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St. Patrick’s Day Shows: Music Marathons

March 8th, 2016

with Duane and LaurenIf you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, Pittsburgh is the place to be. That’s according the Niche®, who also says:

Pittsburgh has one of the highest percentage of its population identifying as Irish, great access to bars, a thriving St. Patrick’s Day Parade that boasts over 20,000 participants, and a staggering amount of St. Patrick’s Day hype on Facebook.

10649746_714754118572430_5509741742800892289_nAnd Pittsburgh also has Riley’s Pour House, where bandmate Duane Davis and I will be performing under the big top on Riley’s Outdoor Stage from 4:00 to 7:30PM on Pittsburgh’s Parade Day. After that, we move inside to the pub’s stage where we’ll play till midnight.

Also performing under the tent on Riley’s Parade Day Weekend are The Corned Beef and Curry Band (Friday, 8-11PM) and The Wild Geese (Saturday, 8-Midnight).  You can also expect John Walsh on bagpipes, a visit from St. Patrick himself, and plenty of other surprises. Hope to see you there!

Images: 
Duane Davis, Lauren Connolly-Moore, and Lawrence Connolly. (Top)
The Corned Beef & Curry Band. (Right)

Rockin Riley’s:
St. Patrick’s Weekend and Beyond

March 15th, 2015

Rocking the Pour House St. Pat's Weekend - Friday night - compressedPittsburgh is the number-one city for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. That’s according to Niche.com, who shows the Burg beating out Chicago, Philadelphia, and even Boston for top honors.

According to Pittsburgh Magazine, past attendance at the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has ranged from 150,000 to 350,00.

Fittingly, the best advice anyone can give about attending St. Patrick’s Day events in Pittsburgh is simply this: Arrive early!

Tommy and Jimmy - compressedThat advice definitely applied to this weekend’s events at Riley’s Pour House, where the place was already packed when Connolly & Davis (above) took the stage at 8:00 on Friday night.

Backing us up were good friends Tommy B and Jimmy Z (right), and Lauren Connolly-Moore — who brought down the house as she lent her soaring voice to our renditions of “Leaving Liverpool,” “Bye, Bye Love,” and others.  In all, the night was an effective prelude to the following day, when Jim Riley opened the tent in the lot beside the main building. All day Saturday, the party became a two-stage event with both sites hosting capacity crowds that overflowed into the front and rear courtyards.

tent openConnolly & Davis took the main stage from 6:00-8:30 that evening, opening for The Wild Geese Band, who brought the first phase of Riley’s St. Patrick’s bash to a close.

Among the event’s other highlights were performances by Erich Dagnal and John Puckett, and a special appearance from the boxers of Team Ireland, in town to take part in Pittsburgh Donnybrook, to be held at The Priory on March 17.

irish boxing team from ireland - compressedCarnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek introduced the team at 8:30, bringing them onto the big-top stage along with Team Pittsburgh’s boxing coach Jack Mook (right).

“It’s going to be an honor to fight you,” Jack told the team, although naturally he predicted a win for Team Pittsburgh.

This year’s Donnybrook event is sold out. If you don’t have a ticket, I’ll hope to see you back at Riley’s.

The final phase of Riley’s St. Patrick’s Party party will be held on March 17, featuring pub favorites Mike Gallagher, Young John Gallagher, and Mark Guiser. Music starts at 2:30 and continues until the last Guinness is poured.

patrickstoriesaAnd if that still isn’t enough, you’ll want to be sure to return on March 31, when Riley’s monthly Story Night will feature St. Patrick’s Day Stories — a chance to revisit the party in story form. If you have a story to share, whether it involves this year’s three-day party or any any other St. Patrick’s Day related event, we hope you’ll consider joining us as we respond to the ancient Irish question: Cad é an scéal? (What’s the story?)

Until then . . . scop on!

Images:

Connolly & Davis — photo by Lauren Connolly-Moore.

Tommy B and Jimmy Z, performing at our January show; Riley’s Garden Tent Sign; and Jack Mook with Team Irish — photos by the 21st Century Scop.

St. Patrick’s Day Stories – image from celebratingholidays.com. It’s a neat little image, even if it does have a four-leaf clover masquerading as a shamrock. Perhaps it’s intended to suggest the luck of the Irish. In any event, it’s a step removed from St. Patrick’s trinity symbol. Alas!

