Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Latchiko's, The Pot of Gold at the End of My Rainbow

Isn't it odd that we always find the strangest things in the most peculiar places, especially when we're not looking for them? That's what happened to me a few weeks ago. While viewing a particular YouTube video, one thing led to another and now I find myself on the edge of stalking (or...as I like to call it - aggressive admiration) this three-man band of misfits. Ok, they're not really misfits, I just like the word and thought it would get your attention faster than words like: talented, funny, smart, spirited, and handsome.

Being born and reared in Southwest Louisiana, music is as much a part of our culture as food and fais do-dos are, and in this connotation do is pronounced dough! With people like Jerry Lee Lewis, Sammy Kershaw, and the soulful, sexy sounds of Buddy Guy and Harry Connick, Jr, our state is rich in music and talent. However, the world stereotypes us. Little do they know we are more than just gumbo and gators. (And we don't marry our cousins anymore either, thank you very much!) Sadly, the Irish are stereotyped too. I wonder if the rest of the world knows there is more to them than being stupid, stubborn, lazy drunks? After reading this post, perhaps both misconceptions can be dismissed.

Have you ever felt compelled to do your own thing, to think outside the box, to blaze your own trail no matter the obstacles? I have...but this piece isn't about me. It's about a band called The Latchiko's.

The 1970s produced folk singers like Joan Baez, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan. They performed with only their respective instruments. The 80s gave us rock music, big hair, and men who put on make up like Alice Cooper, Poison, and the almighty KISS (who are still rocking it in their 60s). The 90s produced the alternative sounds of grunge with the likes of Soundgarden, Nirvana and of course Pearl Jam. In 2013, The Latchiko's are helping bring back folk music, and I am thankful.

Being born in 1970, I never fully appreciated what people called folk music, until now. The energy, grit and sheer joy displayed by Aindrias de Staic, Tim Scanlan and Eimhin Cradock is infectious. What's super cool about this group is simple: plain, creative expression. That's an oxymoron if you think about it because what's plain about creativity? Is this what folk music is, simple creative expression? I don't know, never been too much for labels. What I do know is I get much pleasure in seeing them enjoy themselves in tiny UK pubs or larger US venues. They are all alone on stage with their instruments, microphones and nothing else to distract  me from the bliss on their faces, or from the lyrics that reach out and grab me, or from the tempo and rhythms that make my heart dance. This is true passion, for them and for me. No theatrics, lights, smoke, stupid costumes, which at times leaves little to the imagination, no "look-at-me-and-be-impressed" gaggle of dancers wanting to be Michael Jackson (no disrespect intended because I loved MJ!), no opening acts that linger for hours making you wish you hadn't spent that $75 on a ticket, no fancy PR or security goons trying to be Michael Corleone of "The Godfather" to keep fans at a safe distance. These guys have none of those stupid, silly, over-the-top, money-sucking distractions. Thank God!

As a writer, I understand the overwhelming desire for creative expression. Just as they are unconventional and unorthodox, so am I. For example, I don't really care if others like my poetry or prose at times. I do it to cleanse my soul. Other times, however, I want my pieces to touch you, to resonate with you somehow. And when that happens, (hell...I don't know if it ever REALLY happens or if people are just being nice, but I like to think it does once in a while) I'm over the moon happy.

Is this what it's like for Aindrias, Tim and Eimhin? I don't know because shit, I don't know them on a personal level. We're not friends, cousins, siblings, old acquaintances, or even enemies. I just like their style, grit, heart and music. I've never seen them live, but maybe one day I'll witness the real smiles on their faces. Maybe one day I'll see the corners of their eyes light up with joy. Maybe one day I'll see their hands and fingers caress instruments or beat on a drum. It could happen...

If this is what folk music is, consider me addicted. Thank you guys for thinking outside the box and for having the heart to blaze your own trail. Thank you for your creative expression. Thank you for helping me appreciate something 43 years late. You are the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow.


For your viewing pleasure, here is the extended version of "Bondi Junction." Although a shortened version is available on itunes for the ridiculous cost of a dollar! YES, a frickin dollar! http://youtu.be/1DbihZh0pfs and you can google them to find loads more.

Visit Aindrias' website at www.aindrias.com to find he's much, much more than a sober Irish fiddle player.

Photos of Tim and Aindrias courtesy of (and used with permission by) Bryan Kremkau at www.skapunkphotos.com from their performance at Irving Plaza, New York City, March 15, 2013.

Follow The Latchiko's on Twitter at @The_Latchikos and like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheLatchikos

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