Thursday, March 5, 2015

Paddy Moloney & The Chieftains Concert Review

The Chieftains: Matt Molloy, Paddy Moloney & Kevin Conneff (r)

Fiddles, Flutes & Step Dancing, Oh My!

Saint Patrick's Day came early at the Music Center at Strathmore last night, courtesy of Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains. After addressing the crowd in Gaelic for a few moments, Moloney caught himself and declared (in English) "53 years together as The Chieftains!" You just can't fake that much history. Thankfully, Moloney and company had no intention of mailing it in, showcasing their familiar musical chops with a myriad of helpers (including an astronaut, lots of dancers and even Strathmore's own Young Men's Chorus.)

Concert Review

90 minutes literally flew by, with the exception of an overlong mid-set homage, that included a few too many (sometime lackluster) solo performances. Outside of that, it was "pedal-to-the-metal" from start to finish. Included in the mix, a few laughs such as Moloney's "I don't know what he's going to sing, but we'll hope for the best." Luckily, Kevin Conneff, the band's lead vocalist had "Top of the Mountain" up his sleeve, setting the table for a rousing evening of song and dance.

From there, the Pilatzke Brothers took turns dazzling the audience along with fellow dancer Cara Butler and the absolutely delightful Doug Leahy and the Next Generation Leahy, six of the most talented (and adorable) Canadian kids you've ever seen or heard, ranging in age from four to 12. My favorite performer of the night was singer extraordinaire Alyth McCormack, a Scot no less, that wowed with a soulful rendition of "Raglan Road," that gave way to a stirring Scottish song, "about the price of tobacco," which brought on a well-timed, sarcastic cough from Moloney.

Also on hand, current NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, who performed on stage (and video, from outer space) as well as members of the Richard Montgomery H.S. band from nearby Rockville, Maryland. By the time, the entire ensemble walked the room to "March to Battle," everyone in the audience was on their feet. How do you top that? Éirinn go Brách (Ireland Forever!)