Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Concert Review: The Inbreeds at Freddy’s, Brooklyn NY 10/24/08

One of the funniest shows of the year by one of New York’s funniest bands. The Inbreeds’ raison d’etre is poking fun at the right wing, usually (but not always) with parodies of country songs. This show saw the quartet broadening their comedic spectrum considerably, although the jokes were as good as always. Characteristically, there was a lot of tongue-in-cheek homoerotic banter between the two singers, Neil the drummer and Chris the guitarist (who also doubled ably on banjo on a couple of numbers), playing the part of macho hicks with a thing for double entendre…and each other. One of the reasons why this band is so funny is that they know their source material so well: the humor is pretty savage, but it’s obvious they have an affinity for the music. After a bizarre opening tune called Party Box (a New Jersey thing, maybe? Hard to figure out what that was all about), Chris went deep into his low baritone for Becky, a parody of a cheating song. “Every night I whisper words of love into your ear,” the philandering husband tells his wife, “Becky only gets to hear me grunt.”

 

The high point of the night was Unfurled. It’s a howl, a dead-on spoof of a patriotic song. In this one, the singer looks forward to the day when “there’s a Fourth of July parade all over the world,” that all the children “with their blue eyes and golden curls” can look forward to. And they’ll be doing their patriotic duty, working for less than the Chinese in a new golden era where a 40-hour work week gets you part-time pay, where people get picked up by the cops if they look anything like “the enemy in the war.”

 

Neil was all excited about an important event coming up in the near future, specifically, Halloween. So the band launched into a strange epic called Pumpkin Man, accordionist Annette Kudrak’s tongue-in-cheek gypsy melody eerily swirling behind the stentorian vocals. A hooded figure came out of the audience and handed a scroll to Chris, who slowly unwound it, blowing what seemed a whole bottle’s worth of baby powder from inside it. “May I?” he asked sarcastically.

 

“Just don’t blow any more shit off of it,” implored an audience member as the smell of Johnson & Johnson permeated the room. Chris then recited something arcane that made no sense at all and then the band wrapped it up.

 

Finally, Kudrak put down her accordion and came out front with a keytar slung over her shoulder like a guitar, in a wooden case with a handle fashioned to look like a horse’s head. As she swayed and launched into a warm, pretty series of chords, power-ballad style, she couldn’t help cracking a smile as Chris sang another romantic song, Clydesdale Lady, about the big filly with whom he’d like to create a race of centaurs. Another of the evening’s high points was Homeland, a simple recitation of the names of cities and towns from around the country (nice to see King of Prussia followed by Kennebunkport) that goes on and on, hypnotically, until all of a sudden you realize that the names they’re using have suddenly become pretty crazy (yes, they did namecheck Intercourse, PA). The phony outlaw epic Peckerwood County Justice, a staple of their live show, was as boisterously amusing as always. The night’s only drawback was when their closer Puppydog Amen (which has only two words, “puppydog amen”) went on and on for what seemed five minutes while some annoying drunk yahoo in the back wouldn’t stop whistling: a minute and maybe just one false ending is all that one needs, max.

 

As well-loved as the Inbreeds are as a live band, where they really ought to be is in a Broadway theatre. With the way the political climate has changed, the Inbreeds’ satire could be the next Urinetown. Any ambitious producers out there?

October 27, 2008 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, New York City, Reviews | , , , ,

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