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Irish Pub-Rock: Boozy Punk Energy, Celtic Style

The Pogues, led by Shane MacGowan, influenced generations of Irish rockers.
Shaun Curry
/
AFP/Getty Images
The Pogues, led by Shane MacGowan, influenced generations of Irish rockers.

When you think about Celtic music, piercing tin whistles, mournful violins and galloping bodhran drums generally come to mind. But in the last few decades, many bands have picked up The Pogues' lead by melding Celtic folk music with punk-rock energy.

In these five songs, lightning-fast beats and slashing guitars are at least as prevalent as whistles and accordions. What remains is the exuberant side of Celtic music, which generally manifests itself in sing-along choruses and feisty lyrics about drink, rebellion, lovely lasses and so on. So forget about "Danny Boy," green beer and sad songs about hard times. The Irish are old hands at having fun in the face of adversity — and, in this case, turning up the amps way up as they pogo-dance along to the beat.

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Tad Hendrickson
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