While musicians who play "old time" music tend to be reverent toward bygone traditions, reverence is just about the last thing the Asylum Street Spankers have on their minds. An almost entirely acoustic ensemble that revisits old-timey forms and updates (read: skewers) them with a modern twist, the Spankers come off like a pair of crusty (maybe even soiled) underpants getting flung across the face of music history. Which is not to say they don't take that history or their music itself seriously. On the contrary, authenticity plays a vital role in the Spankers' act. It's the way they put that authenticity across that gives the band its unique edge. Imagine, for example, the raw intelligence of Black Flag's "TV Party," or the teenage boneheadedness of the Beastie Boys' nihilist anthem "Paul Revere" sent back in a time machine and filtered through the rural America of the late 19th and early 20th century. With covers like those alongside their own material, the Spankers walk an ultra-fine line between parody and tribute. Meanwhile, frontman Wammo's celebrations of sex, drugs, and beer a fixation that rivals those of the Replacements and Guided By Voices belie a keen sense for pointed social commentary.
Thu., Feb. 18, 9 p.m., 2010