St. Patrick’s Day comes early with Gaelic Storm’s performance at Englert Theatre

Gaelic Storm returned to the Englert Theatre, ready to get the audience ready for St. Patrick’s Day — the Celtic-rock band had the theater on their feet.


Sydney Hurley

Gaelic Storm gets the Englert riled up for Saint Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, March 8.

Sydney Hurley, Arts Reporter

On Tuesday night, a crowd rolled into The Englert Theater wearing the appropriate colors of green and orange, and unleashing a faint scent of beer. The theater hosted Gaelic Storm, a celtic rock band, who brought Ireland to Iowa City for the night of March 8. 

The performance started off by thanking the sponsor of the event, Micky’s Irish Pub.

“We’ve always sponsored this band at Englert because they rock, it’s always right around St. Paddy’s Day, and we’re an Irish bar so it just makes sense,” wrote Aaron Jennings, an owner of Micky’s, in an email to The Daily Iowan.

The lead singer, Patrick Murphy, plays the harmonica and accordion, and was very interactive with the crowd. Murphy brought up a participant to dance on stage, gifted a 10-year-old boy a poster, and motivated the crowd to stand up and dance, or to go get another drink. 

Murphy was quick to make the audience roar with laughter between songs. Additionally, Katie Grennan on the fiddle brought classic songs to life, and Peter Purvis made it really feel like St.  Patrick’s Day when he excelled on the bagpipes. 

Gaelic Storm sang Irish classics as well as original songs to rile up the Englert for St. Patrick’s Day. With Patrick Murphy’s Irish brogue, special guest Irish dancers, and traditional Celtic instruments, it is safe to say the attendees were feeling festive. 

Iowa City resident Mark Westerhoff, who has previously attended a Gaelic Storm performance, appreciated how Patrick Murphy was able to get the crowd to participate.

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“It’s so danceable. It’s so much fun, and it’s been a few years since I’ve seen them and I’d forgotten how like funky they were and their baselines and their beats,” Westerhoff said. “Like I just want to move the whole time.”

Emily Phelan of Waukesha, Wisconsin was in attendance to watch her sister Irish dance during the performance, but has seen Gaelic Storm at least once every year of her life. Emily appreciates the classic Gaelic songs that the band performed, because she has been listening to them her entire life. 

“I always enjoyed their performances. They’re such an electric and lively band, and it’s always a good comedy act too,” Phelan. “Patricks really funny as a frontman. It’s such an entertaining performance.” 

The Irish dancers in Gaelic Storm’s performances added to the traditional Irish culture. Three young girls in purple sequin skirts danced to the songs “Tell Me Ma” and “Scallywag.” The crowd immediately stood up and poured into the aisles as they began, clapping on beat for the dancers. 

Attendee Christina Hayes, a resident of Iowa City, also had nothing negative to say about Gaelic Storm’s performance. Hayes has attended at least four Gaelic Storm performances. 

“The ‘Beer Song’ I like, and ‘Johnny Tarr’ of course,” Hayes said.

The crowd shouted at Murphy to play these two classics the entire show. When the band played them, Murphy made the audience chant phrases to go along with the song. 

Gaelic Storm announced at the end of the performance that they will also be performing at this year’s Iowa Irish Fest.