The Dead Irish formed during the pandemic in Dublin and describe themselves as Irish trad/punk band based in Dublin. Their brilliant debut single just came out and is four songs of original proper Irish styled Celtic-Punk.
The most surprising development in Celtic-Punk since the end of the Covid lockdowns seems to have been that the Celtic nations have finally got Celtic-Punk, if only in a small way. Bands from the various Celtic nations have been slim on the ground but three bands have popped up recently – Gallowgate Murders from Scotland and The Outcast Crew and, today’s band, The Dead Irish from Dublin.
The first ‘proper’ track we heard from The Dead Irish was ‘Lost In the City’ which was also the lead single for the EP accompanied by a great video filmed in and around Dublin. It’s a great song based around the old Irish Folk song ‘The Spanish Lady’ but is given a great chorus and a 1970’s style Punk rock backing but feet remain firmly entrenched in Irish Folk. A catchy number that will I am certain prove Punk enough for the Punks and Folk enough for the Folkies. A real crowd pleaser for sure.
They follow this up with the instrumental ‘Morrisons Jig’ which will be familiar to many Celtic-Punk fans as the ‘Swallowtail Jig’ which for some reason has become pretty popular of late in the scene. It’s a great tune and perfect for speeding up and punking up. It’s not a easy song to pull off and even harder to give it the Punk treatment and still remain true to the songs Irish trad roots. I’ve heard plenty versions of this but this is seriously one of the best. Next onto ‘Ballad Of The Working Man’ and more traditional music but this time trad Punk. A bog standard Punk-Rock tune and absolutely fantastic. The tin whistles are put away this time for saxophone and the tale of working-class life strikes a chord in these tough times as the protagonist sees not much solidarity around him. David was lead singer of Irish Punks Hooligan who featured many times on these pages and his vocals are still as strong and powerful and here backed up by Rachel Lally on vocals is a great contrast.
For the last song we turn to Hooligan again and a cover of their great song ‘No Blacks No Irish No Dogs’. If Hooligan are remembered for anything then it should be this song. Recalling the anti-Irish racism of the 1950’s that newly arrived working class Irish immigrants found when arriving in England, especially the major cities, to work. Some play this down, even staggeringly In Ireland as it destroys their silly notions of ‘white privilege’, but talk to any Irish of that era or look up what they had to say and they’ll tell you.
(You can stream ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’ on the Bandcamp player below where it is also available to download as ‘name your price’)
Sadly that generation are in the main no more. Many moved back home and others passed away but we can be thankful for them. They were the people who fought and struggled and lived their lives so that one day the Irish as a race here could live in peace. The song rattles along in that accessible way The Dead Irish seem to have with chugging guitars and thumping drums and bass with plenty ‘whoops’ and mandolin keeping it well lit!
I was a huge fan of Hooligan back in the day (though I’m not sure if they are officially no more?) so it’s great to hear David back again. He has a real knack for writing superbly catchy and accessible music that is neither weak kneed or cliched. On top of that The Dead Irish have found a fresh approach to Celtic-Punk that will gain them plenty of fans. The band are doing something pretty novel for both the Irish Punk and Folk scenes and surely to God their must be market for it back on ‘the auld sod’ as I’m pretty sure their is over here!
CD’s of Lost In The City are available via the bands Facebook page
Here is Hooligan’s original version of ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’ performed in north London a few years back on my birthday with me there singing along in the background!