Welcome to the Asylum

Superficially, Asylum Street Spankers appear to be two things they are not: neo-/retro- pre-rock & roll pop/swing/whatever (remember that Lounge Nation rag from the ‘90’s?) and a zany band that does “joke-y songs” (remember the Dead Milkmen and Weird Al Yankowhasis?). Wrong—while these Texan Spankers perform ancient tunes and originals written in the style(s) of 1920s & ‘30s blues/hillbilly/pop tunes, don’t present themselves as zoot-suited hepcats and sequined dolls. While many of their songs are indeed salaciously humorous (“My Baby In The CIA,” “Everybody's Fucking But Me"), this staff at this Asylum takes care to make songs memorable, not just funny. Asylum Street Spankers get their point across with guitar, dobro, banjo, violin, clarinet, washboard, and musical saw, while Christina Marrs’ singing alternates Betty Boop cute and Billie Holiday sultry, making a swell contrast with Wammo’s redneck mock boisterousness. And get this: the instrument-juggling Spankers perform not only acoustic, but without microphones. Who needs electricity, anyway? If a Kevin Costner-type post-apocalypse scenario occurs, we already have Asylum.
Thu., March 5, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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