of the Decemberists "A Pair of Brown Eyes"
"It was the first Pogues song I ever heard. I got it on a mix tape when I was in high school.... I was relieved to hear the acoustic instruments and the chilling lyrics after listening to the synthesized pop that filled the rest of the tape."
Hanz Araki of Whyos and An Tua "White City"
"The melody comes from the Irish ballad 'The Curragh of Kildare,' which I've always thought was one of the most beautiful, but with lyrics that speak of gentrification.... He's not singing about lush forests and beautiful gardens—it's a lament for a dog track and pub being torn down for high-rises and car parks."
Casey Neill "Turkish Song of the Damned"
"It's like 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' sung by a troupe of satanic howler monkeys. By the end it transforms into a ceilidh dance in a lunatic asylum."
Derek Brown of Fernando "Bottle of Smoke"
"I love the recording and aggro vibe ... even though it's kind of a silly tune, it feels like it's about to come apart at the seams, in a good way."
Jesse Emerson of Amelia "The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn"
"It's a surly mess of Catholic imagery and Irish folklore, ornery and gruesome, but still poetic. It's got everything you want in a song: fighting, drinking, angels, devils, vomit, a resilient hero and the Shane MacGowan scream."
KMRIA plays with Casey Neill & the Norway Rats Friday, March 17, at Doug Fir. 9 pm. $10. 21+.