St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration; Winger, Joe Bonamassa, Creative Life Support and More (Sat., 3/16/19)

1) If your neighborhood seems a little quiet this morning, it may be because over 200,000 Pittsburghers and visitors are downtown for The St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Having begun as early as 1869 and billed as one of the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country, it includes bands, Irish organizations, Miss Smiling Irish Eyes, and just about every politician in Allegheny County.

Each year brings something slightly different, although who could forget the 1993 parade? It continued despite a blizzard, the worst that the city had seen in over 100 years. (Hopefully no snow this year.) 

Dennis Doyle playing the harp.

Dennis Doyle playing the harp at the Pittsburgh Irish festival in 2015. Photo: Rick Handler.

The parade begins at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 11th Street, proceeds to Grant Street, and turns right onto the Boulevard of the Allies. Then it marches down the Boulevard to the parade reviewing stand at Stanwix Street and ends at Commonwealth Place.

Remember, anyone who wants to be Irish—is Irish—on St. Paddy’s Day! Parade starts at 10 a.m. Downtown. (RH, CM)

St. Patrick’s Day Bar Happenings

2) St. Patrick’s Day is a good time to have a taste of Ireland’s native waters. (Guinness, Harp, and Murphy’s brews are some good ones as are Tullamore D.E.W. 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 & Fiddle, McArdle’s, Murphy’s Taproom, 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. (RH)

3) One of the most popular spots to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is Mullaney’s Harp & 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, Whiskey LimerickTullycavy, and Guaranteed Irish. 2329 Penn Ave., Strip District. (RH)

4) 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 is 2018’s Drinkin’ to the Dead. Brave the Sea and Latecomer open. 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. (EC, CM)

5) Winger, the New York City hard rock band known for hits likeSeventeen andHeaded for a Heartbreak plays Jergel’s this month. Right at home with their glam metal peers—Bon Jovi, Tesla, and Van Halen— these guys shred, screech, and combine to form a sound worthy of an arena. Presumably, not unlike the aforementioned Van Halen, Winger derives their name from the surname of the band’s founder, Kip Winger, who played with Alice Cooper before striking out on his own. Today Winger is composed of Winger, Reb Beach (also of Whitesnake and from Pittsburgh), Rod Morgenstein, Paul Taylor, John Roth, and Donnie Wayne Smith. As is common for bands like Winger, their histories aren’t free of tumult—in 1994, as glam metal diminished in popularity and other musical forms took its place, Winger disbanded for about seven years. In 2001, however, the band reformed and has continued to rock on. Their latest release is 2014’s Better Days Comin’. 8 p.m. Sold out. Jergel’s Rhythm Grille, 285 Northgate Dr., Warrendale. (EC, RH)

Winger jamming in a 2007 photo (l. to r.) John Roth, Kip Winger, and Reb Beach. photo: Rick Audet and Exxolon.

Winger jamming in a 2007 photo (l. to r.) John Roth, Kip Winger, and Reb Beach. (photo: Rick Audet and Exxolon.)

6) Joe Bonamassa is a blues rock guitar virtuoso, whose soaring lead guitar riffs are heavily influenced by British players, including Eric Clapton, John Mayall, and Jeff Beck. He opened for B.B. King when he was all of 12 years old.  Bonamassa’s albums have occupied the number one spot on the Billboard Blues Chart 11 times. Many people will remember Bonamassa from his PBS concert specials. 2018’s Redemption is his latest studio release. Pittsburgh has many great guitarists who enjoy seeing other talented players, which is evidenced by the brisk ticket sales for this show. 8 p.m. Sold out.  Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (RH)

7) Non-profit Creative.Life.Support Records is having a launch party at Mr. Smalls Theatre. The new label includes Social Justice Disco, a collaboration between area musicians Phat Man Dee and Liz Berlin. The former is a jazz singer; the latter is a founding member of Rusted Root and co-owner of Smalls. The launch party also celebrates the worldwide digital release of Social Justice Disco’s album, Songs to Fight Fascists By. These songs include originals and covers, such as “Have You Been To Jail for Justice?” (Local musician and activist Anne Feeney wrote that tune, and Peter, Paul and Mary popularized it.) Phat Man Dee & The Cultural District, the Liz Berlin Band, Drowning Clowns, and MCs Big Jus and Streetwalker will perform. Geña, Steel Town Horns, Lita D’Vargas, Johnny Creed Coe & Family, and Pastor Deryck Tines and members of the Lemington Gospel Chorale, will play too. Additionally, local poets Christina Springer and Leslie Ezra Smith will perform their work. 6 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

8) Two talented flamenco/classical/pop guitarists, Jon Banuelos and Daryl Shawn, will be co hosting a CD/EP release party this evening at James Simon’s sculpture studio. Banuelos’ EP is Creosote and Beer and Shawn’s Album is Safe in Sound.  Banuelos is the principal guitarist for the group Alba Flamenca. This should be an amazing night of music. BYOB. 8 p.m. 305 Gist St., Uptown.