Music » Livewire

The Saw Doctors

With Stonelakes. Friday, March 16, at the House of Blues.

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The Saw Doctors are sometimes compared to U2. This is based on the fact that 1) they're Irish and 2) they're not the Chieftains. But in reality, the Saw Doctors -- possessing the unbridled determination of a veteran bar band from the west of Ireland -- are as folk-rock as any band who was ever booed off the stage at Newport.

Despite opposition from the Catholic church, the band's second single, "I Useta Love Her," detailing a lusty romance during mass, became Ireland's all-time- biggest-selling single. The Doctors' contentious relationship with the Church is also evident in the chorus of "Howya Julia," a tune about the disgraced Bishop of Galway: "Oh mighty, mighty Lord almighty/It's off with the collar and off with the nightie/Jesus, Mary, and holy Saint Joseph/The beads are rattling now."

In addition to U2, critics regularly cite the pop sensibilities of the Beatles and the Byrds, and a Springsteen-like use of everyday characters and situations. In "I'd Love to Kiss the Bangles," however, the band pays tribute to an influence that hits closer to home: "And Shane McGowan's not my type/Because his teeth are green and mangled/But Jesus Christ Almighty! I'd love to bang the Bangles!"

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