The Rugburns’ red-hot sense of humor sets House of Blues
By Allyson Harwood
Daily Bruin Contributor
Usually you can get a pretty good idea of how to describe a
group’s music style by looking at the name of their album. The
Rugburns’ latest offering, "Taking the World by Donkey," shows
their sense of humor – something that was evident throughout their
show at the House of Blues on Jan. 30.
Starting the set with "The Ballad of Tommy & Marla," a
darkly humorous love story that ends with gunfire, and surprisingly
launching into the National Anthem for the crowd, coming down to
the floor and singing it pub-style with the audience, The Rugburns
showed the exciting versatility that has helped cultivate a strong
cult following over the past few years.
The majority of the concert consisted of material from their
latest album, along with some of their old favorites, and a brief
tribute to "Grease." Outstanding songs included, "Tree Hugger,"
with lyrics such as: "I was going to join an ad hoc committee but I
don’t know what ad hoc means/ I think it’s a special kind of rock
for stonewashed denim jeans;" and "War," a song that contains some
(but not too much) social criticism, entwined with references to
playing golf with Richard Nixon.
The type of music The Rugburns play is difficult to describe. It
does not have a category that readily falls to mind. It is both
rock, with acoustic guitar, and a little punk, as well as a little
cowboy. Steve Poltz, The Rugburns’ lead singer, describes their
concert set as, "folky, punky, poppy love songs – about shoes and
only shoes." But this doesn’t even begin to describe the music they
played this evening. The Rugburns performed everything from the
traditional rock mix, to an Irish song in which the drummer wore a
kilt. With "Doc" Driscoll’s electric guitar talents and harmonies,
Gregory Page’s bass, and "Stinky’s" unusual Bobcat Goldthwait
method of playing drums, the foursome was musically tight
throughout the show.
The Rugburns proved to be nothing but fun, keeping their
occasionally tasteless sense of humor a priority. The music they
played kept the audience moving, and the lyrics were hilarious,
with a sadistic edge. Their fun, easy-going style is sure to make
any first-time listener want to hear more.Comments to