Place, time, crowd and set.
The Aidan’s group meets every Sunday night, from about 6 to 9, all set up right as you walk in the door. Hughie Purcell is session leader, on tenor banjo, guitar, fiddle, and sometimes the string bass; other than him, there’s usually a bones/spoons/bodhran player, a tin whistler/flautist, two or three fiddles, and the occasional guitarist or bassist sitting down for a bit. All musicians are welcome, from all skill levels.
It’s a pretty loose session, not by any means strictly traditional; Hughie is fond of comedic ballads and modern tunes, and will usually throw in "Cat’s in the Ladle at the Peking Moon", "From Galway to Graceland", and "What a Wonderful World". Traditional tunes typically include the Lark in the Morning, St. Anne’s Reel, the Boys of Bluehill, King of the Fairies, and Soldier’s Joy. Due to the boisterous patrons, good sound system, and solid set of musicians, it’s easy for anyone to slide into the background and play and learn as they go - or jump to the fore with a tune of their own. Bring an instrument and a funny hat and you’re set!
Every other Sunday…
The Publicans (guitar, bodhran, uilleann pipes) come for the night. Somewhat more ballad-and-vocal based, as they’re venue players with a set of typical stuff. Not as much flexibility but still a good time.
Guess I picked the wrong Sunday …
… I walked in, hoping to sit in on my first session in quite a while, and was sorely disappointed to find the Publicans and no session. Not that the Publicans are bad - just that I wanted to play. So, for the record, if they’re every other Sunday, today - Sunday 10/15 is a "Publicans Sunday".
Note to self: Call first.
Err, nope, actually.
You picked the right Sunday, but Huey was at his brother’s wedding. The Publicans were covering his night this time around, and as far as I know, they’re on for this Sunday too, undeviated schedule.
Honestly…just sit down and play. Whoever’s there, hell with it. Just play.
—Dan the Man
Re: Aidan’s Pub
We went in. The guy was kind of rude and wouldn’t give us a straight answer as to whether it was a performance or session. He just said it was his and turned his back on us so we left.
We are really good musicians with a decent list of tunes. Won’t be back.