Saturday, May 10, 2008
The Unpronounceable - The Unthinkable Farewell Show, The Funhouse, 5/09/08
There's a hole in the musical universe this morning. After ten years of perfecting a totally unique form of music they call countrifunked jazzabilly, The Unpronounceable hung up their spurs last night after performing one final killer show at the Funhouse in Bethelehem, PA. If you're not already familiar with The Unpronounceable, start the below song from their recent double live album, Songs for the Long Drive Home (2007), and read this description from their website.
Listen to "I Don't Think So"
IT'S THE UNPRONOUNCEABLE!
They’re the ass-kicking, money-maker-shaking love child of old, new, borrowed, & blue – a long-awaited tribute to those lost years when Elvis sang Hank Williams tunes with Black Sabbath while Duke & Satchmo called out the changes. They call it COUNTRIFUNKED JAZZABILLY, but it’s really just what rock & roll would’ve been if it hadn’t wasted all that time on hairspray. Grown out of the hinters of Northeastern Pennsyltucky circa 1997,
THE UNPRONOUNCEABLE landed on the Greater New York Metropolitan music scene just in time to remind everyone that it’s OK to sing, dance, and spit single-malt bourbon into an open fire. Armed with three guitars, a banjo, a piano, a trap kit and an upright bass fiddle, these four handsome fellows have swapped instruments in front of audiences at such venues as Kenny’s Castaways, The C-Note, Meow Mix, Le Bar Bat, The Pussycat Lounge, Arlene Grocery, CB’s Gallery, The Lizard Lounge, Otto's Shrunken Head, and Makor, as well as a host of northeast universities.
Comprised of members Pete Gustavson (guit-fiddle, bass-fiddle, croons), Dan Kinsley (ivories, guit-fiddle, bass-fiddle), Adam Gustavson (guit-fiddle, bass-fiddle) and Matt Scheller (updated) (skins & cymbals), the unpronounceable (who've borrowed the souls of some of rock & roll’s greatest founding members) continue to stun and amaze everyone lucky enough to see them perform.
Pete & Dan
The Unpronounceable totally tore it up last night at the Funhouse, the band firing on all cylinders. The three sets were filled with the originals and cover songs that comprise everything that this fine band does best. The Funhouse was jam packed with fans, friends and family, and all were dancing and singing, celebrating and lamenting, the joy tempered with the reality that this would be it for the foreseeable future.
Pete kept the breakup jokes popping between every song, offering slight but welcome relief from the elephant in the room while the band played on like there was no tomorrow. At one point Pete dedicated a song to his lovely wife and their sweet baby on the way and then took a moment to speculate as to whether it would turn out to be a sweet baby or an asshole. Some guy in the audience offered the helpful thought that being an asshole skips a generation prompting Pete to say "we're safe then".
The list of highlights is as long as the set list, but "Folsom Prison" and "Summertime" closed the first set in fine style with a couple of classic Unpronounceable covers.
Listen to "Summertime"
Autograph signing mid-set.
Closing out the second set, Adam's signature take on Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" sounded especially great; how cool would it have been if The Unpronounceable's version had been used in the new Iron Man movie? He then hit such a groove with his lead on "Ugly" that you just didn't want the song or the set (or the band) to end.
Listen to "Iron Man"
Listen to "Ugly"
"If we knew y'all cared so much we would have broken up years ago."
Thanks to the Funhouse for being the Unpronounceable's home in the Lehigh Valley, and for the hardest working bar waitress ever. Thanks to the Franklin Tavern where Songs for the Long Drive Home was recorded, for being the Unpronounceable's home in north Jersey, and to the bartender there for bringing in all that pizza.
Thanks to the Gustavsons, Adam and Pete, their wives, parents, extended family, and friends for making every show seem like a house party and for making strangers like me feel like part of the family even though I only just met you for the first time a year ago. And thanks to Dave from Direct Current for bringing me along to those shows at the Franklin last year.
Thanks to Adam for his multi-instrumental talent, especially the jazz guitar, the lap steel and the banjo. Thanks to Pete for his multi-instrumental talent, especially the incredible energy of his rhythm guitar, his throwback vocal style and the hat. Thanks to Dan for his multi-instrumental talent including some really exquisite lead guitar work. And thanks to Matt for anchoring the whole thing from behind his drum kit and rocking the house every time out.
Thanks to the crowd who packed every square inch of the Funhouse last night for the send off. Thanks to the girl next to me who danced and sang every song; enthusiasm like that raises the whole thing up a notch. Thanks even to the big guy who kept calling for shots, I think he spoke for us all when at one point he bellowed "Viva los Beefalos!!!". And thanks above all to the band for ten years of great music and uncountable great nights when they'd play live. Don't wait too long for that reunion show. Happy trails.
The Unpronounceable's recorded work is available from several sources. Start at their website's opening page where you can obtain their latest release, the double live Songs for the Long Drive Home. For reasons of royalty legalities you can now download half the album for free and the other half for ten bucks, a steal if there ever was one. Proceed on to the music page of the website where you can download four EPs for free and also link to purchase four more CDs/EPs from CD Baby or iTunes.
Songs for the Long Drive Home (2007)
The Unpronounceable's myspace.
The Unpronounceable's website.