Chicago’s Flatfoot 56 Brings Their Celtic Punk to Seattle’s Funhouse, by Holly Homan

On April 4 I finally got to see Chicago’s Celtic punk rockers Flatfoot 56. I think it was 2009 when I saw them last opening for Street Dogs. That was the last time they played Seattle. I would have missed this show entirely if it weren’t for a bit of serendipity. I was sharing some Celtic punk songs on FB in honor of St. Pat’s Day and began wondering what ever happened to Flatfoot 56. So I looked them up and low and behold they had a concert at Seattle’s Funhouse on April 4th.

They hit the stage full of charisma and full of energy. Bag pipe/guitar player Eric McMahon was one I found difficult to take my eyes off of. Dressed in a kilt and Doc Martens, he oozed charisma and had to be the most energetic bagpipe player I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Brandon Good, who switched off between mandolin and guitar managed to ooze enough combined charisma to make me feel like I needed an insulin shot. He bounced about the stage like a rubber ball and even did a few leaps.

One of the show’s highlights had to be their melding of You Are My Sunshine, This Land Is Your Land, Dirty Old Town, then melding back into You Are My Sunshine. They also did a cover of I’ll Fly Away, made famous in the movie Oh, Brother where Art Thou. I often had to seek shelter to keep from getting knocked over by the moshers and circle pit runners. There was barely a still body on that floor for the entire show.

Said entire show was far too short. They couldn’t play an encore (time constraints) despite several audience attempts to get them to do so.

I love this club. The Funhouse isn’t much bigger than your average living room and this intimacy means the audience and band are like one big happy family.

Besides the aforementioned, Flatfoot 56 is comprised of the three brothers, Tobin Bawinkel (vocals, guitar), Kyle Bawinkel (bass, vocals), Justin Bawinkel (drums, vocals). This was a fun show and I’m glad I had that bit of serendipity. To think I may have missed out entirely.

Preceding Flatfoot 56 was Seattle’s Coyote Bred. I’d seen them last November opening for D.O.A and remembered liking them. My opinion didn’t change this time either. This three-piece plays a good selection of poppy/punk tunes. I heard elements of Rancid and the Clash. There’s a lot of passion in this band. Coyote Bred is, Jeff Sifferman –vocals/guitar, Andy Wylie – bass/vocals & Kevin Martinez on drums.

Opening the night was another Seattle outfit called Reinstated. This four-piece produced a solid, hard energy of mostly hard rock with some punk elements. Their drummer played in his stocking feet and slammed like a maniac. There wasn’t much audience interaction from this band and mostly their songs seemed a bit cookie cutter to me. But they did get many up and dancing. They’re a tight unit with fine musicianship and tight harmonies. Reinstated are, Mike – Bass/Vocals; Mike – Guitar/Vocals; Scott – Guitar/Vocals and James – Drums/Vocals.

Holly Homan

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