My buddy Allen kidnapped me from work early on St. Patrick's Day and we started a little before our wives were ready to go. We went to O'Dowd's, which claims Irish pub status; it serves the right libations and the right food, but that's pretty much where it stops. Granted, I have a bias, having owned an Irish bar for six years and drank my way through Scotland and Ireland when I visited.
As we walked in, the band playing outside was butchering Dave Matthew's Band. At an Irish bar. On St. Patrick's Day. "I'm not really sure I want to be here." I told Ashley as we got in line to pay cover.
|I normally don't mind paying cover. If the band is good.|
And it's not St. Patrick's Day. And the bar doesn't overcharge.
And the service can keep up with the crowd. And the band is good.
They were charging cover. At an Irish bar. On St. Patrick's Day. As if making money hand over fish was simply not enough. I looked at Ash and said, "What a bunch of greedy assholes." (I didn't say "assholes," but sometimes my mother-in-law reads this and I can get away with "assholes." What I really said rhymed with "brother pluckers." Nuff said.)
To me, it is bad form that an Irish bar would charge a cover on their biggest day of the year, then upcharge for beer. But we found a place to stand next to a table. That's right. They'd removed the stools. And we proceeded to drink Harp and Guinness from plastic cups. I forgave them that; I did the same thing when I was in the business.
A really skinny guy that I recognized as either the lead singer of Black 47 or the guy who plays bagpipes outside City Market on the weekends was setting up on stage. The Black 47 guy probably has a gig on St. Patrick's Day, so I had my answer when he pulled out his pipes with the easily recognizable faux cowhide bag cover and started yammering away on the pipes.
We were 15 feet from a very large speaker and the sound in O'Dowd's sucks anyway, and I thought this joker was really going to mess it up. I was wrong
He really outdid himself. I'm fairly certain O'Dowd's hired them without benefit of an audition. He played bagpipes, an out of tune guitar and occasionally, tinwhistle very loudly. The lady played squeaky fiddle and worse keyboards.
I love bagpipe music, but Allen and I had to stop ourselves from griping about the level of play and concentrate more on the slow service and the steroid-riddled ape who kept bumping into his wife.
By the way, here's a great version of 'Cullen Anderson' by the Vancouver Police Department Pipe Corps. Ashley and I had it played as the wedding party walked into the reception. There are probably two dozen pipers playing a four minute song, and I identified two sour notes. The guy we listened to hit two dozen sour notes in one minute of 'The Clumsy Lover.'
Here's one more bagpipe tune for my Scottish buddies, Allen and Doug, who both wore kilts on St. Patrick's Day. It's also for anyone who reads this and who thinks bagpipes are Irish. (I'm looking at you, Bob Reeder.) Anyway, this is 'Scream' from Seven Nations, and if it's possible for a bagpiper to "shred," their bagpiper shreds.
Allen slipped the waitress a pre-order twenty and asked me to switch places with Sarah, sans-twenty but I was happy to do it. The waitress started coming by more often and the 'roid head was bumping backwards less often. He did slip his business card in my back pocket before he realized it was guy standing behind him, though.
Ash and I met three great people through Doug, Felicia, Sam and (I know I'm going to butcher the spelling) Jong, who claims to be able to eat the hottest anything you put in front of him. I can't wait for that outing.
We decided to cut out early as The Kelihans started to set up. It's not that we dislike the band, we just felt it would be rude to leave right as they start playing, especially since we know them. We just needed to relieve Grandma of babysitting duties.
On the plus side, I've got an in next time you need to rent office furniture or a mobile DJ. That's right... "Roid Boy.