Scully’s Pub, High Noon Ranch, Waiki’i
April 28, 2018
There’s an Irish pineapple circuit, if you will, for Irish pub bands that want to play the Hawaiian Islands. On the surface that may seem far-fetched, but when the Vancouver, British Columbia, band The Whiskeydicks came to tour Hawaii this year, they successfully lined-up five club shows on Oahu, two on Maui, and a private home gig on the Big Island.
There’s a demand for authentic Irish music on the Big Island. In recent weeks, bands like The Alt, Switchback, and hard rockers Celtica, have had great turn-outs at large Hawaii Island venues like the Kahilu Theatre and the Honokaa People’s Theatre. Unfortunately for the Big Island there aren’t any Irish-themed pubs like Oahu’s Kelly O’Neil’s or O’Toole’s. But thanks to several dedicated music fans from the Hawai’i Irish Dance troupe, they’ve come up with a solution. When a group like the Whiskeydicks is headed for Hawaii, they’ll offer them the opportunity to include the Big Island as a stop in their tour schedule.
Lynn Scully, who was named “Irish Person of the Year” at this year’s Emerald Ball in Honolulu, invited the Whiskeydicks to play a show at Scully’s Pub last Saturday night. The well-stocked pub is in a private home on Waiki’i Ranch, nestled on the western slopes of Mauna Kea. There’s gentle pastures and groves of eucalyptus and Monterey Cypress trees surrounding the area. Some say it reminds them of Ireland. Every Thursday night Scully’s hosts a music session for those who feel connected to the Celtic culture.
For a donation to cover the band’s inter-island airfare and expenses, about 50 Irish music fans were treated to a multi-course dinner, and an evening of great music and dance. The Whiskeydicks call themselves “Celtic Gypsy party rockers who have spent the better part of a decade carving a reputation for themselves as ‘One Hell of a Good Time.’” Curtis Ernst, who plays the cello like a hair-flipping madman, told me before their show that the band has been together since 2004, and have played Australia, Alaska, and numerous clubs in British Columbia. This was the second time they’ve played Scully’s on the Big Island.
The evening began with piper Mark Knox who got the crowd on their feet and clapping along. As the last notes of Knox’s bagpipes faded, fiddle player Pat Ernst started an infectious instrumental which was augmented by Sam Cartwright’s pounding bass drum. Ernst (cello) and Mike Bell (guitar) joined in, and the make shift dance floor quickly filled with both children and adults doing various forms of Irish dance.
After their first song ended, guitarist Mike Bell called out for the first toast of the evening. “Sláinte!,” (“good health”) shouted Bell, and the crowd raised their glasses and repeated the toast, “Sláinte!”
A real crowd-pleaser was a cover of The Proclaimers big 1988 hit, “”I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” About halfway through the tune, the band broke off into “My Favorite Things,” and “Do Re Mi” from the Sound of Music, which led to TV theme songs from “Bonanza” “The Jetsons,” and “Green Acres.” The Whiskeydicks played a total of three 45-minute sets before the night was over.
On Sunday, the band bounced over to Maui for a show at Mulligan’s, followed by a Monday gig at Diamonds. The group heads back to BC for a series of dates that has them booked through the end of July.
The Whiskeydicks have a self-titled CD that was released in 2015, and you can pick it up on iTunes. On their website (http://www.thewhiskeydicks.ca/store/) they offer typical t-shirt/hat merch with the band’s logo and black and pink thong women’s underwear. One features a drawing of an unlocked chastity belt.
For more info on The Whiskeydicks, please visit their official site: http://www.thewhiskeydicks.ca