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Wednesday, January 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Young Dubliners play to their Irish side during March

The Young Dubliners always plan to have a blast when March rolls around. (David Safian)
The Young Dubliners always plan to have a blast when March rolls around. (David Safian)

Despite what you may think, the members of Irish rock band the Young Dubliners don’t party like rocks stars on St. Patrick’s Day.

The holiday is, in a way, just another day at the office for the quintet, part of a six-week run of shows they’ve dubbed “March Madness.”

“We’ve worked every year of our band’s existence,” frontman Keith Roberts said. “St. Paddy’s Day to us has always been very different.”

March Madness brings the band to the Knitting Factory on Saturday.

At these shows, the Young Dubliners, who consider themselves to be a rock band with Irish influences rather than a Celtic rock band, play more to that Irish side with set lists that favor “With All Due Respect – The Irish Sessions,” an album that features their take on traditional Irish folk songs and covers of songs by bands like the Pogues.

Though they don’t party hard, the band prepares for March Madness audiences to more than make up for it and be “messy,” rather than attentive.

Having played countless St. Patrick’s Day shows, Roberts has a couple tips for fans looking to beat the holiday-induced hangover.

“I am like an elder statesman in the art of recovery,” he said with a laugh.

Roberts suggests a friend’s technique of drinking a pint of water for every pint of beer.

“Granted he’d start to falter by the eighth or ninth pint of Guinness, but he’d be in way better condition the next day than we were,” he said.

There’s also a potent pill called Solpadeine – “Two of those and you’ll make it to work and you’ll fool some people that you’re not dying,” Roberts said – but the pain reliever’s strength, and dose of codeine, means it’s only available over-the-counter in some countries, not the U.S.

In a way, a hungover audience is the sign of a job well done for the Young Dubliners.

“If they’re really not drunk off their asses, you feel like you didn’t do the job,” Roberts said. “We always have to be aware that if you’re looking for people looking up and listening carefully and clapping along at the end of the songs, (St. Patrick’s Day) is not the night for that. This is the night for trying to make sure people don’t kill each other, they behave themselves.”

Fans of the Young Dubliners have proved their ability to behave themselves in the past, completely funding the band’s most recent record, 2013’s “9.”

This was the band’s first foray into the world of crowdsourcing, but they felt like the time was right to try something new. But having no strict deadline meant that the band second-guessed every decision.

“You’re your own worst critic, so you keep trying to improve on it,” Roberts said. “Eventually we really had to tell ourselves ‘OK, we got to finish this now and get it done.’ ”

The success of that first campaign has inspired the band to pursue the same route on their next album, which they are in the very early stages of creating.

“Thanks to our real loyal following, we were able to survive as long as we have and at this late stage in our career, some people actually want a record big enough to where they actually pay for it in advance,” Roberts said. “That was quite a nice thing to know you’re loved.”

The love is mutual, as the band prepares for its 10th 10-day tour of Ireland with nearly 100 Young Dubliners fans, scheduled for March of next year, which Roberts calls the highlight of the band’s year.

Fans see the sights during the day and take in Young Dubliners shows, as well as a pub crawl or two, at night.

“At this stage in our career, it may be the last one, so hopefully we’ll have a good showing for it,” Roberts said. “We don’t want to be the band that constantly says ‘This is the farewell tour,’ and then we’re back next year, but at some point we’ll have to slow down a little bit.

“No matter what happens, as long as I have the Solpadeine …,” Roberts said with a laugh.

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