24 Hours in Vegas with the Pogues

Sometimes a band is good enough to jump on a plane and fly somewhere to see them. When that somewhere is Vegas and the band is the Pogues then fun is guaranteed for all.

Although I had tickets to see them in Los Angeles, a friend who really wanted to see the band couldn’t make the show. Plan B, concocted two days before they were to play in Vegas last weekend, was to catch them live in the City of Sin.

We bought tickets online Thursday, booked a flight and Saturday morning we were on the way.

Vegas is the perfect 24-hour city for me. Any longer and I begin to hate it. So we booked our return ticket for Sunday and crammed in the perfect Vegas weekend.

I won’t bore you with the details, but it was the ideal balance. We flew in, checked into our hotel, grabbed lunch at the ESPN Zone and watched the UCLA game, headed off to gamble, quit while we were ahead, wandered to the House of Blues for the concert, ate some bad pizza afterwards, gambled some more, crashed for the night, then flew out the next morning. Perfect!

Now the question most of you might be asking here, is who the Hell are the Pogues and why are they worth flying all the way to Vegas to see?

Well, I ordinarily wouldn’t spend any time writing about a band on a travel site, but this isn’t just any band. The Pogues are an Irish band who take the quintessential elements of traditional Irish music and punk it up. It’s not every day that you see a slam-dancing mosh pit grinding away for a band that incorporates the accordion, tin flute, banjo, mandolin, saxophone, and harmonica–along with the more contemporary guitar, bass and drums. The result is a cultural explosion unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

Lead singer Shane MacGowan, is reason enough to see the band. He is perhaps the ugliest musician in rock and roll and the drunkest – two rather extraordinary accomplishments considering the rock and roll world. He is, however, brilliant. His boozy, sped-up renditions of Irish ballads and scrappy original compositions are utterly unique. And, his alcohol-infused performances are a controlled train wreck that you just can’t look away from. Spend a few minutes surfing YouTube.com for Pogues videos to get a feeling for the music.

And if you find that they are worth flying across the globe to catch their next show–and they are–then book a ticket to Glasgow and catch them in Scotland on December 12.