Friday August 24th, two local Irish rock bands set sail down the Hudson River on The Captain J.P. Cruise Line. It was an ideal summer evening, with soft breezes as passengers floated by layers of landscape, adrift on the water. The Captain J.P. is one of the largest cruise ships in the capital area, with the space to accommodate 600 passengers and can make for one heck of a party. Black Abbey occupied the 2nd floor outdoor patio underneath the stars, while Hair of the Dog had the indoor, air conditioned 3rd floor.
This was Black Abbey’s 3rd year playing aboard The Captain J.P. and said it was the events biggest crowd yet. This Celtic and Contemporary Rock group from Saratoga Springs, NY is made up of Rick Russo on guitar, Mark Lewis playing fiddle, Les Swinton on bass and Robert Daly on drums. They have a desire to bring classic Irish tunes as well as fresh hits to their audience. Black Abbey got the night rolling with “Whiskey in the Jar” and “Shippin’ off to Boston.” The band took advantage in between songs to crack jokes with each other as well as the audience, encouraging laughter and more dancing. Mark Lewis took a break from fiddle playing to sing “Run Around” by Blues Traveler. A pleasant surprise was hearing “Bones of Lazarus” by moe, the harmonization of which would have made moe. proud.
Hair of the Dog has been playing together for almost 20 years and they show no sign of slowing down. Heavy on the bass, was Rick Bedrosian, Mike DeAngelis playing acoustic guitar, John Haggerty strumming the banjo, Larry Packer blasting the fiddle, Eric Finn rocking the electric guitar and Scott Apicelli playing drums, makes up the Irish harmonizing storm that gets everyone on the dance floor. After a few drinks and songs, everyone is an Irish step dancer. One of the highlights was Eric Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally” which was jammed outside of the box. It wasn’t just strictly textbook Eric Clapton with an Irish twist, the band had made the song their own, not accomplished with every band who covers classic rock. Each band member has their own individual talent that comes shining thru and blends beautifully with the rest of the group. One of the songs that ended the night was the classic Irish tune, “Drunken Sailor” which played into the lyric, “Give ’em a hair of the dog that bit him!” Whether it’s a night full of music or enjoying a drink or two, maybe even both, everyone needs a bit of the Hair of the Dog.
For details about The Captain J.P. Cruise line, go to their website, captainjp.com. Like Black Abbey on Facebook for more show dates. For more information on Hair of the Dog, visit their website