The Napper Tandies will return to Billy’s Tavern for a warm-up Saint Patrick’s Day celebration Saturday, March 13 starting at 8 p.m. Portland’s favorite Irish pub band is known for traditional Irish and folk music with a twist — it is not every day you hear Neil Diamond or a Violent Femmes cover with a fiddle and accordion, or see 20- and 60-year-olds together on the dance floor.

“Billy’s Tavern is a great gig because of the response and atmosphere of the place,” said Chris Brinn, the band’s accordion player. “In some places, it will take the crowd a set or two to get going, but we normally start as strongly as we finish when we come down to Thomaston.”

Named after James Napper Tandy, the famous Irish rebel leader, the band originated about 10 years ago when a group of local musicians started playing together in Rockland at the former Rocky Bay Brewery’s Waterworks Pub, said Brinn, who grew up in England and now lives in Searsmont. Over the years, there have been many incarnations with a variety of musicians and balladeers sitting in playing fiddle, mandolin, tin whistle, upright bass and “assorted junk,” he said.

Today, the Napper Tandies play every weekend at bars in Portland and Old Orchard Beach. The lineup for the March 13 gig at Billy’s Tavern will be Brinn on accordion and vocals; Matt Smith on guitar and vocals; Randy Billings on bass and vocals; Spencer Nelson on drums; and Liam Andrews on the fiddle.

There will be a $3 cover for the Napper Tandies at the door.

Brinn will be back at Billy’s Tavern Wednesday, March 17, to play for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Some of the best Celtic musicians in the Midcoast will be performing traditional Irish and folk music on banjos, fiddle, accordion and squeeze box starting at 8 p.m.

To compliment the music, Billy’s Tavern will be serving corned beef and cabbage and corned beef sandwiches Saturday through Wednesday, March 13 through 17. Billy’s Tavern is located downtown, just off Beechwood Street behind the main business block. For more information, call 354-1177.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to