Another Irish festival, another tired version of those moldy oldies in our culture.
Just when you think the world didn’t need another version of the songs we know so well, along comes Icewagon Flu, the Irish American jam band that divides its time between Hoboken and Virginia.
They have amassed a following with their jam-band, jazzy melange of melodies. On Off the Wagon 2, the band plays fast and loose with the traditional songs of our culture with marvelous results.
“Nancy Whiskey” goes under the sonic knife as a boozy bar maid and emerges as a Riot Grrrl, thanks to crunchy alt-rock guitars and slurred vocal.
“Fields of Athenry” sounds like something REM might chance --should we re-christen it Fields of Athens, Georgia?
“Waxie's Dargle” has a funky jam-band beat interspersed with pipes and flutes! Imagine that!
“The reaction to our take on these traditional songs is very interesting,” says singer and guitarist Kevin Adkins.
“People are like, ‘Wait a minute. That song isn’t supposed to sound like that!’
“But that’s the point, we wanted to honor our heritage while mixing it up at the same time. The reaction is mostly positive but definitely mixed, which I think is good because it challenges the audience.”
Off the Wagon 2 takes these beloved tunes into a back alley, roughs them up and makes them into modern rock gems. In a four-star rating system, I give them a five!
Playing fast and loose with song structure is what fans of the band come to expect. They take you on a whiplash ride through rock, funk and jazz, often in the same song, on their six albums and live sets. Take it from me, this is a “flu” worth catching!
Icewagon Flu will be hitching their wagon to a number of Irish festivals up and down the East Coast this summer.
For more information on the band or to hear samples of Off the Wagon 2, log onto www.icewagonflu.com.