Irish rocker Larry Kirwan brings dark wit to WTA’s Gateway
“I’ve been in bands that follow a set list every night. I literally start to shake at the thought of doing the same show twice in a row, let alone go out on tour and do the same show every night. I’d rather go to Wall Street. At least I’d be better off,” joked Kirwan, who will be performing his rock-n-read show at the WTA’s Gateway Theatre on Friday night.
The co-founder and lead singer of the legendary New York City-based Irish rock Black 47, Kirwan is also a playwright and novelist and the host of “Celtic Crush,” a popular satellite-radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio that features artists from the eight Celtic nations.
It’s safe to say with all that Kirwan has going on that no two days are alike.
“That’s what keeps things fresh for me,” said Kirwan, whose show at the Gateway will have him performing Black 47 favorites interspersed with live reads from his 2005 memoir, Green Suede Shoes, perhaps with selections from his novels, Liverpool Fantasy, an alternative-history novel that looks at what would have happened after an early-career breakup of The Beatles, and Rockin’ The Bronx, which is set in early 1980s New York at the time of the passing of music legend John Lennon.
“I find that being on stage opens things up a lot,” Kirwan said. “You get a lot of ideas for your writing just being out there doing them. I do the rock-and-read shows just to do something different from a different point of view. You adapt to the situation.”
Adaptation is in the bloodline of any Irish. His shows feature a healthy amount of Irish wit, which as Kirwan explains was what helped the Irish endure the “black years” of dominance under British rule.
“We learned how to survive by having a certain sense of black humor that you can turn things around to your advantage by the humor. Self-deprecating, usually. I think it’s more a looseness and being willing to adapt to whatever situation comes up. And some of it will be intense. It’s not just wit. It’s intensity, too. Some of it will be tragic, some of it will be funny. That’s the Irish nature,” Kirwan said.
Doors open at the Gateway for the Kirwan performance at 8 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are
available for a donation of $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
For more information, go to www.WTAGateway.com or call 540.943.9999.