After a quarter century, comprised of 14 album releases and 2500 shows, New York’s own, Black 47, are calling it quits. On November 8, the 25th anniversary of their first show in the Bronx, the celebrated Irish-American rock band will play one final gig before moving onto greener pastures. On Sunday, March 16, from 2 – 6 p.m. the group will perform one of their final New York shows at Empire City Casino (Yonkers, NY) with fellow beloved New York City Irish band, Shilelagh Law, providing the opening performance.
Fans from across the tri-state area will descend on Empire City to see the performance before Black 47 makes its scheduled St. Patrick’s Day appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in New York City on March 17. The band will keep the St. Patrick’s Day party going with a performance that same night at BB King’s on 42nd Street where their show will be broadcast live by SiriusXM.
Since appearing on the New York City pub scene in 1989, the band has toured relentlessly and made TV appearances on Leno, Letterman, and Conan. Their 1993 breakout single, “Funky Ceili” was featured in heavy rotation on MTV and FM radio, instantly opening them up to massive public exposure. Musical comparisons ranged from Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners to Bruce Springsteen. The band has since worked with an assortment of well-known and influential names including Ric Ocasek of The Cars, David Johansen of The New York Dolls, and Christine Ohlman of Saturday Night Live. Black 47 has made live appearances opening up for legendary Celtic rockers, The Pogues, to playing the annual Farm Aid benefit concert alongside Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash.
The band which professes to “have played more gigs at Shea Stadium than the Beatles,” is as synonymous with New York City as they are with their Irish roots. The six-piece band, founded by NYPD officer Chris Byrne, released “New York Town” following September 11th, honoring first responders and all New Yorkers affected by the tragedy.
“We played every Saturday night in Connolly’s for years after the tragedy trying to get people to come back to mid-town while providing a scene for first responders and New Yorkers who needed to kick back and let off some steam,” said band leader Larry Kirwan.
Black 47’s efforts to restore New York City’s illustrious nightlife helped reinvigorate the Irish-American pub scene characteristic throughout the five boroughs.
“The band has never sounded better, we’re working on twelve new songs, it seemed like a great time to call it a day,” said Kirwan, the prolific Black 47 front-man and host of Sirius XM’s Celtic Crush, regarding the band as they embark on their final tour. “We decided to go out when we’re ahead and, as always, on our own terms.”
Their final album “Last Call” is available now to purchase on all digital platforms and two of their most influential albums, “Home of the Brave” and “Green Suede Shoes” will be re-released by Universal Records later this month.
The March 16 performance at Empire City Casino will be one of the final chances to see Black 47 live in the New York area before they disband later this year. The pre-St. Patrick’s Day concert will run from 2 – 6 p.m. at Empire City Casino, trackside (rain, snow, or shine) and will also feature Shilelagh Law. Tickets are priced at just $20 and are on sale now online at empirecitycasino.com. All tickets are general admission/standing room. Fittingly, with Black 47’s connection to first responders after 9/11, discounted tickets are available for EMS, police, and fire personnel at a 25 percent discount ($15) for tickets purchased onsite at Empire City Casino at the second floor cage window. Proper identification is required.
To top off this Irish celebration, A Jameson Tent will serve shots and fan favorite cocktails and an Irish Beer Tent will provide Guinness, Harp Lager, Smithwicks Irish Ale, and Magners Cider. Food will be bountiful with traditional corned beef and cabbage, bangers, burgers with Guinness fried onion rings and more. Following the concert, the party will continue indoors for more live music and entertainment with the Steve Reilly Duo performing in Dan Rooney’s Sports Pub from 8 – 11 p.m. and a performance by Girsa in the Entertainment Lounge from 9 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.