Recently, I attended a wonderful concert by the Brock McGuire Band. One of the members, Manus McGuire, I met at the Swannanoa Gathering camp about four years ago. I contacted Manus telling him we were coming to his concert, and he was so excited because it had been so long since we last saw him.
When we arrived in the city, we ate in a retro 80s diner, that wasn't very crowded, before going to the venue. Prior to the show, I met up with Manus, who asked me to play a few tunes with him during one of the sets. We decided on a set of reels towards the end of the show.
The opening act played a bluegrass sort of style--all their numbers were old-time folk songs. I thought it was interesting to hear different song styles. They sounded awesome, too!
There was a slight intermission and then the Brock McGuire Band went on. I had never heard the whole group before, only Manus playing solo. They sounded fantastic! I love the whole dynamic of the band and the way they did things differently, like playing a set of a reel, a jig, then another reel. This was unusual because usually Irish musicians play a set of reels or a set of jigs. Typically, the jigs and reels are not combined. Even when they are, musicians play the jig first because of its slower tempo. They were able to make it work because of the clever way the transitions were arranged.
Towards the end, when they called me up onto the stage, I was very excited. I played a solo reel, then, Manus joined me in a reel. I thought I would only play one set, however, he asked me if I'd like to play another couple of tunes with him and of course I said, "Yes." So, we played a duet set of reels together. I had so much fun!
After the show I was greeted by some of the audience who enjoyed my playing. The band sent me home with three CD's to listen to on our long drive home. The pianist, Denis Carey, gave me a tune book with all of his compositions, all of which I was very eager to learn.
It was great fun to see and play with Manus, and I hope to have the pleasure again sometime in the near future!