Written by Jeremy Copp
When one thinks of the Los Angeles music scene, Irish punk is most likely not the first genre that comes to mind. Or the second, third or fourth, for that matter. A quick Google search of “Los Angeles Irish punk” returns Flogging Molly in the first couple of hits, and that’s it. Enter The McNaughstys, a band that is poised to change all of that.
The McNaughstys originated in Baltimore. When founding member and vocalist/guitarist Shawn Callender left the East Coast for Los Angeles in 2013 for a job in music production, he thought he had left their music behind. However, as he played the tracks from The McNausghtys 2012 EP “Scraped Knuckles and Natty Boh’s” for friends and acquaintances, he became convinced that there was a place for his brand of Celtic rock in the LA scene. Finding musicians to continue what he had started in Baltimore involved a fair bit of luck. As Shawn tells it, “We saw Troy (drummer Troy Tucker) at Taco Bell with a Celtics jersey on and drumsticks in his back pocket.” Of course, Troy was a perfect fit.
Named for Shawn’s alter ego that rears it’s inebriated head after he’s indulged in a pint or three, The McNaughstys bring a super-charged energy to their live shows that is fueled by whiskey and a punk-rock ethos. Rounded out by Alexei Acosta on bass, Seth Hansen on violin and Max Gillespie on bagpipes, the band melds folk and medieval sounds with rock into a high-octane blend that connects extremely well with the audience. Max explains that the band “is unique, but not so exotic that people won’t get it.” And he appears to be right, as they are gaining followers with every show they play.
Given the opportunity, they’ll convert you, too. In fact, they’ve energized the most unlikely of crowds. Once, at a traditional jazz club, they had audience members with their fists in the air chanting “Hey!” and “Ho!” at the tops of their lungs. As Seth recalls, “we won that crowd over.” Groove International’s talent buyer Jon Avila was so impressed with a recent performance that he offered them the opportunity to play the main stage at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip later this month.
For the time being, the McNaughstys have no plans to enter the studio. They are content to ride out their EP for as long as possible and to expand their audience by playing live as much as they can. As Shawn states matter-of-factly, “Come see us live. If you want to get your head blown to the back of the auditorium, we’ll definitely oblige.”
It might seem cocky, but they have the live chops to back it up. Give them a chance. Go see the McNaughstys, and there’s a high likelihood that you’ll be collecting your head at the back of the auditorium by the time the night is through.
For more information on the McNaughstys, visit:
The McNaughsty’s will be playing Groove International’s “Sunday Funday Bash” on the Main Stage of House of Blues Sunset Strip on Sunday, July 13th, 2014. Be sure to RSVP on Facebook!