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Blackeyed Dempseys infuse rock, Irish music on local stage

By: Eileen Wilson Telegraph Correspondent
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When feet are stomping, hands are clapping, and everyone is sporting a grin, you know a great band is on the stage. And that’s exactly the response that the Blackeyed Dempseys are shooting for when they take the stage. It’s no wonder audiences love the roaring yet rhythmic sounds that emanate from the six-member group. Comprising professionals – engineers, geologists and office workers by day - the band knows how to get a crowd going when night falls. “We try to embrace the traditional Irish tunes and we ratchet it up a bit,” said founding band member Jim Hill. Those who are familiar with bands like the BlackEyed Dempseys or Flogging Molly will know that traditional Irish music, with punk and rock vibes, can get an audience out of their seat and ready to rock. This isn’t a band that is meant to be watched, while quietly sipping a cocktail. This is a band that makes fans want to participate; to have a connection with the music; an exchange between audience and band members that will leave fans with an experience rather than a mere performance. The band considers itself an Irish rebel rock band, and prides themselves on Celtic traditions, using instruments like banjo, accordion and mandolin, as well as typical rock-and-roll instruments to create a unique sound. Hill explained the BlackEyed Dempseys is a somewhat political band. “Our songs are about a united Ireland, once and for all,” he said. “We believe in freedom for all, or freedom for none.” Band members are proud of their Irish heritage. “We want to convey the idea to people through melody and through spirit,” Hill said. “The Irish people are very literary. They’re amazing, and the Irish culture was a very advanced culture. We stand on the shoulders of great people.” Hill and the group, as part of Andy Hawk’s KWOD 106.5 event, will perform original tunes, as well as traditional and covers, and is excited to perform in the Folsom Historic District. “The thing I like about our music – it’s a little bit fresher than most music you hear,” said accordionist and mandolin player Keith Jukes. “It’s hard to put a label on it. It’s just incredibly energetic music.” And the energy level will be high on Saturday, January 8 when the Dempseys take the stage along with two additional bands. Hill has some advice for audience members. “First, get a beer, preferably Guinness. Then hold on tight,” Hill said. “We come out from the gate like a racehorse.” Hill said audiences can expect a lot of fun. “The music is filled with messages on a secondary and tertiary level as well, for those who are interested. We have our own bar anthem. We’ll definitely be playing that,” Hill said. KNOW AND GO The BlackEyed Dempseys When: 10 p.m., Saturday Where: Powerhouse Pub, 614 Sutter St., Historic Folsom Cost: $10 Info: Powerhousepub.com