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Bahnhof Biergarten to host annual St. Patrick’s Day party

March 15, 2019

St. Patrick’s Day is a time for revelry and a celebration of all things Ireland.

A country still divided with a history of unwanted dominance by next door England, Ireland has endured a 900-year struggle for independence and self-governance, fighting through various famines that sent thousands of its citizens to the United States over the years.

As a result, about 10% of Americans can authentically claim Irish heritage and that lineage is heralded the most on St. Patrick’s Day.

Due to the good-natured and affable aspects of Irish culture, however, the holiday is celebrated by citizens of all walks of life and DNA in the U.S. in the days before winter turns to spring. With the tales of leprechauns, a love for drink and a heritage of music that is distinctive, fun and special, St. Patrick’s Day has become a reason to party, dance and eat.

West Virginia has its own unique Irish history with Irish Brigades that fought on our land during the Civil War. They left their mark on our hills and mountains with the sport of Irish Road Bowling, with official tournaments still held every spring in Ireland, WV.

Here in Huntington, the Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten will host its annual St. Patrick’s Day party this weekend featuring live music, busy beer taps and great food.

The St. Paddy’s Day weekend will start off with the Modock Rounders performing from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 16.

On Sunday, March 17, which is the official St. Paddy’s Day, The Charleston Rogues will perform from 2 to 6 p.m. Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten is located at the corner of 7th Avenue and 8th Street.

The Charleston Rogues are an 8-piece band that is directly inspired by the Celtic punk sounds of the legendary group The Pogues, an outfit that raised the roof of the genre in the 1980s and 1990s. The Charleston Rogues not only kick in the power and fun of Celtic punk music at their shows, they also play more traditional jigs and reels while bringing in Appalachian influences into their sound.

The Charleston Rogues include T.J. King on guitar, vocals and tin whistle, Andrea Anderson on banjo and vocals, Misty Dawn Lomas on whistle, vocals and percussion, Garret Maner on accordion, clarinet and anything he picks up, Dan Carney on fiddle and vocals, Jake Wegman on drums, Kevin Kidd on bass and Eric Dye on guitar and bass.

“A few years ago, when they were doing the Celtic Calling festival in Charleston, one of the organizers asked me and a few other people if we would be interested in starting a band that would cover the music of The Pogues,” said Andrea Anderson. “We decided to give it a shot and it became so much fun that we have been doing it for about four years now. I have been a fan of the Pogues for a few years now. How can you not fall in love with a bunch of their songs? They are so good.”

As The Charleston Rogues band took shape, various influences creeped into their sound based on the styles of the musicians that joined the group.

“Several of my band mates have spent some time in Ireland and have played in fiddle-based bands and they know a lot of traditional Irish music,” said Anderson. “So, we add in various Irish and Scottish jigs and reels to our sets. We will combine ‘The Foggy Dew’ with the ‘Congress Reel,’ and we’ll also play ‘The Apple Highlander,’ ‘Maggie’s waltz’ and ‘The Mug of Brown Ale,’ ‘The Rose in the Heather’ and more. Our accordion player has spent time in Europe and he brings in polkas as well. This has been a real learning experience for a lot of us, but also a lot of fun.”

When you are a band that can play a combination of Celtic punk, jigs and reels and lovely waltzes from the Old Country, St. Patrick’s Day audiences are enthusiastic and ready to lift you up should you put a wee bit of thunder in their ears.

“I have invited friends of mine out to see our shows, but they get intimidate by the idea that it is going to be this wild and crazy St. Paddy’s Day crowd, but for the most part we have a really good time and our audiences are cool,” said Anderson. “Our fans get up and dance. The best times are when they crowd is singing along and they know the music and they request tunes. If you are big fan of The Pogues, then you will get a lot more out of our band than if you had never heard of them. The cool thing is if you are not currently a fan of The Pogues, our group will turn you into one. We feel like that is some of the best music out there and we are honored to play their tunes.”

The Charleston Rogues will also slow it down with songs that will lift the heart of those with Irish relatives long lost, or for those who appreciate working class people just trying to survive.

“We also play a favorite song by The Pogues called ‘Navigator,’ because if you are a West Virginian you can relate to the plight of the navigators,” said Anderson, about the people that dug “the canals and the bridges, the embankments and cuts, they blasted and dug with their sweat and their guts.”

“They were people who worked very hard doing physically difficult jobs that was thankless a lot of times. A lot of people were injured and killed doing that work. One of the lines in the song says, ‘They died in their hundreds with no sign to mark where, to save the brass in the pocket of the entrepreneur.’ There is no doubt that coal mining culture can relate to that.”