Chance the Arm
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Chance the Arm

Independence, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Independence, Missouri, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Celtic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"This Ain’t Your Grandmother’s Irish Music: Chance the Arm, Flannigan’s Right Hook, The KC Traditional Session Players & Ceili at The Voodoo Lounge"

By: Brian J. Curry,

The first thought that crossed my mind after having time to digest the show at The Voodoo Lounge on Saturday was that this wasn’t my grandmother’s Irish music. Saturday night’s show featuring Flannigan’s Right Hook, Chance the Arm, The KC Traditional Session Players and the Ceili dancers was soaked with power chords, raw driving vocals and more electronics than a Hendrix Woodstock show. The musical mix of face melting, molar loosening, rock, metal, punk and traditional Irish was a  blast furnace of musical goodness. You could feel it in your bones as the bass shook loose internal organs and the flooring at the Voodoo Lounge.

I have to admit when I arrived I was a bit concerned that maybe the bands had bit off a bit more than they could handle as the large room at the Voodoo seemed to dwarf the stage, and defy the typical coziness of an Irish music venue. As I arrived the KC Traditional Session Players were on stage, a largely acoustic mix of traditional Irish music which seemed small in the room. You see I am used to seeing traditional Irish music in a cozy pub, with a fire burning and all the typical comforts of a traditional Irish music session that make it that one of a kind experience. What I didn’t realize and now realize after seeing the show is that opening with the Irish roots music was the perfect transition to illustrate the lineage of the bands that were to take the stage after The Traditional players. The Traditional Players with their simple acoustic instruments and nothing more than a passion for making music were the perfect example of the Irish culture, history and tradition that still so strongly resonates in America today. The passion and desire to make music, regardless of the circumstances, is an Irish trait that has survived thousands of years and still courses strongly through the Irish base in America.

As the evening wore on my concerns about the size of the room proved to be unfounded. As the Trad players finished their set the room continued to fill and the crowd grew not only in size but in their appreciation for the music. I am always amazed when I attend Irish festivals, music shows and other events. The culture, spirit and passion in Irish America is unique and amazing. A wonderful blend of people from all walks of life filled the room on Saturday.

After the Traditional players Flannigan’s Right Hook took the stage and let’s just say that I was more than impressed by this four piece Irish rock band. This was my first time seeing the band live and their set was a blistering performance that peeled the paint off the walls with traditional Irish songs and covers of some great rock and alternative tunes. Shane Borth is a force of nature with his violin and uses some fantastic effects to get varying types of sounds from his instrument. Cameron Russell’s vocals were raw, sonic blasts over the driving percussion and bass lines from Matthew Shoaf and Michael Cochran. By the time they lit into a cover of Zombie by the Cranberries I was officially a “Hook Head” as they call their fans. It could have just been the Guinness but by the time these guys finished their set I could have sworn that I saw several people being carried out of the Voodoo on stretchers, victims of sonically induced internal bleeding. I will definitely see these guys again.

At the conclusion of the FRH set the Traditional players came back out and brought the crowd back the it’s Irish roots, reminding them of the traditional ways while also allowing the crowd a chance to get their wits back about them before Chance the Arm took the stage. When CtA finally made it to the stage there was a strong crowd fully fueled by Irish Car Bombs, Guinness, Jameson(“Uncle Jimmy”) and a variety of other libations. CtA hit the stage and while I have reviewed their cd, it in no way does justice to their live show. This is a band that excels live and blasts out a combination of traditional Irish influences mixed with rock, heavy metal and synth. The vocals and lead provided by Kevin Burton are, and I hesitate here, very reminiscent of Ken Casey of The Dropkick Murphys. I hesitate to make that comparison because DKM is an iconic Irish punk band and I would not make such a comparison lightly, but Burton deserves it with his raw, charging vocals that have that an excellent violent and harsh quality that is a prerequisite for any punk influenced vocalist. Dave Costello and Justin Herdzina’s lead and rhythm guitar work provide an excellent complement and their fiery solo runs showed signs of a metal background and were fantastic over the punch of the rhythm section. Lindsay Jones was excellent on the violin with fluid runs and accompaniments that blended artfully with the non-traditional elements of the music. It is almost a given that the violin is central to any Irish influenced band and Jones occupies that role with a fervor and mastery that gives CtA the street cred they need to call themselves an Irish rock band. Jon Tucker, Paul Jeffries and Rick Johnson all lend a hand to the almost symphony like ensemble that is CtA. I will also say that Chance the Arm brings their people with them. The crowd was filled with fans and people that  you can tell support the band, a tell tale sign that this band delivers when they are on stage. I can say after seeing them live they are definitely an asset to our local music scene and I will be back to see another show.

Throughout the entire show the Céilí dancers would appear on stage and in the crowd with their traditional Irish dance moves. Hair flowing, skirts whirling, they provided an almost surreal, and mythical addition to the songs. Their long locks and Irish dance moves amidst the smoke and lights of the show gave the whole scene a bit of a Smells Like Teen Spirit vibe for those familiar with Nirvana and their seminal grunge rock video.

