The Asylum Street Spankers
What? And Give Up Show Biz? (Yellow Dog)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 7, 2008
The Asylum Street SpankersWhat? And Give Up Show Biz? (Yellow Dog)
Summing up 14 years of Spankdom, What? And Give Up Show Biz? is an audacious double live disc. Recorded during a two-week stint at the Barrow Street Theatre in NYC, it shows off the local troupe's brand of 21st century vaudeville in all its glory. That means 1920s blues rubs up against 1950s R&B as the Spankers cavort with current culture references like "Winning the War on Drugs" and an almost bluegrass update of Black Flag's "TV Party." In keeping with the "let's put on a blowout" experience, between-song banter is included, exposing a sense of humor many thought died with the Marx Brothers. As always, lead vocalist Christina Marrs charms the pants off her audiences, especially on a smoldering "Breathin'," while the band, led by Wammo and Stanley Smith, remains dexterous and inventive. YouTube phenomenon and anti-war comment "Stick Magnetic Ribbons on Your SUV," included as a bonus, makes this a listen longtime fans are sure to find rib-tickling.