Sebastian Maynard – Van Morrison
While Bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly have helped create a distinctive sound that is associated with Ireland, the music that comes from the European country is a lot more diverse than just Irish punk or political folk songs. Ireland has been the birthplace of some the best (or most annoying) musical acts in a variety of genres, from U2 to The Cranberries to My Bloody Valentine. One of the most influential Irish musicians, though, is Van Morrison, who has won six Grammy Awards and been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Morrison’s second studio album, Astral Weeks, has been featured on a variety of “all-time” lists, and is your recommended listening for St. Patrick’s Day 2015.
Adam Travis – The Commitments
The story of the “world’s hardest working band,” The Commitments, is about the rise and fall of a soul band from Dublin. Although the genre may seem played out and riddled with cliché moments, The Commitments seems to overcome that. None of the drama seems forced or like a cheap plot device, and although the cast is made up of relatively unknown actors, the acting is still honest and believable. Perhaps the biggest draw of the film is the soundtrack though — covers of Motown soul performed by the cast members themselves. The Commitments is an honest, enjoyable film, and one you shouldn’t miss out on.
Devin Patterson – Harp Lager
Having already reviewed Guinness (see Issue #15), another Irish beer worth checking out is the Harp Lager. This one will hang out and fiddle around with your taste buds for a bit, and then smoothly shuffle itself down to your liver. Harp is a beauty of a lager: perfect gold color with a smooth grainy taste to it. If Guinness isn’t your style, grab a couple tall cans of Harp Lager at the liquor store and have yourselves a time on March 17.
Mathieu Wong – Corned Beef
Corned beef is a popular Irish dish that is made up from meat treated with large pieces of rock salt, also called “corns.” In Canada, we are used to it as “Montreal Smoked Meat,” which is a variation of the same dish. Probably the best way to have it is as a sandwich with mustard and a pickle, which is easy to make and is as delicious as any breakfast or lunch meal. Consider it for a hangover brunch after St Paddy’s.