Catch This Flu!


 Mike Farragher (check out my new book , which was also reviewed on New York Irish Arts here) revies Icewagon Flu

Fields of Athenry sounds like something REM might chance—should we re-christen it ‘Fields of Athens, GA?’

How It’s New York:  The band spends a lot of time in Hoboken, New Jersey– home to many New Yorkers!
How It’s Irish:  It’s Irish-American rock!

Another Irish festival, another tired version of those moldy oldies in our culture. Just when you think the world didn’t need another version of the songs we know so well, along comes Icewagon Flu, the Irish American jam band that divides time between Hoboken and Virginia. They have amassed a following with their jam-band, jazzy melange of melodies and on Off the Wagon 2, the band plays fast and loose with the traditional songs of our culture with marvelous results. 

“Nancy Whiskey” goes under the sonic knife as a boozy bar maid and emerges as a Riot Grrrl, thanks to crunchy alt-rock guitars and slurred vocal. Fields of Athenry sounds like something REM might chance—should we re-christen it ‘Fields of Athens, GA?’ Waxie’s Dargle has a funky jam-band beat interspersed with pipes and flutes! Imagine that! 

“The reaction to our take on these traditional songs is very interesting,” says singer and guitarist Kevin Adkins. “People are like, ‘wait a minute. That song isn’t supposed to sound like that!’ But that’s the point: we wanted to honor our heritage while mixing it up at the same time. The reaction is mostly positive but definitely mixed, which I think is good because it challenges the audience.”

Off the Wagon 2 takes these beloved tunes into a back alley, roughs them up, and makes them into modern rock gems. In a 4 star rating system, I give them a 5!

Playing fast and loose with song structure is what fans of the band come to expect; they take you on a whiplash ride through rock, funk, and jazz, often in the same song, on their 6 albums and live sets. Take it from me, this is a “flu” worth catching! 

Icewagon Flu will be hitching their wagon to a number of Irish festivals up and down the East Coast this summer, to include the National Freedom Festival in Washington DC on July 4 and the Annapolis Irish Festival in Annapolis, MD on July 9. For more information on the band or to hear samples of Off the Wagon 2, go to their site