So as I said at the outset of this review this wasn’t my grandmothers Irish music. I remember listening to The Chieftans on my grandmothers turntable as a young man, and after this show it made me wonder what she would have thought of these Irish bands. I think she would have loved them. After all, the past always informs the future and bands like Flannigan’s Right Hook and Chance the Arm are the keys to keeping the tradition of Irish music fresh and alive. I am very excited to see the evolution of these bands as they continue to improve on their already impressive take on one of our central Irish community assets: local, live music.
Slàinte - Kansas City Irish News

"CD Review: Chance the Arm – The Green Groves of Erin"

By: Brian J. Curry,

I had a chance to listen to the new Chance the Arm CD and was initially interested to see how they blended the styles of Irish traditional music with some more rock oriented sounds. After listening to the cd their sound struck me as a combination of a heavy, guitar based rock band with a more traditional Irish sound. Guitar backing and solos from Dave Costello and Justin Herdzina  are reminiscent of heavy metal and are blended with some stellar fiddle from Lindsay Jones and solid and powerful percussion and backing instruments. I have to say it did get my blood pumping and definitely had an up-tempo vibe with the driving percussion and power chords adding a solid base for the fiddle runs that flowed wonderfully over the sonic foundation of the bass, percussion and power chords. Kevin Burton has a great vocal style to fit in with the Irish overtones on some of the more traditional tracks like Star of the County Down while still exhibiting some of their heavy metal roots.

Morrison’s Jig the first song on the album(yes I still like to say album rather than cd) dislays the band’s heavy metal side with Celtic undertones and fiddle runs, a powerful introduction and great set up for the next song. Star of County Down the second song has a more traditional feel with Burton’s strong and straight ahead vocal stylings. Listening to Star of County Down I felt like I was back at a pub in Doolin, kicking back with an neat glass of “Uncle Jimmy” and a pint of Guinness. Rocky Road to Dublin follows with a great take on this traditional Irish song and definitely rooted in the Irish style with the traditional phrasing and fiddle backing over a percussion base. Burton nails the traditional vocal phrasings on this song and if you don’t want do a jig while listening to this song, well then you may not be Irish. Cooley’s Reel returns to more powerful guitar based styling’s that give this song more of a rock based dimension albeit with a heavy dose of violin from Jones’ strong fiddle patterns. Toss the Feathers starts strong with fat bass lines and some funky guitar which is then followed by what else but more fiddle, an almost reggae take on an Irish song and will definitely get you  moving. I absolutely love the beat and vibe on this song, a creative mix of phrasings and styles with some excellent guitar licks thrown in for good measure. Whiskey in the Jar is strong Irish rock with a beat that rounds out the sound and is another pub oriented song that gives you a thirst and an urge to dance. The next two songs The Irish Washerwoman and The Wild Rover are both in the traditional Irish vein with strong violin and strong vocals. Sleepy Maggie wraps up the album with some powerful rock influenced music that you can feel in your gut. Power chords and heavy violin make for a powerful exclamation point on a strong effort from the members of the band.

Chance the Arm puts forth a compelling, powerful Irish Rock sound. I found myself definitely getting into the music and the unique and wonderful integration of traditional Irish music with the heavy metal and rock sounds is an excellent combination. You have to respect the band for forging the traditional with the more heavy rock influences to create something entirely new and unique. After all, it is this type of creativity that brings fresh life to the music of Ireland and keeps the tradition growing and evolving.

If you get a chance, get out and see this band, or head over to iTunes and support the band by purchasing a couple of their songs or the whole album, it is worth it. It is these types of young, local Irish musicians that our community should support in an effort to keep the future of Irish music in Kansas City strong. - Kansas City Irish News

"Chance the Arm Album Review"

4.75/5 Stars!

Chance the Arm is one of Kansas City's gems and even though it took me what seems like forever to see them live, it was well worth the wait. You can check out my review of the Fall Music Fest here to read my thoughts on their live performance. In short, it was fun, energized and one of the best local shows I have ever seen.
The Irish group gave me a copy of "The Green Groves of Erin" to review and I couldn't have been more stoked. It was hard at first because I was getting so into the music itself I had to keep reminding myself that I was supposed to be reviewing, and not just dancing around my living room.

First up for the ears was the familiar "Morrison's Jig". The traditional Irish sounds mixed with some heavy rock influences really show you the diversity of this band. The song is fun, high energy and has a nice build up to it. "Star of the County Down" is one of the few tracks with a vocal focus but it was definitely fun. It is catchy which makes the listeners want to sing a long and a bit slower which is a must for such a high energy band like Chance the Arm. 

"Rocky Road to Dublin" is definitely a more rough around the edges traditional Irish tune. You can almost close your eyes and picture yourself to in a pub with loud guys and everyone signing this song in unison. This track is definitely more on the traditional side which I think is great for people who don't listen to a lot of Irish or Celtic music. 
"Cooley's Reel" is one of my favorite tracks on this album. It infuses the traditional with chill music and even some R&B style drum fills. It was definitely the track I found myself getting lost in and zoning out forgetting I was supposed to be writing around it. If you want a track to simply get lost in, this is the one to do it to. The title track "The Green Groves of Erin" was another really cool mixed sound track. It was like Reggae infused Irish music that really felt modern and appealing to all masses. I like they picked this as the title track because I think the diversity in it really shows just what Chance the Arm is.

