Gaelic Storm returned to the Englert Theater ready to prepare audiences for St. Patrick’s Day – the Celtic rock band had the theater standing.
On Tuesday evening, a crowd turned up at the Englert Theater wearing the appropriate colors of green and orange and releasing a faint smell of beer. The theater hosted Gaelic Storm, a Celtic rock band, who brought Ireland to Iowa City for the night of March 8.
The performance began by thanking event sponsor Micky’s Irish Pub.
“We’ve always sponsored this band in Englert because they rock, it’s always around St. Patrick’s Day, and we’re an Irish bar, so that makes sense,” Micky’s owner Aaron Jennings wrote. , in an e-mail to The Iowan Daily.
Lead singer Patrick Murphy plays harmonica and accordion and was very interactive with the crowd. Murphy got an attendee to dance on stage, gave a poster to a 10-year-old boy, and motivated the crowd to get up and dance, or go for another drink.
Murphy was quick to have the audience bursting into laughter between songs. Plus, Katie Grennan on fiddle brought classic songs to life, and Peter Purvis made it really feel like St. Patrick’s Day when he excelled on bagpipes.
Gaelic Storm sang Irish classics as well as original songs to piss off the Englert for St. Patrick’s Day. With Patrick Murphy’s Irish brogue-style shoes, special guest Irish dancers and traditional Celtic instruments, it’s safe to say attendees were feeling festive.
Iowa City resident Mark Westerhoff, who has seen a performance of Gaelic Storm before, appreciated how Patrick Murphy managed to engage the crowd.
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“It’s so danceable. It’s so much fun, and it’s been a few years since I’ve seen them and I’ve forgotten how funky they are, their baselines and their beats,” Westerhoff said. “Like I just want to move all the time.”
Emily Phelan from Waukesha, Wisconsin was on hand to watch her sister Irish dancing during the show, but has seen Gaelic Storm at least once a year in her life. Emily enjoys the classic Gaelic songs performed by the band, having listened to them all her life.
“I’ve always liked their performances. It’s such an electric, lively band, and it’s always a good comedy act too,” Phelan. “Really funny Patricks as a frontman. It’s such an entertaining performance.
Irish dancers in Gaelic Storm performances added to traditional Irish culture. Three young girls dressed in purple sequined skirts danced to the songs “Tell Me Ma” and “Scallywag”. The crowd immediately rose to their feet and poured into the aisles at the start, cheering to the rhythm of the dancers.
Participant Christina Hayes, a resident of Iowa City, also had nothing negative to say about Gaelic Storm’s performance. Hayes attended at least four performances of Gaelic Storm.
“The ‘Beer Song’ that I love, and ‘Johnny Tarr’ of course,” Hayes said.
The crowd yelled at Murphy to play these two classics for the entire show. When the band played them, Murphy asked the audience to sing along to the song.
Gaelic Storm announced at the end of the performance that they will also perform at this year’s Iowa Irish Fest.