A challenge of being a Celtic band from California? Credibility. Living far from the Green Isle, the Santa Cruz-based players in Molly’s Revenge have had to work that much harder to get respect for playing traditional music native to a foreign region. Still, the members have mastered a rare style despite their stateside home, and it’s gained them plenty of nods from notable players. “We may not talk with the accents, but the music speaks with the accent for us,” says founder David Brewer, the man behind the Highland bagpipes. With John Weed on fiddle, Stuart Mason on guitar/mandola, and Peter Haworth on bouzouki, Molly’s Revenge catapults audiences (in both elite venues and casual pubs) into a wicked seizure fueled by strident Celtic covers and originals. It seems that emerging as outsiders to the scene has given the band the freedom to, shall we say, experiment. Don’t expect kilts, expect kick-ass takes on Celtic classics. While in Scotland and Ireland bands traditionally play sitting down, Molly’s Revenge treats its stage show with the dynamics and theatrics of a rock show; everyone performs standing, and flailing movements complement the stomping rhythms.
The band’s Americanized style made an impression abroad when it played in Glasgow. “The Scottish audience saw us rocking out in a pretty big way and kind of sat there in shock or awe and wasn’t sure how to react to our energy,” Brewer remembers. It wasn’t long before the crowd got into it. “Our approach surprised them but they seemed to recognize the attention to detail we put in. It was something old yet new.” He adds with a laugh, “We were like the bobsledding Jamaicans in the movie Cool Runnings!” Bringing a rocking Christmas show to Don Quixote’s on Friday, Dec. 10, Molly’s Revenge will be accompanied by singer Moira Smiley and the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers. Having just finished up recording their 10th studio album in 10 years at Gadgetbox Studios in Santa Cruz, with Old Blind Dogs’ Aaron Jones producing, expect more unrelenting revelry to come.
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $15. 603-2294. mollysrevenge.com.
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