Whiskey Mick's seisiún/session, at The Old Eagle

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Whiskey Mick's seisiún/session, at The Old Eagle


Tue, 16/07/2013 - 11:29


Whiskey Mick's seisiún/session, at The Old Eagle
16 July, 2013

“WHISKEY” Mick Rowan and a merry makeshift Irish-folk band are keeping alive “the songs that shouldn't be forgotten” at The Old Eagle, on Royal College Street, Camden Town.


What started off as a regular jam with a couple of mates has grown into about a dozen of the finest purveyors of Irish-folk in north London gathering around a table every Wednesday for a traditional “seisiún” (or session if your Gaelic's a bit rusty).


Mick – whose missus describes him as “looking like something out of the Great Depression” but personally thinks he looks “posh” – has recently been performing with The Popes, an Irish-folk outfit formed by The Pogues' Shane MacGowan in 1995. The Old Eagle sessions are another opportunity to check out his mandolin mastery.


“Wednesday nights are the new weekend!” he says. “It's the best session in Camden and Kentish Town, bar none. We just make it up as we go along and by keeping the tunes fairly simple – there are thousands of fairly simple country and blues songs – it gives us the chance to be adventurous.”


And they certainly are adventurous, rollicking through a centuries-old back catalogue with their slide guitars, washboards, and “banjolins” whilst a certain black stout flows freely at the bar and a swelling crowd of clamorous punters claps louder and stamps harder with every whack of the bodhrán.


Everyone loves the Irish, but Mick reckons the capital's musicians can even give them a run for their money.


“A lot of London's Irish music scene is as good as it is in Ireland.” he says. “But you've got to go and hunt it down, it's not splattered all over billboards everywhere – there's a lot of secrets to be discovered.”


Undoubtedly one of these secrets is Mick's session in The Old Eagle, a pub which has a madcap character of its own with rickety old instruments, military watercolours and a (slightly creepy) collection of shoe lasts hanging from the ceiling and adorning the walls. There's legendary Bloody Marys, a couple of craft beers and some left-field Thai cuisine on offer, with a secluded beer garden out the back if you want to soak up the sun.


It's a good fit for Mick. “The Old Eagle's a fantastic pub, I love the atmosphere, it's really friendly and the crowd love it,” he says. “There's an eclectic mix in here, there's old boys on the end of the bar and young girls everywhere. The landlord, Jonah, is a great guy – he had faith in this session, even though it took a few months to get going.”


It's the casual quality of the whole thing that makes it an unmissable midweek treat – even Mick himself admits that he sometimes feels a little shown up: “You can be very depressed by this, or very inspired and I choose to be inspired!”


Whiskey Mick's seisiún/session is at The Old Eagle, Royal College Street, Camden Town, every Wednesday from 9pm.


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