The SC Historical Irish Society recently graced our venue with the ever-talented Irish-Folk outfit Derek Warfield and the Wolfe Tones. One of the jolliest Irishmen you’ll ever meet, Derek has spent just over 50 years on the road, bringing his gift of song to thousands of audiences worldwide. Derek made his first appearance on-stage at the age of six, and since then has performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall in New York City to Royal Albert Hall in London, as well as numerous radio and television appearances along the way. The evening began with a brief introduction by Gary Allan, President of the SC Irish Historical Society, before welcoming Derek and his four-piece band to the stage. Derek jokingly suggested that the audience make themselves comfortable, as it was likely they would be there until around five in the morning. The band consisted of acoustic guitar, electric bass, Irish flute, Irish banjo, and all five members on vocals. The multi-talented Derek brought out his Irish bodhran drum for several of the songs, rousing a cheer from the audience of about 500 people. Throughout the evening, the music was lively and conjured images of old Irish pubs and dancehalls. The band’s songs are steeped in story, and Derek provided the audience with a back-story to each song. The content of the songs ranged from tales of young love to the sinking of the Hunley submarine, and none failed to move people’s hearts and feet. During intermission, Derek and the band could be seen mingling among the crowds in the lobby, shaking hands, taking photos and laughing with their audience members. The night had a true feeling of community, and there seemed to be no separation between those on stage and those in the audience. The second set opened with a lively jig, and it seemed as though the night was only just beginning. The show only got better as the night went on, and after a near 3-hour long set, the band regrettably had to wind down the show, and closed out the night with a rowdy rendition of the national anthem (of America, that is). The crowd gave a standing ovation, Derek proclaimed “God bless America, and God save Ireland!”, and the crowds left while still singing and humming the songs of the evening. The night was a coming together of cultures, hearts and minds, and this is exactly what the Charleston Music Hall is all about.
– Michael McCrea, CMH Intern