It's time to get your green on.
St. Patrick's Day is Monday, yet there's no reason why you have to wait until then to start celebrating all things Irish. Just crank up some Christy Moore right now, and let the festivities begin.
The local music scene has always embraced the occasion -- as it does most opportunities to throw a good party. So it's no surprise that there are many Celtic concerts coming up in the Bay Area.
Here's a rundown of some of the top St. Patrick's Day-related music events:
The Black Brothers: St. Patrick's Day just wouldn't be the same in the Bay Area without The Black Brothers. The beloved Celtic act, led by Shay and Michael of Ireland's legendary musical Black family, always performs locally this time of the year. Their highly anticipated shows feature historical ballads, music hall numbers and other traditional Irish, Scottish and English songs.
The brothers, whose sister Mary Black ranks as one of the greatest Irish vocalists of all time, have four gigs in the Bay Area. The band performs Friday at the Trinity Cathedral in San Jose (7:30 p.m.; $20-$24; www.eventbrite.com), Saturday at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley (8 p.m.; $26-$28; www.thefreight.org), Sunday at Keane's 3300 Club in San Francisco (noon; admission price TBA; www.3300club.com) and April 5 at Pacifica Performances (7:30 p.m.; $12-$20; www.pacificaperformances.org).
Colm O'Riain and Lucia Comnes: This is a delightful doubleheader for Irish music fans. O'Riain is an Irish-born violinist with a background in classical music, a deep understanding of jazz and an unrelenting desire to explore multiple genres.
He's performed at festivals around the globe, delighting fans with a brand of modern Irish music that draws melodies and rhythms from Brazil, Cuba, India and other areas. O'Riain has been hailed as a "genius fiddler" by no less of an authority than the great Mike Scott, the mastermind behind the acclaimed Celtic-rock act The Waterboys.
Comnes is a bright light on the Bay Area's thriving Celtic music scene. As the leader of Lucia Comnes and Her Rockin' Irish Band, this San Francisco-born vocalist-fiddler embraces traditional Celtic music and then adds some rock 'n' roll. The result is some really lively reels and jigs, as fiddle, guitar and harmonica combine in a friendly, fevered fashion.
Comnes has performed in many high-profile settings. Notably, she received high marks for the lovely rendition of "America the Beautiful" that she delivered before an Oakland Raiders home game last season.
This Irish music double bill is set for 8 p.m. Monday at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Tickets are $20; www.slimspresents.com.
The City of Dublin St. Patrick's Day Celebration: Yes, we're talking about the Bay Area's Dublin. The two-day festival features three stages devoted to Irish music and dance. The musical offerings usually range from Celtic harp and bagpipes to traditional Irish folk music and Celtic rock. The festival also features shopping opportunities, carnival rides and food vendors serving up such appropriate fare as corned beef sliders, Irish bangers and mash, Guinness-marinated tri-tip on Irish soda bread and boxty (traditional Irish potato cakes with corned beef and cabbage). This is a great family event.
The festival runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Dublin Civic Center. The festival is part of a larger St. Patrick's Day celebration, which also includes a parade. For details, go to www.ci.dublin.ca.us.
Story Road: This all-star group, which features members of Molly's Revenge and other talented musicians, specializes in both lively dance tunes and lovely ballads from Ireland and Scotland. Story Road will be joined by members from the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers troupe. Arrive early enough to enjoy a corned beef and cabbage dinner special.
Show time is 7:30 p.m. Monday at Don Quixote's International Music Hall in Felton. Tickets are $12-$15, www.donquixotesmusic.info.
Cooney's Irish Cabaret: Your host for the evening will be Andy Cooney, an Irish crooner who has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The event will also feature Irish comic Noel V. Ginnity, the Donna Carr Irish dance troupe and the Guinness Irish Band.
Show time is 8 p.m. Friday at the United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco. Tickets are $35, www.ifhyl.org.
The "In the Tradition" Piano Trio: Pianist Bill Jackman, bassist Terry Hilliard and drummer Johnny Apperson will perform a set of "Irish Music and More," which will also include classic jazz and pop. The show will feature a "Dancing to Jazz" demonstration and is a benefit for the St. Jarlath Catholic School in Oakland. Show time is 4 p.m. Sunday at the St. Jarlath Catholic School auditorium. Tickets are $10, 510-532-4387.
The Black Irish Band: The group, which blends Celtic, Spanish and Italian musical styles, has performed more than 600 shows to date. Many of The Black Irish Band's original songs are based on Celtic history. Show time is 8 p.m. March 29 at the Benicia Historical Museum's Stone Hall. Tickets are $20, www.beniciahistoricalmuseum.org. Reservations are recommended.
Plough and Stars: The great San Francisco Irish pub has, of course, much going on around St. Patrick's Day. The venue will host the acoustic Celtic-folk act the Gas Men on Saturday and fiddler-multi-instrumentalist Michael Mullen on Wednesday, among other events. For details, go to www.theploughandstars.com.
Follow Jim Harrington at Twitter.com/jimthecritic, Facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.