Last week, The Fighting Jamesons opened for Lucero at Greenville’s Handlebar. I pulled frontman Michael Powers off to the side for a short 5 minute conversation on the band, opening for Lucero, and what it’s like being an ‘Irish Band’ post March 17.
“First and foremost, it’s an honor to open for Lucero. We flew home early just to do these shows,” starts Powers as we sit across from each other in the Pub/Dining area of the venue. Powers is notably shorter than I am, as are most humans, and he is a powerhouse of energy. And that’s what he says the group tries to bring to every show–energy. “I grew up in a time where musicians put everything they had out on the stage every night. Then more recently we’ve gone through a stage where people just stand there and play the songs. We feel that if you came to see a show, we’re going to give you a show.” Indeed they did give a show that night. Bands like Lucero usually bring a die hard crowd who couldn’t less about anything other than the main event. I’ve even seen show-goers have their backs to the stage engaged in conversations while the opener is on. This was not the case last Thursday. The crowd showed up in solid numbers early and were well engaged into the hard-rocking, folksy jams that The Fighting Jamesons were laying down.
I was curious what it was like playing Irish music post-St. Patrick’s day festivals and Powers had this to say, “Well you know there are Irish festivals, all year… But seriously, we consider ourselves more than just an Irish band. We definitely have that influence, but we moreso view ourselves as blending folk music with rock.” The band sites influences from metal to blue-grass and have showcased that on their new album, Every Day Above Ground.
“Sharing the crowd with Lucero has been a privilege,” says Powers, “They have been wonderful and really down to earth.” The night before the show at the Handlebar, the two bands spent some time together drinking and sharing stories. The next morning, Lucero sent the band a bottle of actual Jameson to prep those Fighting Jamesons for the crowd in Greenville. “They really didn’t have to do that, but we so appreciated the gesture.” A little hair of the dog goes a long way between new friends.
You can catch the Jamesons when they circle back through the South and hit Raleigh, NC on April 5.