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The Concert Stage Blog

Welcome to the Concert Stage News page. Please send me an email at with any reviews, concert suggestions or website comments.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Milwaukee Irish Fest 2011

Milwaukee Irish Fest Logo Another Milwaukee Irish Fest has come and gone and all I can say is the people of Milwaukee really know how to throw a party. I was able to make my way north of the border twice this year to see some fantastic performers and eat way too much good food. On Friday, August 19th I was able to catch a bit of Brendan Hendry Band before heading over to see a new favorite form last year Kintra. Kintra did not disapoint this year with their diversity in music styles while maintaining a reverence to the traditons of the music. After Kintra I took in some traditional Donegal music played by three fiddle players named Fidil. Gaelic Storm's stage was crowded and roudy as it usually is during Irish Fest. The Friday highlight for me was the Kansas City based Celtic rock band The Elders. This band never fails to deliver.

On Sunday I was able to attend the concert with my friend, and awesome photographer, Jim Fidler. Jim has graciously allowed me to post his pictures again of this years festval. For the first part of the day we check out some local Milwaukee bands on the Celtic Rock Stage - The Sandcarvers and Whiskey of the Damned.

Every year I look for a new band that I am not familiar with that blows me away. This year the band was Skerryvore from Scottland. They call their style a "Trad-rock Fusion" that incorporates fiddle, bagpipes and accordians with traditional rock band instuments.

We managed to check out Kintra again before checking out the traditional band Altan for the first time. The day ended with another great set my the Elders.

Kintra at Milwaukee Irish Fest The Sandcarvers at Milwaukee Irish Fest
Whiskey of the Damned at Milwaukee Irish Fest Skerryvore at Milwaukee Irish Fest
Altan at Milwaukee Irish Fest The Elders at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Milwaukee Irish Fest -
Brendan Hendry Band -
Kintra -
Fidil -
Gaelic Storm -
The Elders -
The Sandcarvers -
Whiskey of the Damned -
Skerryvore -
Altan -

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taste of Chicago 2011

What do you get when two of my favorite fiddle players are playing a free concert on a beautiful summer day? An excuse for a vacation day from work.

On Wednesday I took the late afternoon train into Chicago to attend a free show by Natalie MacMaster (Gallery) and her band and an all star set by Liz Carroll, John Doyle and John Williams (Gallery) as part of Taste of Chicago.

Liz Carroll and John Doyle make the fiddle and guitar speak to each other like no one else in traditional Irish music today. An added bonus was John Williams, John Doyles old Solas bandmate and Chicagoan, making this fantastic duo into a grest trio. Their hour long show is already a highlight of my live music summer.

Natalie MacMaster performed with a scaled down version of her regular band and her 16 year old niece providing guest vocals and dance abilities beyond her years. Not many people can go from playing traditional Cape Breton style one minute to an all out blast of tunes the next minute like Natalie. On a selfish note - I really do miss the added power of the electric guitar that Brad Davidge provided on songs like the Olympic Reel in the past. Natalie MacMaster is a must see performer in the Celtic genre.

Natalie MacMaster at Taste of Chicago 2011 Liz Carroll, John Doyle and John Williams at Taste of Chicago 2011

Taste of Chicago -
Natalie MacMaster -
Liz Carroll -
John Doyle -
John Williams -