Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) returned Saturday to Montgomery County, where he grew up, to play a benefit concert with his Celtic rock band to support programs at the Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown.
He also managed to work in a few stories about his just-completed trip to Ireland and take a colorful jab at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), another potential candidate for the White House in 2016.
The evening event, which included a post-concert reception, drew several Montgomery politicians, including County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who introduced O’Malley’s March to the less-than-capacity audience. Tickets started at $50.
Leggett, who is running for reelection next year, said when state support for the county is at stake, he is not shy about reminding O’Malley, a former Baltimore mayor and the band’s front man, about his roots in Montgomery.
Sometimes, Leggett said, “I go for the jugular. I say, ‘Your mother lives here in Montgomery County, and I know where she lives.’”
O’Malley called Leggett “the best county executive in America” before his band launched into a set that included the O’Malley-penned “Wait for Me” — the governor playfully referred to it as his “smash hit”’ — but was otherwise heavy on covers.
Among them: “Death to My Hometown,” by Bruce Springsteen; “Galway Girl” by Steve Earle; and “The Green and Red of Mayo,” by the Saw Doctors, an Irish band that played at both of O’Malley’s inaugural balls.
The Irish-tinged Springsteen song provided the opening for a shot at Christie, who is a huge fan fan of the New Jersey rocker and has been trying to cozy up to him.
“God, I hope he doesn’t fall into that Chris Christie crap,” O’Malley said of Springsteen.
O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, also relayed that he had climbed the Croagh Patrick mountain during a “great trip” to Ireland, which included several days of what his staff billed as “personal time” and reflection.
The governor told the crowd that the many before him have made the journey up the mountain “to atone for religious sins.”
“It’s a very treacherous, nasty climb,” he said.
O’Malley’s March, which had its hey day during O’Malley’s tenure as a Baltimore councilman and mayor, plays less frequently now. It had been several months since the band’s last outing, O’Malley told the crowd.
“The less we play, the better we sound,” he joked.
The band has a pair of concerts scheduled on the same night late next month at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, a venue just around the corner from the State House.
Those in attendance at Saturday’s show included Dels. Brian J. Feldman and Aruna Miller, both Montgomery Democrats; Kensington Mayor Peter Fosselman(D), who also serves as deputy secretary of state in O’Malley’s administration; and W. Kevin Hughes, chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities.
The Black Rock hosts of a variety of musical and dramatic performances and art exhibits and offers arts education classes, as well as summer camps.