Chances are, you may spot a horde of "Storm Chasers" in west Florida during the coming week.
No, not the kind who look for tornadoes; these Storm Chasers are rabid fans of the Celtic/world music band Gaelic Storm, the five-member group that skyrocketed to fame after its appearance as the band in steerage in the 1997 movie Titanic.
The Storm will perform its unique style of song, dance and music at 8 p.m. Jan. 21 at Pasco-Hernando Community College Performing Arts Center on the New Port Richey campus. It's part of a swing through Florida and up the east coast through 18 states, ending with a trek to Washington state in May.
The Jan. 21 show marks the sixth time the group has been at PHCC, and the crowds grow in size and enthusiasm with each appearance. Nearly two weeks out, the venue has almost filled up, with the floor seats all gone (most likely to diehard Stormers), a smattering of individual tickets available in the coveted center sections and a few rows in the side and back sections. Call (727) 816-3707 or visit phcc.edu/tix.
It's likely the band will feature songs from its 2010 album, Cabbage, the seventh studio album the group has made since they formed in 1995. Among the tunes is a tribute to an Irish lass, Red Hair, Green Eyes, who "plays violin with a bayonet;" the Simon and Garfunkel classic Cecilia, done with a Celtic touch; the Celtic rock anthem Raised on Black and Tans; and a song with a Jamaican bounce, Northern Lights.
The set list also will likely include Gaelic Storm's own signature song, What's the Rumpus, when Storm Chasers often out-sing the guys on the stage.
First-timers who browse through greeting card racks may recognize another Gaelic Storm favorite, Kiss Me, I'm Irish, which was made into a musical Hallmark card a few years back.
The linchpin of the band is the resident Irishman Patrick Murphy, a native of Cork, who co-founded the group in a California pub and is the lead singer, accordion player and raconteur. An audience favorite is a story he tells about himself, The Night I Punched Russell Crowe, a ballad based on an actual event.
Co-founder Steve Twigger comes from England and plays guitar and sings, as well as writes many of the band's songs. Californian Ryan Lacey joined the group in 2003 as drummer, while Canadian Peter Purvis, who sports the most serious visage of the members, plays pipes and whistles.
The newest band member is high-energy violin player Jessie Burns, who came on board in 2007. Burns, a native of England, lives in the Rocky Mountains and is an avid skier when the group isn't on the road. The tiny lass puts heart and soul into her fiddling and sometimes joins the singers on a chorus or two.
The band travels about 200 days a year throughout the world and played at the 2011 Festival du Chant de Marin in Paimpol, France, with the Chieftains and Sinead O'Connor, among others. They started their own Shamboozle Fest in Asheville, N.C. in the summer of 2011, and that event spawned a 51-show tour in 45 cities through 21 states.
That was in addition to working on cruise ships and playing performing arts centers, resorts, arenas and outdoor stages.
Although the group is working toward its next album, co-founder Twigger is quoted on the band's website as saying, "We are first and foremost a live band. We got together to play music. To enjoy ourselves and enjoy being out with the audience. As the world has gotten darker, people have come and found us as a means to escape."