Beth Patterson

O'Flaherty's Irish Pub

June 07, 2004

Beth Patterson strummed feverishly on her guitar and repeated "Bastard!" five times until she finished triumphantly by throwing rock horns in the air. This section of original break-up song "Steer by the Stars" was not on the album version. Patterson then launched into the folk tune about a man she left behind in Ireland.

Patterson has been on the scene since '93, when she founded The Poor Clares. Since then, she obtained degrees in ethnomusicology and music therapy, toured the world, and held a steady gig at O'Flaherty's, where she played Monday night.

Armed with her eight string bouzouki(a guitar-like adaptation of a traditional Greek instrument), Patterson played Irish music. Even if she played sad songs, they came off as light-hearted romps because of the speed and jump associated with Irish music. Patterson had plucking swiftness and skill, but instead of showing off, she dryly executed the songs and added her sense of humor.

Patterson was a performer and an entertainer. Her plethora of comebacks were put to good use when a bothersome but well-meaning audience member kept annoying her. I almost wanted the guy to keep mouthing off so I could see how funny she could be. Patterson added levity to the proceedings by using silly voices during songs and telling humorous anecdotes after them. When the aforementioned troublemaker requested "Hotel California," Patterson paused for a while, as if she was trying to think of the meanest thing she could do. Patterson proceeded to play the song note by note while doing the most unflattering impression of Don Henley I've ever heard(a lot of mumbling).

The crowd was with her song after song, and they filled her tip jug to the brim. Patterson was great. Her technical efficiency and rapier wit made the evening memorable.


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