04 March 2007

Hercules Mulligan's Irish Boat Tour, St. Paddy's Celebration at The Riviera

Well, that's what I would call the new listing of Hercules Mulligan events, but I'm just a fan (excluding immediate family, one of the original non-blood-related fans) and fellow beer drinker. The 'boat' reference comes from the band's love for Irish boat-themed songs...and I'm actively searching for more Irish, Scottish, and Celtic songs to add to the 'fans suggestions list'.

The Hercules Mulligan mascot, with standard issue Guinness in hand.

I have no idea if the fellas even have a 'tour name' yet (you gotta think big, if nothing else), but they are getting some more regular bookings around here. Thank Heavens other people have gotten clued in onto their talent. Today, regular gigs. Soon, weekly gigs that pay good money (well, as good as this area will support anyways.) Soon after that, weekly gigs that pay good money and gets them even more recognition. One step at a time, one step at a time. In the buildup to superstardom, though, they seem to take well to chicken strips, Guinness as mentioned above, whiskey shots, and tips in the tip jar. Much to my chagrin, though, they Chris King (lead singer) isn't too keen on my Irish fave, "Molly Malone". Still I love seeing them play, as they do a good job and seem to be enjoying themselves, too. By popular request, I finally got a decent picture taken of them 'in the act' the other night and have it included it here.

(Hercules Mulligan, left to right) Chris Mankoff (vocal, fiddle, mandolin, spiritual advisor); Zack Mondry (upright bass, mandolin, underpaid sound guy); Chris King (lead vocal, whistle, bodhran, fearless leader & comedian extraordinaire); and David Cauthorn (guitar, part-time underpaid sound guy). (Descriptions taken from their MySpace profile...I would have included more colourful adjectives.)

Additionally, the fellas have taken the plunge and joined MySpace. I understand from Dave (guitar) that he's updated the site with all the future gigs, but they do have a 'rotating' schedule now at The Hibernian Pub & Restaurant in Cary. The next Herc gig is at The Cary Hibernian on March 14th and starts at 8pm.

The WR and I got a chance to take them in this past Wednesday at The Hibernian (which has really great fries and burgers, as long as you tell them to hold the salt). It was one of those nights that hint at an oncoming spring and summer, where some warm southerly breezes drifted in and one had a burning desire to fire up a grill somewhere. Or go to Goodberry's next door and load up on a chocolate concrete with black cherry topping, all served up in a waffle cone. (C'mon, summer.)

It was a good night...a bit more subdued and laid back than expected perhaps...but we're all storing up energy for the big St. Patty's Day weekend. (Oh, if the State Parks people would let us temporarily dye Jordan Lake or something for the day.) This year's big St. Patty's blowout will *not* be at King's Barcade (which will soon be demolished to make way for yet another parking lot of concrete and asphalt...not progress), but instead will be at The Riviera Restaurant and Lounge, located on Wilmington Street in Raleigh, on the 16th. There's a $5 (USD) cover charge for the gala, which is more than fair. Pat, the celebratory ringleader, says it's okay to post this info for all local readers...he believes that no one's a stranger on St. Paddy's, but instead 'just drunks we haven't met yet'. Tentatively, the start time is scheduled for 9pm, but get there earlier for food and to mingle. (And judging by the size of the mailing list, we may need something larger than the Riviera to hold us all.) Pat does recommend parking at the Alexander Square parking deck. The Hercs, God Bless 'em, headline this singalong fiesta on the 16th...to only then turn around and do 3 more gigs around town the next day.

Two of the bluegrass die-hard devotees in Herc (namely Zack, who plays upright bass *not* cello, and Dave) also do the local Bluegrass Jams, too. (And Lord only knows how much else, as they seem to always be playing somewhere...a sure sign of the love they have for the music.) These are the same jams that were recently moved from Hideaway BBQ (and in my opinion, was a bad decision on Hideaway's part) to Helios Coffee on Glenwood Avenue in downtown Raleigh. Their next Bluegrass Jam, by the way, is this Tuesday, March 6, downtown at Helios from 7-10pm. It's an open jam, by the way, folks, and local musicians and singers are encouraged to come participate. Helios has fabulous acoustics, too, and a pretty good wine selection. Parking is handily next door (rare for that area of town).

So come, have a beer, sing a song, heckle Chris King a bit, meet new friends, and just enjoy yourself. Support the fellas and the live music scene!

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