St. Patrick's Day unofficially launched last month when Boston's Dropkick Murphys kicked off their 20th anniversary tour with two sold out shows at House of Blues. Since then, Galway's We Banjo Three, a "Celtgrass" act famous for being the band chosen by the Culture Ireland's Centenary Programme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising, rolled through town to play Music Box Supper Club in early March.
Fans who want to ease into the St. Paddy's Day spirit will want to check out Dervish, an elegant traditional Irish folk group that plays on Friday, March 11, at the Cleveland Museum of Art's Gartner Auditorium. The Boys from the County Hell, Cleveland's infamous Pogues tribute act, plays a warmup show that same day at the Music Box Supper Club.
On Sunday, March 13, Music Box Supper Club also hosts what it's calling "a traditional St. Paddy's Party" that'll feature Irish food and beverage specials. Local Irish groups such as the Portersharks and the Roundabouts will perform at the family-friendly event, and the Lengeghan Academy Dancers will be on hand as well. The club hosts Ireland's High Kings on March 16 as well.
On St. Patrick's Day itself, expect most of the bars in town to feature music of some sort. For the past decade, House of Blues has put together a day full of music to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Acts on its 11th Annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration will perform in both the Music Hall and the Cambridge Room, and admission is free. Boys from the County Hell start things off at 9 a.m. and will jam until noon. Expect the Prodigals, as always, to deliver a rousing set when they perform at 3 p.m. in the Music Hall. The Spazmatics, DJ Sparky B, Marys Lane and DJ Gene share the bill. Because House of Blues doesn't charge admission, the place will be packed.
Elsewhere on East Fourth Street, expect all the bars to be part of the holiday's festivities. At the Corner Alley, Bastard Bearded Irishmen will play what they call "an original and ferocious blend of rock, punk, acoustic and traditional" at 11 a.m.; and at 4 p.m., the Spazmatics will take the stage to play '80s tunes.
You could even follow the Boys from the County Hell as they make their way from House of Blues to various venues around town. It's their busiest day of the year. After House of Blues, you can find them at Flannery's from 1 to 7 p.m., and they'll wrap things up at the Harp at 9 p.m. They'll play there until closing.
Per usual, "long-time favorite" Donal O'Shaughnessy will perform at the Flat Iron, which opens at 7 a.m. and offers free shuttle rides to the parade.
Great Lakes Brewing Company will open at 10 a.m. on St. Patty's Day for its 27th annual St. Patrick's Day party. Appropriately, Conway's Irish Ale and Wolfhound Stout will be on tap, and the brewpub will offer a special menu of "classic Irish cuisine and modern bar eats." A shuttle will provide complimentary rides to the downtown parade. The Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes and Drums Band performs at 6 p.m.
In the Warehouse District, Liquid plans to open at 9 a.m. The club will roll out special food and drink menus, and will have DJs spinning all day and night long.
Kamm's Corner in West Park regularly draws a giant post-parade crowd. West Park Station opens at 6 a.m. with "kegs & eggs" and boasts "entertainment all day," including bagpipers and Irish step dancers from Burke School of Irish Dance.
Over in Lakewood, Tricky Dick & the Cover Ups will play at 7 p.m. at Around the Corner. Bagpipers will also make an appearance and a DJ will play Irish music. Around the corner from Around the Corner, Vosh Lakewood will open its doors at 11 a.m. It boasts a full day of music, including Pompous Ass, Irish Cottage Boys and Harp City.
New Barleycorn is back at Nighttown this year for St. Patrick's Day. They'll play at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
Music Box Supper Club boasts two of the city's best-known jam bands, JiMiller and Outlaw I & I, who'll perform in the Concert Hall and Supper Club respectively on St. Paddy's Day. The club promises it'll have "Irish ale" on tap. Ten bucks gets you into both rooms.
Wilbert's will be open for lunch on St. Patrick's Day and will feature local swamp rockers Cats on Holiday, who'll play a free all-ages show after the parade.
Not to be outdone, the westside punk rock club Now That's Class offers specials for the post-parade crowd from 5 to 8 p.m. when it'll feature $1 cans of beer and $1 off everything else. Then, at 10 p.m., it boasts a St. Pat's Day Metal Debauchery show with the Dallas thrash metal band Steel Bearing Hand and the California thrash group Witchhaven.