Melting pot rock: The Young Dubliners in Carson City on Sunday
The Young Dubliners appear to be the kind of band music writers can’t wait to meet, or at least describe the Dubs with the following equation: “(rock band) meets (Celtic musician).”
The Dubs ” a mix of Dublin dudes and Los Angeles lads ” certainly have a distinct Irish flavor, no more so than on their Dec. 8 collection of Celtic covers, “With All Due Respect ” The Irish Sessions.” But listeners are just as likely to hear the influence of U.S. and British rock as Irish. And the Dubs’ frenetic live show rocks a lot harder than Clannad and gets a lot more fans jumping than Enya.
“We’re all rockers in this band, that’s the thing,” frontman Keith Roberts said Monday from Milwaukee. “Every one of us joined the band to rock out.”
As such, the Dubs’ dedicated fans find them where sensitive Celtic singer-songwriters might fear to tread.
“It’s funny, because Colorado and Lake Tahoe, we’ve seemed to click well with the mountain folk,” Roberts said. “We’ve always had this history with the skiers and the snowboarders, and it’s great.”
“The young crowds that live in the resort towns and work their asses off, they like to rock out.”
A similar play-hard/work-hard ethic seems to drive the Dubs. After their March 9 show at Brewery Arts Center in Carson City, the Young Dubliners will celebrate one of the biggest weeks on their calendar ” March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day ” by attempting to do something Roberts called “nuts”: playing CBS’s “The Early Show” the morning of March 15, then flying to Los Angeles to play the Roxy that night before a March 16 show at the Joint in Las Vegas, then finishing strong at the Shamrocker in San Diego on St. Paddy’s.
“We’re trying to do something that’s supposed to be impossible,” Roberts said.
Roberts is looking forward to the Carson City show and the comparative ease of getting there: The Young Dubliners had such a good time playing a beer festival in Reno over the past few years that they’re coming to Carson from a March 8 show in Salt Lake City before doubling back to Aspen, Colo., on March 12.
“We’ve got a great following again in Reno thanks to that festival,” he said. “It went from being a strange gig for us to something we really look forward to.”
Fans worried that all the rocking will dilute the Irish side of the Dubs’ sound might take comfort in the presence of Eric Rigler. The man who added bagpipes to the soundtracks of “Titanic” and “Braveheart” rounds out the regular lineup ” Roberts on vocals and guitar, bassist Brendan Holmes, guitarist Bob Boulding, drummer Dave Ingraham, and Chas Waltz on violin, keyboard, harp and mandolin.
“He can’t always come because he really is a big session player,” Roberts said. “It’s a real coup that we managed to get a whole tour in together.”
“He’s definitely like a sixth Dub now.”
Along with favorites like “Dirty Old Town,” the mid-90s song “Don’t You Worry” is emerging as a live staple with Rigler’s solo.
“Not only is it brilliant, but it gives me a chance to leave the stage and get a pint,” Roberts said.
More favorites might emerge as well. The Young Dubliners just went into the studio and have added three of their new songs to their live repertoire. Roberts alluded to a few surprises still in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.
“We’ve just about finished our eighth original album, and that’s back to form, back to rocking out, hopefully,” he said. “We’re a real band, and we write together, and no matter what we do, we get more rocking with time.
“As they say, we’re happiest when we’re at full throttle.”