Guitarist Patrick Golden says his wildest St. Paddy’s Day took place two years ago in Monterey – the night of Bog Iron’s first performance.
“That day is charged already, so playing music on that day, the crowd was even more amped up,” Golden says before a practice session. “And we had seven people up there on stage, and I probably drank a bit more than I should have.”
This St. Patrick’s Day, the hard rocking Celtic band has two opportunities to top that decadent evening back in 2008: at London Bridge and Jose’s. The quartet is similar to Irish coffee, mixing two seemingly disparate elements – one an upper, the other a sedative – and creating one tasty, high-energy entity.
For live performances of songs like “Finnegan’s Wake,” singer John Michael, dressed in all black, towers over the audience like some kind of long-haired, Celtic demigod. The tune – about a corpse that’s not really dead – starts gently before turning to heavy. The audience responds with similar rhythm: Some jump onto the stage while others bounce furiously on the dance floor.
On the traditional Irish tune “Whiskey in the Jar,” once covered by Metallica, Michael summons similar ooph, singing like he’s shouting from the Cork Mountains while Golden manufactures Joe Satriani-esque shreds on his Yamaha Pacifica.
This genre-bending began when native Irishman Michael enlisted Golden and other area musicians to record an album of traditional Irish songs like “The Black Velvet Band” and “The Wild Rover.”
“Most of the Irish songs [Bog Iron] play come from those original sessions with John,” Golden says.
It was during those acoustic sessions that Michael and Golden discovered they had something in common: an affinity for loud, heavy music.
“For the most part we’re all hard-rock and metal guyss so we try to bring that in,” Golden says. “We used to do ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Zeppelin, and one we play now is ‘Cochise’ by Audioslave.”
Though their wildly stylized covers are their meat-and-potato pie, Bog is working on five pints of personally fermented product.
“We’re definitely going to be recording sometime in the late spring,” Golden says. “We’re trying to get some more original material together, and we’re going to add some more traditionals, done thrash style.”
For now, the Celtic head-bangers are just going to try and outdo the craziness of that first St. Paddy’s Day.