It’s one thing if you’re Jerry Jeff Walker and your annual mid-March birthday bash gets eclipsed by SXSW: Easy enough to just move the concert to later in the month every year. But it’s not really possible to move St. Patrick’s Day.
Austinites fond of the traditional Irish holiday have learned to work with and around South by Southwest, with a little help from a handful of local establishments. It’s harder this year with the recent demolition of the Dog & Duck Pub, which was famous for its major March 17 parking-lot throwdowns. But Opal Divine’s is still carrying the torch, and they have Austin’s best purveyors of music from the British Isles on their side.
This is the 25th year that Scotland native Ed Miller and longtime Robert Earl Keen guitarist Rich Brotherton, who spent time as a young man in Ireland learning the country’s folk music, have played Opal Divine’s for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a three-show commitment: They started the day at the restaurant’s Penn Field location before moving west to the Davenport site. They close out with an evening gig up north at the Marina branch near Mopac and Parmer.
The two musicians trade turns leading the show, often soliciting sing-alongs from the crowd. Here’s