When you think of Irish music, you’re probably more likely to picture fiddlers and accordions than screaming guitars and hi-hats. But the minds behind Rockin’ Road to Dublin, a music-and-dance show that originated in 2014 and is now wending through its second national tour, don’t see why the two should be mutually exclusive.
“It’s been this narrative of two completely different things working together to make each other cooler,” says co-founder/co-creator Scott Doherty. “We [co-creator Chris Smith and I] thought how crazy it would be if we had these tunes played by a big rock band, but it worked better than we thought. Irish music, Irish dance, rock–they’re all driven by rhythm.”
Doherty wanted to be clear, however, that this is not the same as hybrid genre Celtic rock, which incorporates instruments like fiddles, bagpipes and accordions into contemporary, original rock and roll.
“Celtic rock is incredible, but we steered away from that,” he says. “It’s more of an ’80s vibe. Every night, there are people that come in thinking they know what they’re about to get, and they’re always blown away.”
This tour in particular has the potential to surprise and delight, he says, thanks to larger-than-life production values.
“We’ve beefed everything up,” he says. “We thought bigger and better. The costumes are bigger, the stage is bigger, we’ve got this massive video screen showing close-ups…”
The performers, too, are particularly advanced. Doherty says he has assembled his “dream team of dancers,” including multiple world and national champions (himself included).
“I’m very lucky to have done enough shows that I’ve been able to call in my dream team,” he says. “We’ve put together one of the best dancing troupes of all time.”
The band is equally talented–he calls the singers “absolute beasts,” also praising the “crazy” talent of the musicians.
“It’s basically a whole stage of everyone trying to keep up with each other,” he says. “I like to tell people that when it comes to Irish shows, there are so many amazing shows out there, but I can guarantee that even if you think you’ve seen it all, you’ve never seen anything like us before.”
Rockin’ Road to Dublin will be at the Hippodrome April 29.