By Chuck Cox
After arriving home a little bit early from work on Monday afternoon, I was relaxing with a little Diet Coke and XBox 360 when I happened to check Facebook. When I did, I saw that a band I have loved for a long time, Florida Celtic rockers Seven Nations, was playing Dallas in just a few hours.
The last time I checked the band’s site, I saw it was supposed to play the Texas Scottish Festival in May, so I hadn’t bothered to look at its tour itinerary in a while. It turned out Seven Nations was playing at 6th Street Bar in Uptown at 8 p.m., so my plans for the evening quickly changed. I was just going to relax at home. But seeing as how Seven Nations was playing so close to me and had also removed its Arlington date in May from the schedule, I had to go check out the show.
The first time I saw Seven Nations — a reference to the seven original Celtic nations — play live, it was way back in 2001 at the old Hard Rock Cafe on McKinney, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from 6th Street Bar. The small but really cool bar had valet parking, which was in the back. After I gave the attendant my truck, he said I could just go in the back door.
I got there just a few minutes before eight. When I did, there were not a whole lot of people there. I did see some of the band members hanging out at the bar and taking part in some appetizers. After also seeing a couple of hostesses who clearly didn’t work for the bar and some advertising banners that clearly aren’t normally there, I realized I had stumbled into some sort of corporate gathering, complete with drink coupons and small talk. It turned out to be for Dewar’s whisky, which has used Seven Nations in print ads in the past. Nobody ever asked me if I was supposed to be there, so I just rolled with it. After all, the band did have the show listed on its site.
Seven Nations didn’t play until 9:15. And while the band, now six members strong, played a cool set, it only lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes. It played a few of my favorites from the catalogue, like “Twelve” and “King of Oblivion.” Seven Nations also did a nice cover of the Cure’s “Love Song” from its album covering 10 of that band’s tracks. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of the crowd was very attentive after a couple of songs.
In addition to the greatness of having bagpipes in a rock band, I have a lot of respect for guys like Seven Nations. The band pretty much sets up its own tours and plays relentlessly because it loves what it does. Getting to see it play for free in such a tiny setting was awesome. Even for me, it’s pretty rare to have a show pop up so last-minute. And for a lot of reasons, Monday’s Seven Nations concert was one I’ll remember for a while.