It's understandable for music fans to cop an "I'll bet you say that to all the girls" attitude when some band professes to love playing their city. But when the New York City-based Prodigals say that Cleveland is their favorite destination, you can take it to the banks of the River Liffey.
The Prodigals have made Ohio -- specifically this town and Columbus -- their second home. When the Prods issued a double-disc live CD last year, it wasn't culled from a show at their base of operation, Paddy Reilly's Pub in Manhattan. Rather, it was recorded at the Beachland Ballroom in Collinwood.
"It's hard to explain, but we never sound more alive than when we play in Cleveland," says chief Prodigal and lone founding member Gregory Grene. "It's a wild, wild alchemy. I think Clevelanders have a strong openness to new music and a hunger for something different."
The Prodigals aren't new; their sixth CD, Momentum, was released last month. However, the group is different, even among the scores of Irish American bands that meld Gaelic jigs and reels with rock and roll and other non-Irish genres. While Chicago-born, County Cavan-raised Grene pumps out the raucousness on the accordion, bassist Ed Kollar and drummer Eamon Ellams lay down a musical anchor that couldn't be moved with a backhoe, and Cork native Eamon O'Tuama fills in the cracks with some slick guitar work. Traditional, rock, punk, funk -- it all adds up to a rousing good time.