"Toss the Feathers" had some really cool breakdowns and was fun, although I think it felt short of some of the other tracks on the album. "Whiskey in the Jar" is a brilliantly appropriate song title for an Irish tune and it was super fun. This is definitely a sing a long track that comes across even better live! By the end of it you will have added "Daddy-O" to your daily language and maybe even learned how to do the Irish Step.

When it came to seeing CTA live, I think "The Irish Washerwoman" was one of my favorites. It had such a high energy level and although you can hear that on the album, live you get to really see and feel those build ups! 
As if they hadn't infused enough genres into the mix with their traditional Irish sound, "The Wild Rover" takes it a step into the country direction. Irish and Country music infused for one song? Yes, you got that right and although I am not a HUGE country fan I was actually impressed with this song simply because of the mixture of different sounds. The album ends with "Sleepy Maggie" which is probably my second favorite track on the album. It's most traditional but has some really cool, heavy guitar riffs and drum fills that catch your ears by surprise when you are listening. I really enjoyed this album and it has earned a permanent spot on my playlist.

If you haven't seen Chance the Arm live, do yourself a favor and add it to your resolutions for 2014! They put on one of the best shows you are ever going to see in Kansas City and are a group of really humble, creative people.

Thanks for the album guys! 4.75/5 from me! -

"Chance the Arm: Dual Reviews"

Rachel’s Review:
Friday night while waiting for people just outside of the Voodoo Lounge, I hear the sound of something new to me. I hear the beautiful sound of a violin mixed with a mandolin along with guitars and drums. My very first thought was “What is this? I need to see this!” I made my way immediately through security and right to the front of the stage to this Irish rock show.

The band was called Chance the Arm. I didn’t understand the name at first and had to look it up. The definition is to take a risk in order to get something that you want. The band is definitely taking a risk with this genre of music. There isn’t much of Irish / Celtic Rock in our area, but it does call out to my Irish roots. They take some very beautiful Irish melodies and kick it up a notch to make it more rock and modern.
The band is made up with 7 members.

Dave Costello – Guitars
Justin Herdzina – Guitars
Paul Jeffries – Bass, Tinwhistle, Percussion, Drums
Kevin Burton – Vocals, Keyboard, Bass
Ricky Johnson – Drums, Percussion, Acoustic Guitar, Bass
Lindsay Jones – Violin
Jonathan Tucker – Mandolin, Accordion, Percussion, Vocals

As you can see they are very talented in many diverse instruments. I highly recommend if you get a chance to check this band out. It’s not very often that you can see or hear this kind of music outside of the Renaissance Festival. You can find them out on Facebook at

Frank’s Review:
Honestly when I first walked in and saw Chance the Arm playing, I was wondering what Kilroy had done to a rock show. It did not grab me at first, but I was just being short sighted in hindsight.

Chance the Arm has a very clean, well timed performance with more instruments than that ear can decipher in quick fashion. Usually, unless it is very well practiced and rehearsed when you add as many instruments in as they had on that stage (easily 10+) it comes off muddy and dull. Chance the Arm came across very entertaining and with a Celtic sound that almost put you into a trance while listening.

While typical with most Celtic shows I catch, the vocals were not in every song, and honestly the Celtic that I hear that does have vocals, it is almost a turn off. To me the instrumental and the talent shown by playing the various instruments at a high level skill that Celtic requires is the entertainment that the genre provides. This band provided all of that where I could not really even look away, they just demanded that you gave them the attention that they deserved.

Being of the Celtic Rock genre I fear that the chances to be able to get out and see this band are going to be limited greatly. There are not many venues that will chance a night on the genre, which is sad because the base for this music is large.

Lucky for Chance the Arm this show was at the Voodoo which has some of the top sound and production guys and gals in the business that allowed them to show off what they were doing correctly on stage. 90% of the venues around Kansas City and the in-house personnel provided would not know where to start to properly mix and enhance the instruments correctly.

With everything done and said, Chance the Arm is someone you should without a doubt follow and catch at least one show of what they do if you enjoy Celtic Rock. It would not be a waste of your time.

Rachel Crews and Frank Arena
Project Backstage - Project Backstage


The Green Groves of Erin - 2013



Chance the Arm is a 7-piece group from the Kansas City Area that plays modern and traditional Irish music. 

After forming in the Kansas City area in 2010, the members of CtA found a genuine love for Irish music. Winners of the 2013 Project Backstage New Artist of the Year award and 2014 Project Backstage Artist of the Year and Album of the Year, CtA is bringing their flavor of Irish music to far more than just the local Irish pubs. Capable of playing many styles and instruments, this band brings a fresh twist to the ever-popular Irish musical genre. 

Band Members