Potcheen:Best band at the Colorado Irish Festival

Potcheen was the best band at the Colorado Irish Festival
— Denver Celtic Music Examiner | July 25 | 1:51 PM

There was an incredible array of fine Irish music at the Colorado Irish Festival this year, but in my opinion, local Denver band Potcheen outshone them all. It's astounding that I can say that, when such big name bands as Gaelic Storm headlined the festival, but frankly, I think they've left behind their traditional Irish roots and moved into an Irish-flavored mainstream rock vein instead. Of course, that's what attracted over 40,000 people to the festival, and the biggest crowd at any festival concert for their Saturday performance. Nothing wrong with that, it's just not my pint of stout.

By the way, for those traditional stout fiends like me who wonder why the festival has served Coors products the past couple of years instead of the customary Guinness, the answer is the same. Over 30 thousand pints of beer were consumed at this year's festival, making it the largest seller of Killian's Irish Red in the U.S. for 2009. If you can get thirty thousand people to petition Guinness to make a better offer, give it a try.

Now Potcheen is no more traditional than Gaelic Storm, with their electric guitars and drum kits, but to me, they hold the essence of good Irish music, and package it in what they call “pirate-punk-folk-rock.” And their audience obviously agreed. While the Elders were holding forth on the main stage, Potcheen still managed to pack the pub tent with screaming fanatics, who danced and sang and joined in the fun with manic fervor and energy. Everyone from little children to their parents, middle aged and older couples and everyone in between was up and dancing by the end of their performance. For sheer mind-blowing audience interaction, these people are second to none.

The Elders were amazing, Brother was astounding, McPeake rocked the crowds, Eileen Ivers helded them enraptured, and Gobs O'Phun had them rolling in the aisles with laughter, but Potcheen just blew them all out of the water. Make sure you see them play whenever you get the chance.

—Michael Thompson

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