Why did it take people so long to figure out you could slam-dance to Irish jigs? Maybe they were just sitting around waiting for the cultural go-ahead that's now been provided by the Pogues, the Irish/English octet that set the crowd on the Palace dance-floor into frenzied motion Monday with the unlikely weaponry of banjo, tin whistle, accordion and the like.
The show concluded the Pogues' first U.S. tour, and the band came into town with a reputation as an anything-goes, hell-raising unit. On top of that, its first American album, "Rum, Sodomy & the Lash," introduces a charismatic singer and terrific songwriter in Shane MacGowan
That sounds like an unbeatable combination, but the Pogues' Palace show didn't live up to it. A punk Clancy Brothers isn't a bad idea really--a combination of the folk-era group's lusty spirit, political content and Irish sentimentality with angry-young-rock iconoclasm and intensity. But the Pogues turned out to be more like a cranked-up Fairport Convention that wasn't cranked up enough.
On the instrumental dance tunes, the band wasn't especially loud, and it was obvious that the Pogues aren't reel rebels. They respect and enjoy the traditional music, play it with amiable spirit, and aren't much interested in redefining it and turning it inside out.