Rocking the Pour House:
A Great Way to Spend a Friday Night

January 17th, 2015

Duane and Larry at Riley compressed (340x247)Riley’s Pour House just keeps getting better. Since Jim  and Cheryl Riley took over a few years back, the pub has become a mecca for people who love fun times and good music . . . and last night was no exception.

My good friend Duane Davis joined me on bass and backing vocals. We’ve been playing together for years, first teaming up in a band fronted by my brother John Connolly and then in the Laughrey Connolly Band.

All four of us (340x301)We opened with “Wagon Wheel” then moved on through a set of contemporary tunes before breaking into the chest of Irish and Celtic music. Along the way we were joined by vocalist Lauren Connolly Moore, who sang harmonies on “Bye Bye Love,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and “Leaving Liverpool”; and pianist Tommy B., who helped rock the house on such crowd favorites as “That’s All Right,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “House of the Rising Sun.” The packed house also joined in, raising the roof on the chorus of “Sweet Caroline.”

Tommy & Wild Geese (340x334)Since Riley’s has become a gathering place for music lovers and musicians alike, you never know who is going to drop by.

Last night we had a surprise visit from members of The Wild Geese Band, who took the spotlight for a late-night guest performance. Tommy B. joined them for a ringing rendition of “The Fields of Athenry.” Great stuff!

The Wild Geese will be returning to Riley’s for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Show on the city’s Parade Day, where they’ll be headlining along side The Laughrey Connolly Band. Not to be missed!

Rileys Public House Lauren piano (220x340)Lauren Connolly Moore helped close the night. Her performances are among the many reasons regulars at Riley’s always make a point of sticking around. Whether accompanying herself on the piano or singing a cappella, she always manages to bring down the house. Last night, her performance of “Long Time Travelling” was one of the highlights of the evening.

All of this goes to show why people who love good music and good times are finding Riley’s Pour House the place to be. And it’s not only a great place on weekends. Riley’s features a storytelling night on the last Tuesday of every month. This month’s session will feature tales about resolutions. I’ll be there. Until then . . . scop on!

Photos:
Duane Davis and Lawrence Connolly.
Lauren Connolly Moore, Tommy B., Duane Davis, and Lawrence Connolly.
Tommy B. and The Wild Geese.
Lauren Connolly Moore.
All photos © 2015 by Lawrence C. Connolly. 

Spotlight on All-Star Storytellers:
Larry Ivkovich

December 19th, 2014

Larry IkovichIt’s almost here. Not Christmas. Not New Year’s Eve. I’m talking All-Start Storytelling, the event that will feature this year’s top storytellers from Story Night @ Riley’s Pour House.

With fewer than two weeks to go to the event, I’d like to begin highlighting some of the storytellers who will be appearing at our year-end competition.

First up is Story Night regular Larry Ivkovich, who made his first Riley’s appearance at the Writers on Writing session back in May. He then returned in July for Midsummer Night Stories and again in August for Mannequin Adventures.

sixth-precept-front-cover-lighter-shadeLarry has a personable, folksy style that complements the intimate setting of Riley’s, and we’re excited to have him returning for an encore performance.

In addition to telling stories, Larry is an accomplished writer, with a number of short story credits in various publications, including Penumbra Magazine, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, and Triangulations.

His short fiction has also earned him distinction as a  finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and a recipient of the 2010 CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction.

His novels include  The Sixth Precept and Blood of the Daxas. The latter debuted earlier this month at Rickert & Beagle Books.

Connolly at Story Night PPG croppedAll-Star Story Night at Riley’s begins at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, December 30. Other storyteller will include Michael A. Arnzen, Joe Collucio, Owen Kilbane, Michael McBurney, Marlene Pendleton, Karyn Rok, Martha Swiss, Richard “Shaug” Shaughnessy, C. S. Wyatt, and Stephanie Wytovich.

For more information, please see Bob Podurgiel’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature article, which includes a review of our holiday-themed November event as well as an All-Star Night preview. It’s good reading.

More storyteller spotlights will be coming soon. Until then . . . scop on!

Image Credits:

Larry Ivkovich at Writers on Writing @ Riley’s, May 2014. Photo by Karen Yun-Lutz.

The Sixth Precept. IFWG Publishing, 2011.

The 21st Century Scop hosting Holiday Stories @ Riley’s, November 2014.
by Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette.