Maybe it’s in my shanty lace curtain Irish DNA.  I can’t get enough. Utah’s Irish Rock Band, Swagger, lured me away from other events last night.  Seeing the Temptations in Wendover was tempting til I heard the concert was sold out. A jazz pianist was playing at Sun and Moon Cafe.  Contra dancing at the Ladies Literary Society building in downtown Salt Lake City made the tentative schedule, but I decided to save my feet for Swaggering at Piper Down. Yes, even though I’d just seen the band a mere two weeks ago.

So what is Swagger? Most would say swagger is a way of walking, perhaps when tipsy, or a superciliously arrogant air as one walks in the room.  Utah’s Swagger is the collision of boisterous Irish drinking songs and jigs with non-stop rock ‘n roll. And … oh yes, the band’s wearing kilts.
Piper Down was where it all started for Swagger in 2007. The Celtic rock genre wasn’t an original idea, per se. Bands like Flogging Molly and the Young Dubliners were already touring internationally.  Now leading a busy schedule that includes touring with the Young Dubliners and a multitude of headliner shows in Salt Lake City and Park City, Swagger is rock-i-fying Irish and Scottish traditional music for a growing number of fans in Utah and beyond.

So about last night.  The “traditional” kilt (with plaid probably designed in China) I bought at the now defunct Mervyn’s got me free cover.  The friends were already gathered and seated at a long table in the center of Piper Down.  It was so great to see a couple of gal pals that I’d not seen in months! But the minute Swagger opened with their first number, a few fearless souls including me headed for the postage stamp sized dance floor at the foot of the stage.

I kept spying the band’s set list, a strategy to conserve energy if an especially lively song was on deck.  Seeing Swagger as the lead band is a whole different experience than seeing them as the “warm up” band.  This was a 34 song lineup … as opposed to 11 songs played at the recent Park City Harry O’s concert with the Young Dubliners.  Keeping in mind, again, Swagger is scarcely four years old.  Yes Flogging Molly has four CD’s out, but they started fourteen years ago.  In time, in time.

The Crawford School of Irish Dance ladies were there, in the thick of what was eventually a dancing mob, leading the jigging and reeling.  We tried our best to imitate their finely crafted footwork and infectious enthusiasm for Irish dancing.  And I only ran into the fiddler twice when I was looking down at my feet, which further reinforces how tiny the dance floor was and how close we were to the stage.  Or … perhaps I should watch where I’m going. Or all of the above.

Photo courtesy of Amy O’Neill Photography

Four hours later … we were done.  But not before “Morrison’s Jig” was heard twice, and songs like Fisherman Blues,” “Foggy Dew,” and “Cesh Jig” won new fans for Swagger.  Four songs about whiskey … “Whiskey Before the Break,” “Whiskey the Devil,” “Whiskey on the Floor,” and “Whiskey in the Jar” … made the lineup. It’s a known fact that I don’t make the bars here much money as far as my bar tab … water is free.

So you missed seeing Swagger?  Not to worry.  Upcoming shows a plenty await (click here for their schedule).  One newly minted Swagger fan thought perhaps the band could bump off his favorite local group.  I suppose if he buys a kilt, we’ll know for sure. {smile}

Photo courtesy of Amy O’Neill Photography
Disclosure: Admission was FREE with wearing of my kilt. I was NOT compensated for this review.
Mom, MBA, yogini, concert blogger, urban hiker, flutist, lover of Euro chocolate
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