Among the co-hosts of the event, which had a St. Patrick’s Day theme, were several alumni of O’Malley’s former office in the state house in Annapolis, including two former press secretaries. The event was targeted at students and young professionals who paid between $25 and $1000 to attend. It drew about 300 people.
O’Malley, who is headed to Iowa Friday for two days of events with Democratic politicians and activists, wore a dress shirt and tie as he belted out a series of his favorite covers, including “The Green and Red Mayo” by the Saw Doctors and “Body of an American” by Shane MacGowan. A single camera stayed focused on him for the Meerkat livestream, as a few dozen online viewers registered their “likes” and shared brief comments. A Irish-flavored version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” seemed particularly well-received.
“God bless you for your great taste in Irish music,” the 52-year-old former governor told the crowd early in the show.
If nothing else, the concert proved that O’Malley’s recently injured elbow is on the mend. He announced on Twitter early last month that he had broken it while lifting weights. On Thursday night, there was no noticeable difference in his guitar playing.
O’Malley’s embrace of Meerkat comes just a few weeks after his debut on another social media app with a youthful clientele: Snapchat. O’Malley snapped several photos of his recent visits to New Hampshire and Chicago, where he participated in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade last weekend.
Thursday’s performance, at the Josephine Butler Youth Center overlooking Meridian Hill Park, was closed to reporters. A well-dressed, mostly white crowd of young people poured out onto 15th Street afterward, some smoking cigarettes, many waiting for their Ubers.
Theresa Dipeppe, 24, said she met her boyfriend one year ago this week at an O’Malley’s March concert in Baltimore. To celebrate their anniversary, the couple decided to hear the band play again.
“I’ve always liked O’Malley from living in Maryland,” said Dipeppe, who now lives in D.C. and works at a marketing firm. “But when I found out that he played music, I became an even bigger fan of his.”
She then took a selfie with the former governor.
Paris Bienert, a 22 year-old recent George Washington University graduate who lives in Baltimore says she’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton, but wants to get more involved with Maryland politics and came with a friend for networking purposes. Unfortunately, she said, most people at the event seemed to know each other already, so no one was talking to strangers.
“They seem super into Martin O’Malley,” said Bienert, adding that a lot of the attendees appeared to be affiliated with the PAC or to have worked for his gubernatorial administration.
Brad Queisser, 53, worked for the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton years, and said he was at the PAC event because he’s a “big fan of Martin O’Malley.”
“My best friend used to work for O’Malley and I’ve gotten to know him over the last years,” Queisser said. “Whether he runs for president or not, the things he’s done for Maryland are the things I care about nationally.”