The Pogues

Their name comes from the Gaelic pog mó thóin, or "kiss my ass," which was Anglicized to Pogue Mahone, then shortened to the Pogues to satisfy BBC censors. Their sound was revelatory when they broke out of North London in the mid-'80s: an unholy fusion of punk and traditional Irish folk music, often chaotic and always electrifying. Frontman Shane MacGowan reached new highs (and lows) nightly, snarling and spitting venomous lyrics while fighting a losing battle with the bottle. Their legion of fans included Elvis Costello, who married original bassist Cait O'Riordan, and the Clash's Joe Strummer, who subbed for guitarist Philip Chevron, produced their fifth album, Hell's Ditch, then took over MacGowan's vocalist duties for a spell. They're kicking off a short U.S. tour here with their ideal eight-man lineup -- MacGowan and Chevron, plus Spider Stacy (vocals/tin whistle), Jem Finer (banjo), Andrew Ranken (drums), Darryl Hunt (bass), Terry Woods (mandolin) and James Fearnley (accordion). At their best, they hit you like a pint of Guinness with a shot of Jameson back, followed by a punch in the nose. Even given these prices (and this venue), you'll kick yourself if you miss them. With Swingin' Utters. MICHAEL MAHONEY

Sat., Oct. 10, 7 p.m., 2009

 
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