St. Patrick’s Day Fun: ‘Riverdance’ at the Benedum, Bastard Bearded Irishmen Play Rex and More (Fri., 3/17/17)

1) The Irish step dancing and musical production famously know as Riverdance is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is now out on tour. The original Riverdance derivative piece, which lasted only seven minutes, was first performed during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. It received a sustained standing ovation and was later performed in London with Prince Charles in attendance. The performances featured American Irish dancing champions Jean Butler and Michael Flatley. A single from the show debuted at No. 1 on the Irish singles chart. With all this early success, husband and wife production team John McColgan and Moya Doherty decided to turn it into a stage show and asked Bill Whelan to write a score for the expanded production. Riverdance became a worldwide sensation. Flatley would leave a year later over royalty disputes on parts of the show he choreographed, but Irish dance champion Colin Dunne stepped in and Riverdance went on to sustained success. It is one of the most-seen theatrical productions in the world. 8 p.m. Performances through Sunday. You can see it at the Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (RH) 

Oh yeah: it's Riverdance.

Oh yeah: it’s Riverdance. photo: Jack Hartin.

2) Think traditional Celtic music but with some extra beats per minute—that’s Bastard Bearded Irishmen. The local group is helping Pittsburgh usher in St. Patrick’s Day with a party at the Rex Theater. Their latest album, 2014’s Rise of the Bastard, features 12 originals, like the throttling “Tomorrow,” as well as three traditionals, like “Three Drunken Maidens.” They performed at the Thrival Music Festival in 2016, and a remixed version of their debut, Rebastard, was released with two bonus tracks this year. In addition to a devoted, local following, the band is establishing a national presence. Rolling Stone mentioned them online as a “band to watch from Pittsburgh,” and they also have opened for heroes The Dropkick Murphys. Shelf Life String Band are North Side mainstays and have performed at The Park House and the Deutschtown Music Festival. They and Krank Daddies open. 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. (EC, CM)

3) One of the most happening spots to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle. With a tent connected to the Pub, the celebration space is doubled. Irish bands and performers hold court all day and night in both spaces beginning at noon and going until about midnight. Mullaney’s will be featuring the top bands on the Pittsburgh Irish music scene including: Donnie Irish Band (8:15 p.m., tent), Whiskey Limerick (4 p.m. inside), and Guaranteed Irish (8:15 p.m. inside). 2329 Penn Ave., Strip District.

4) St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to have a taste of Ireland’s native waters (Guinness, Harp, and Murphy’s brews are some good ones as are Tullamore Dew and Jameson Irish Whiskies). Have an old Irish toast, such as “May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you’re dead,” in any of several happenin’ Irish pubs including Mullaney’s Harp & FiddleMcArdle’sMurphy’s Tap Room, McFadden’s, Riley’s Pour House, or Claddagh.  For those who don’t imbibe or are designated drivers (thank you!), enjoy a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, a soft drink, or a cup o’ hot tea.

5) Hot off their live debut last month at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy, Garter Shake will perform at Howlers. The rock quartet is composed of veteran performers of the Pittsburgh scene. Also on the bill are Brazilian Wax. “Girls to the Front” goes the title to one of their songs, harking back to the rallying cry of Bikini Kill. Specifically, the cry called on men to step aside at punk shows and for women to mosh without fear of battery or sexual assault. Guitarist Jen Sabol co-organized last year’s Ladyfest, which features and empowers female musicians, along with Steph Wolf of The Lopez. Tonight, The Lopez will be behind the turntables for a DJ set and dance party after the concert. The evening is a fundraiser for Brookline-based Casa San Jose, advocates for local immigrants and immigrants’ rights. 8 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. (CM)