Ceilidh 8: OctoCeilidh!

On February 20, 2015, in General, by Michael



Et Viola!

On February 15, 2015, in General, by Kit

We’d like to say “Happy Birthday!” to our violist, violinist, occasional vocalist and friend, Linnea Bloomquist.


(photo by Mark Englehart)

Although she’s played with us at most of the ceilidhs and at many other gigs, she’s always been sort of an auxiliary member of the  band, a special team if you will.

Well, we figured her birthday was as good a time as any to make an honest woman of Linnea, she’s now a full-fledged Rude Mechanical, whatever that means…

Along with playing with band, Linnea also plays viola in the West Hartford Symphony, is a vet tech during the day and has a degree in dramaturgy from NYU (if she recommends a show, go see it; the girl has a great eye for good theater)

Your next chance to see all of us Mechancials doing our thing is at this year’s ceilidh – Ceilidh VIII, The OctoCeilidh!

Two shows in one day! Get your tickets here! (and soon, this show tends to sell fast!)


Also coming up – a St. Patricks Day gig at the HartBeat Ensemble’s Carriage House Theater (Sunday, March 15) and we’re working on a gig at the Mark Twain House and Museum for Thursday, March 19. Stay tuned!



And they danced….like a wave on the ocean

On November 10, 2014, in Shows, by Bill

Great show last night at the Carriage House in Hartford. Many thanks to the WNPR’s Chion Wolf and the improv groups that donated their time and talent for a good cause. In addition to playing some rock and roll and some trad Celt stuff, last night also saw the reunion of several members of improv group, Too Many Monkeys for the first time in ages. Doing improv comedy again after so many years was frightening and exhilarating. One of the benefits of pulling double duty with the band last night was that I wasn’t really thinking about the improv stuff until a few moments before we were supposed to go on. THAT is when the nerves hit. Turned out just fine and I knew that with head Monkey Kit Webb steering the ship, that we were going to be alright. The audience had been with the groups all night and they were very appreciative and invested in the performance. (We may even do it again sometime….)

As for the band gig, we had a terrific time and we introduced the crowd to new drummer, Roy Donnelly. Roy has had to learn quite a lot of songs in a very short span of time, and last night he did great! Also appearing last night was our string player, Linnea Bloomquist, who switched effortlessly between viola and violin. It adds incredible texture and Linnea is a consummate pro. We played some songs that we hadn’t played in front of people before, and that was both frightening and exhilarating, too! People got up and danced and that was really great. (Improv people like to dance….who knew?) We debuted a new original tune that I think we’re all pretty happy with at this point and I’m feeling like I have another several new songs percolating in my brain. It’s a very exciting time for The Rude Mechanicals!!!

Photo by Maria Grove

Photo by Maria Grove


What’s more fun than elections??

On October 28, 2014, in Shows, by Kit


…well a lot of things actually… While I’m a huge fan of the democratic process, I’ve come to dread the election cycle – the negative ads, the mediocre choices we’re given for candidates (I’m thinking about the current gubernatorial flavors being offered, neither of which is all that palatable), and the general angst and spirit of polarization we’ve somehow let poison our environment… it’s a drag.

So here’s what I’m suggesting:

On November 4, go out and vote; it’s easy and it’s your civic duty. That guy you passed on the highway with the stars-and-bars bumper sticker? If you don’t vote, that jackass’s vote counts twice. You don’t want that – go vote.

Then reward yourself – there happens to be a really fun show coming up on Saturday, November 8.

Raw Toast Poster

The Rude Mechanicals are teaming up with four Connecticut improv troupes to put on a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Live music and improv comedy (including a reunion of Too Many Monkeys!) to raise money for a good cause – seems like an ample reward for 5 minutes spent bubbling in a ballot.

The only catch is that the show is being held in a pretty small theater, you should probably not wait ’til the 4th to get your tickets. Click below to get your tickets today!

Eventbrite - Raw Toast!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

7:30pm at the HartBeat Ensemble’s Carriage House Theater

360 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105

all proceeds will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Come join
The Great Make Believe Society
Sea Tea Improv
Tick Tick BOOM
and a one-night reunion of
Too Many Monkeys
for some comedy improv
plus live music by
The Rude Mechanicals

Hosted by WNPR's Chion Wolf

Hosted by WNPR’s Chion Wolf




Roy and Raw Toast!

