Two Man Gentleman Band performs at Brick Street Tavern Friday
By Sarah Hall
Two Man Gentleman Band will be paying Salisbury a second visit Friday night, appearing at Brick Street Tavern.
Last year they came to The Blue Vine and performed accompanied by flu and fevers. Bassist Fuller Condon had no voice at all. But they managed to prop themselves up, give everyone kazoos and entertain for over an hour before being rescued by their opener Pokey La Farge, who returned to the stage to finish out the evening.
Illness did not dull the wit of singing banjoist Andy Bean who kept the audience laughing with songs that were both entertaining and educational, subjects including the square root of two, the Hindenburg disaster and a song about William Howard Taft. In between, there were songs with titles like “Heavy Petting,” “They Can’t Prohibit Love” and “On the Badminton Court.” (They keep racquets and birdies in the trunk of the car in case there’s time for a good pick-up match).
If they are that funny while in a fever-induced haze, they should be even better this time.
One might not expect two guys dressed in 1920s attire sounding like they stepped out of Tin Pan Alley to get far today in show business. But a couple weeks ago, Andy announced the following via their web site:
“Dear Friends ó Big news! The Two Man Gentleman Band is joining this summer’s Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, & John Mellencamp tour for three dates in July. No, really.”
The band The Wiyos will be opening most of the tour. But they couldn’t do three dates.
“We were on tour in England in May, and our booking agent was frantically trying to get in touch with us, Andy says, still sounding incredulous. He gives Charisma Artist Agency full credit for making it happen.
“Vaudevillian banjo music has hit the mainstream!” he proclaims.
Reminded that when he comes to Salisbury he will be in Avett Brothers territory, and so a lot of people here already think banjo is a cool instrument, he adds, “We’ve been making shows like crazy, playing almost every night. Sometimes even my ear gets tired of banjo and I have to switch off to guitar.”
Some of the songs they will be performing Friday are from the gentlemen’s fourth and latest CD, “Drip Dryin’,” which is a collection of “pure party songs” rather than the more historical fare on other recordings. The songs in this most recent collection were inspired by, and largely written for, rowdy bar crowds.
Even though it’s recorded on the Serious Business label, the songs are anything but serious, with titles like “Fancy Beer,” “Hey, Officer!” “Sloppy Drunk” and “You Make Me Swoon.”
But they haven’t abandoned their previous formula.
A song about the especially obscure President Franklin Pierce is now in the works.
The show has plenty of opportunity for audience participation. Those who come to Brick Street Tavern Friday may do the “Drip Dry” a simple dance that really only requires that you imagine yourself soaking wet.
And you’ll get to play kazoo, of course.
Will Andy give Bob Dylan a kazoo when they meet next month?
“I’d give him 1,000 kazoos,” he says, still awestruck.
The Two Man Gentleman Band will be at Brick Street Tavern, 122 E. Fisher St., Friday, 9 p.m.
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