Review: Asylum Street Spankers | Rock Candy

Friday, June 9, 2006

Review: Asylum Street Spankers

Posted on Fri, Jun 9, 2006 at 1:02 PM

We attended the Asylum Street Spankers show last night at Sticky Fingerz. Remember those old, re-run cartoons you would watch during the day …”Merry Melodies”? It was a string-band "Merry Melody"-type show with adult themes like wacky tobacc-y, opinions on the current war, folks that watch TV as opposed to conversate, New Orleans (Sick, the mandolin and fiddle player resides there) some gospel (“Jesus Walk on the Water” cover by the Violent Femmes counts, we think). It was bawdy, in a PG-13 way.

Christina Marrs is an incredible vocalist and instrumentalist, singing sexy like a dishy blonde form the 1930s or as soulful as turbaned lady atop a piano. Mahalia Jackson would be proud. It seemed strange that such soulful sounds come out of her, as bored as she seemed. But, that’s part of the act, and it works. Or maybe she is bored. Whatever the reason. she’s the “straight man” with a bone-dry sense of humor, reminding me one of my particularly sarcastically funny aunts with an I.Q. of 150.

“Wammo,” the male lead vocalist, would narrate the songs, standing beforehand in a sort of soliloquy, and then back into the band formation, where the sextet would burst into lively, string band song. He provided washboard as well, donning some pretty creepy looking Freddy Krueger gloves.

Another attendee described the show as simply “Leon Redbone meets Jack Black meets Saturday morning cartoons meets classic Americana.” It was one of the most enjoyable, original acts we've seen all year.-AmyB
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