On October 10, 2014, in Shows, by Kit

We’re on our third rehearsal with Roy Donnelly as our new drummer and things are going swell. The hazing period is over, Roy did great on the Hartford Landfill scavenger hunt (competing against several actual scavengers), and he’s learned the pledge and the secret hand shake.

We don’t have a band photo for Roy yet, but I happen to have a headshot of him from a play at the Hole in the Wall:

Roy Head Shot

Roy in Rough Crossing (he’s usually in color and dressed less formally)

The whole band is still adjusting to the new chemistry and Roy is still adjusting the drums (we gained about a foot of drummer), but overall the transition has been really smooth. You can tell things are going to be good because we’ve already learned a few new songs together (Pretenders, U2, and a Bill Arnold original), and we all seemed to pick it up pretty quickly.

This is good because we have a show coming up, and it’s going to be an interesting one:

The band is playing as part of a fundraiser I’m putting together for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Robin Williams’ death got me moving on this). It’s going to be an evening of comedy improv with four local improv troupes; the band will be playing between improv sets. To make it more interesting, our old improv troupe Too Many Monkeys is getting back together for this one-night-only performance. To make that more interesting, three members of the band are also in Too Many Monkeys. It’s going to be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.

Here’s more info on the show – we’re only selling 75 seats so if you want to catch the mayhem and music, move quickly!

Raw Toast Logo


An evening of comedy improv and live music to raise some bread for suicide prevention
Saturday, November 8

7:30pm at the HartBeat Ensemble’s Carriage House Theater

Hosted by WNPR’s Chion Wolf

Tickets $20

Get more info on the show and your tickets by clicking here!

Come see Roy’s debut as a Mechanical and the return of Too Many Monkeys!


…of a different drummer…

On September 2, 2014, in General, by Kit

So there’s good news and bad news…

The bad news first: What with his fancy new job, busy calendar and all, Dr. Brian Jones has had to step down as drummer for The Rude Mechanicals. While we are genuinely happy and proud that that guy who played music with us and makes his own beer is now the State Archaeologist, we’re going to really miss having him around. He’s a great drummer and a lot of fun to play with; we’re hoping to get him to come back and at least play a couple of songs with us at future ceilidhs. With him goes his wife, Margaret O’Keefe, who did yeoman’s work managing the band, especially during the madness of getting the ceilidh together. Margaret rocks, there’s no two ways about it.

Brian Drums

Brian Jones

Now the good news: we are genuinely happy to welcome Roy Donnelly on board as the new drummer for The Rude Mechanicals! Roy has sat in with us in the past, at ceilidhs and as drummer when the band played in the pit for the Hole in the Wall’s Rocky Horror Show.

Like Brian, Roy has a PhD, a black belt, and is a great drummer. He’s also a talented actor; I’ve had the pleasure of directing Roy in a couple of shows including Rough Crossing at the Hole in the Wall where Roy got to add his percussive talents to the show, playing a full tea service with various eating utensils.

Roy - Bodhran

Roy Donnelly

We are going to really miss Brian; we’re excited to play with Roy. Lots of mixed emotions for the Mechanicals.

When can you see the band with its new drummer?

Saturday, November 8th at the HartBeat Ensemble’s Carriage House theater, that’s where.

The Rude Mechanicals will be playing for a benefit show (for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). The show will feature local improv troupes – including a one-night reunion of Too Many Monkeys – mixed with live music from the band.

But more about that later…



Lay Me Down

On August 20, 2014, in Shows, by Bill

Suo Gan (The Ceilidh 7 Way!)

On April 9, 2014, in General, by Michael


More Etymology

On January 20, 2014, in Rehearsal Wrap-up, by Bill

We’ve been working on The Frames’ “Lay Me Down” lately. It’s a lovely song, filled with gorgeous harmonies. It’s tricky in its own way and that has made all of us take it a bit more seriously.
I went online after practice last night to see if I could look at what is being played on guitar so I could adapt it for banjo. I came across this video in which Glen Hansard explains the origins of the song. Puts “Lay Me Down” in a whole new light for me!