It’s that time of year again. Paddy’s Day is right around the corner, that special time when, as the McManus Brothers put it, for one night, everyone is Irish. The festivities start early here in the Scenic City with Rock City’s annual St. Patrick’s Celebration kicking off on Mar. 7 and 8, and continuing the following weekend. One of the biggest bashes in towns looks to be The Honest Pint’s second annual St. Paddy’s on the Parkway celebration on Mar. 14. The wildly successful event will feature a wide array of some of your favorite bands, including the latest “band you must not miss,” Celtic Keg Stand.
Hailing from Murphy, North Carolina, this three-piece band could just as easily be a six-piece based on the energy they bring to their performances and the sheer power of their playing. Fans of the Pogues (and many others), the boys bring that same sort of punk sensibility to the stage without the inconvenience of Shane MacGowan passing out before the set is over.
James Siller deftly handles the responsibilities of frontman for the band as both lead singer and a multi-instrumentalist. In fact, Siller rivals Prince (or whatever he calls himself now) in versatility, with upwards of 17 different instruments in his arsenal. To put it bluntly, whatever the band needs for any particular tune, Siller is capable of providing. Besides his work with Celtic Keg Stand, Siller is also one-half of the bluegrass gospel duo Wayfaring Strangers and was instrumental (pun intended) in producing the Shady Creek album, Waylon Grass: A Bluegrass Tribute to Waylon Jennings. Siller traces his ancestry all the way back to 12th-century Ireland.
Chad Johnson: singer, drummer, percussionist, a man with a passion for music so intense that in his younger years, his parents would ask him to DJ their parties and social functions. Extensive vocal training and a background in dance mean that Johnson was the quintessential “song and dance” man before discovering his love for the drums. It was through his work with Celtic Keg Stand that Johnson first experienced the world of Irish and Scottish music, but having discovered it he immersed himself so completely in the genre that one wonders if his blood runs green (which would make him a Vulcan, I suppose). What is certain is that Johnson is well suited to pounding out the thunderous rhythms necessary to propel a band like Celtic Keg Stand.
Rounding out the trio is the man whose monster bass lines form the very backbone of the power trio, Josh Hopper. A longtime veteran of the KISS army, Hopper first took up guitar at the tender age of 5. From there he was unstoppable, broadening his tastes with exposure to more and more typaes of music, including his beloved bluegrass and yet…it would be some time before Hopper discovered that bluegrass music is descended from traditional Celtic music, but once he did, there was no looking back. No one-trick pony, Hopper is also a gifted singer, songwriter and guitar player who, as the be-kilted man puts it, will do whatever it takes to bring Keg Stand’s infectious music to the people.
Your next best chance to see the boys will be at The Honest Pint on Mar. 14, but keep your eyes open as the fellows are regulars at the Pint as well as Chevelle’s in Murphy and at various pubs and performance halls throughout the Southeast. Keep track of them at their webpage (celtickegstand.webstarts.com) and find their music on reverbnation. When it comes to Celtic Keg Stand and their unique “pubcrawler” style, forget opening a can of Irish whoop-ass. With these boys, it comes in pints.