Celtic Punk Takes Over Cowboy Monkey

The Pogues, Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys are some of the biggest names in the genre. The Tossers are Chicago’s own breed of Irish folk punk.

“In the world of popular music … it’s not often that you see six or seven people get up on stage with acoustic instruments [and play as fast as a punk band],” Mike Pawula, guitarist for The Tossers, said.

The Tossers will be pulling into Champaign for two shows on Saturday and Sunday at Cowboy Monkey. These shows are the last on their national headlining tour with The Siderunners.

The Tossers are a seven-piece unit consisting of bass, accordion, mandolin, guitar, tin whistle, banjo, fiddle and drums. The range of instruments gives the band their distinct style.

The tour is in support of The Tosser’s latest album, The Valley of the Shadow of Death, released in October 2005. The album is their fifthfull-release and their first with Victory Records, which they joined last St. Patrick’s Day.

“We’ve been on the road for almost 100 days since last September,” Pawula said. However, this is their first headlining tour in that stretch.

The Siderunners, also from Chicago, give off more of a straight-up folk-rock vibe, stretching over into country. Their latest release, a live acoustic album, dons a title that speaks to their influences (Sabbath. Country. Sabbath.). Basically, they’re playing country for rock fans.

Pawula said playing with them has been like going out to a show before playing their own set. The bands have been on the road together since the tour kicked off in Pittsburgh on September 20th.

Pawula said playing two consecutive nights at the same venue is a rarity. He said the band plans to mix up the set list for anyone coming out to both shows.

As intimate a venue as Cowboy Monkey is, these shows are sure to pack plenty of people in for two nights of singing, dancing and merriment.

After the tour, The Tossers have a couple more shows in November, as well as plans to get to work on their next album.

Pawula said the band will start recording in November. He said a lot of the songs are already put together, but the band needs to get together to practice and do more work on them.

Check out The Tossers and The Siderunners this weekend on Oct. 14 and 15. Both shows are at Cowboy Monkey. Saturday’s show begins at 10 p.m. and Sunday’s show begins at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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