Spider Stacy fell in love with a band at One Eyed Jacks. The longtime singer and tin whistler for Celtic punk band The Pogues had stumbled into a Lost Bayou Ramblers show.
"I was immediately smitten," he says.
Now the Ramblers join Stacy for Poguetry In Motion (named after The Pogues' 1986 EP) Saturday at One Eyed Jacks. It's the beginning of a series in which bands of different stripes will perform the music of The Pogues.
"This whole Poguetry idea, if you analyzed it really, and asked me to speak on it honestly, is probably just an excuse to do this very thing with the Lost Bayou Ramblers," says Stacy, who moved to New Orleans in 2010. "I'm half kidding. The idea of using the Pogues' songs in different contexts, seeing them through other people's eyes, a fresh take and that sort of thing, that's always intrigued me. ... The Lost Bayou Ramblers, it was a no-brainer. The fit seemed so obvious and so natural. It's only really a step away."
The Ramblers' rowdy rock 'n' roll take on Cajun music complements the Pogues' Irish-influenced punk.
"I really like the way the whistle, the fiddle and the accordion all mesh together," Stacy says. "There's also a similar sense of abandon and exhilaration."
Jazz vocalist Meschiya Lake (whose voice Stacy describes as "like she's got a lion on a string where every now and then she takes it for a little walk and lets the lion express itself") also will perform with the band on The Pogues' seminal Christmastime ballad "Fairytale of New York."
Stacy hasn't added other bands to the series yet, but he plans to take the Ramblers on a festival tour next year and possibly record an album with the band. "This was never intended to be a one-off with them," he says.
The Pogues formed in 1982 in London. The band's last performance in New Orleans was at the 2009 Voodoo Experience amid its reunion after nearly a decade's absence. The gig has become infamous among fans — singer Shane MacGowan went missing the day before and was found 24 hours later in a hotel lobby. With an unreliable McGowan singing infrequently, Stacy (appropriately wearing a black captain's hat) steered the band's ship onstage but was, understandably, frustrated. ("That was just a minor hiccup, really," Stacy says. "In hindsight, I was completely in the wrong, and I should give Shane a little more latitude.")
In 2013, Pogues guitarist Philip Chevron died following a battle with esophageal cancer. The band remains in good spirits — literally, as it recently teamed up with West Cork Distillery to release a line of Irish whiskey — though the band, Stacy says, "is currently resting."
"That's not to say it's all over until it clearly and unequivocally is," he says.
Stacy appeared on the second season of the HBO series Treme as tin whistling street performer James "Slim Jim" Lynch around the same time Stacy and his wife Louise moved into the namesake neighborhood (or thereabouts — their neighbor Dave Bartholomew Jr. told them they live closer to the 6th Ward). He currently is looking for metal and jazz shows.
"It's very easy in New Orleans for that sound to just kind of sink into things, especially in the summer, this language, this heated embrace, and submerge," Stacy says. "It's a very good place for doing that, just for being."