Material: Whiskey Sunday performed three sets in a row for a full night of music, drawing from an extensive repertoire that is, amazingly, almost entirely up-tempo. Choices within these sets include everything expected to be performed at the Scottish themed restaurant Tam O’Shanter with a few surprises including plenty of originals based upon frontman Patrick Joseph Rieger’s family in Minnesota. The ability of the band to make cover songs their own––with very inventive rhythmic compositions––is a real treat to the listener; everything from The Rolling Stones to Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Musicianship: Each musician is given adequate space to perform solos. Dialing down on supporting instrument volume levels would further accentuate these solos. Overall the group has tight breaks and turnarounds. Whiskey Sunday is also great at building up the sounds, keeping things stark on verses with just one or two instruments at a time before building up to a full band on the choruses or finales. Rieger is an impressive percussionist, playing the bodhran while simultaneously stomping on a bass drum without skipping a beat.
Performance: The only thing that slowed the pacing of the performance was the banter, which was best left to introducing the band, plugging the merch, and introducing songs. Each member of the band had their chance to sing a lead vocal, which says a lot about the level of talent here. The only critique is that Sandoval could stand to back off from the microphone, as her already big voice doesn’t need a lot of amplification. Rieger did do a decent job of getting the audience to clap hands, and they did so on several occasions, though primarily toward the end of the set. This is when a few girls decided to dance in pace with the group, stopping abruptly and then going into slow motion and then triple time, which led the entire room to both laugh and demand an encore.
Summary: It is clear that Whiskey Sunday knows how to put on a fun show that can get the crowd dancing. While the song “Cancion Mixteca” is an interesting choice, it doesn’t seem to fit with their overall material, but does illustrate the band’s overall flexibility. The only thing that could make their show better would be to set a goal on how much time should be spent on transitioning between songs.
The Players: Patrick Joseph Rieger, guitar, bodhran, vocalist; Olivia Sandoval, bass, vocalist; Liam Lewis, mandolin, vocalist; Vito Gutilla, fiddle, vocalist.