100 Years of Guinness and Green
Luckeys celebrates a century of St. Patricks Days
by Vanessa Salvia
Once again, the streets of Eugene will turn green, and the party will be in full swing at Luckeys come 6 oclock. The popular downtown bar is celebrating its 100th St. Patricks Day this year with a reunion show of two local bands playing energetic Irish music ã Toad in the Hole and Sid and Fancy. Luckeys owner Jo Dee Moine, who bought the bar 10 years ago, says no one is certain when the bar first opened, but Tad Luckey Sr. bought the business in 1911 (Moine plans a big 100th birthday celebration for 11/11/11). Tad Luckey was a first generation immigrant whose parents came from Country Derry in Ireland, Moine says, and they are buried in the Pioneer Cemetery by the UO campus. That connection with a true Irish past reaching back over the centuries surely adds to the appeal of Luckeys as a St. Patricks Day destination.
"Its our biggest day of the year for sure, and it always has been,” Moine says. In fact, the biggest day ever at Luckeys was when Toad In The Hole played their farewell show on St. Patricks Day in 2005. "We get a really great crowd of people of all ages who want to see the Irish-flavored music. People wear funny hats and beads and of course green, and its always just a really good crowd.”
This year, Moines usual plans for an outdoor beer garden are inadvertently enhanced by the construction going on in "the Pit.” Rather than set up in their back courtyard, Moine is closing off a much larger area out front. Weather permitting, the club will set up an acoustic stage and one of the local food carts will be on hand.
Toad In The Hole broke up in 2005. Vocalist Matthew Hayward-Macdonald and fiddler/violinist Kathryn Claire moved to the Oregon coast for two and a half years, while other band members were ensconced in their family lives and their own commitments. Hayward-Macdonald says Luckeys booking agent Sam Hahn calls him yearly hoping to have TITH play St. Pattys Day. "This year it just made sense, being the 100th St. Patricks Day celebration,” Hayward-Macdonald says. "I always get nostalgic for Eugene and St. Patricks Day and for Luckeys, because some of the best performances of my life were there. This year its not really about working so much as it is appreciating my time in Eugene and especially that venueÄ Its a nice return for me and I think for every one else, too.”
Sid and Fancys high energy, punk-driven Irish-tinged rock always drew a big crowd, as did TITHs post-Pogues Irish punk. Hayward-Macdonald is also doing a solo set of original music and traditional Irish songs, and the Eugene Firefighters Pipes and Drums will play twice throughout the evening.
Moine recalls that farewell Toad In The Hole show in •95, where Luckeys was so packed she says the ceiling started to sweat. This years show is gonna be so hot, the crowd will be lucky if theres a ceiling left.
Luckeys 100th St. Patricks Day celebration starts at 6 pm Thursday, March 17, with Patrick OKelleys Irish Session; there is an open Irish jam at 7 pm; Jesse Meade plays at 8 pm; Toad in the Hole, Sid and Fancy and Matthew Hayward-Macdonald start at 10 pm; 21+, $10.