Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Hardly gentlemen



The Two Man Gentlemen Band
¡Dos Amigos, Una Fiesta!
(Serious Business)
9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29
Redlight Redlight, 745 Bennett Road


Over the course of several years, Andy Bean (four-string guitar, vocals) and Fuller Condon (string bass, vocals) — collectively the Two Man Gentlemen Band — have gone from modest New York buskers to tireless touring juggernauts.

A sepia pastiche of swing, jazz, Tin Pan Alley and rhythm & blues, their sound brims with shuffling effervescence and old-timey charm. Beyond the cute stuff, though, TMGB executes with craft, authenticity and enthusiasm.

More than just a novelty, the duo's playing and singing is studied and seasoned, enough to pass even the scrutiny of music enthusiasts. Nearly every song on ¡Dos Amigos, Una Fiesta!, their sixth album, features a passage that showcases the skill of each individual as well as their tight interplay.

Instead of simply dusting off traditional numbers, TMGB plays originals with waggish and subversive sensibility. Although couched in dapper retro showmanship, their themes are often adult, perv-y even. Like a wittier, prewar Dan Band, these wisecrackers deal in pervasive sexual innuendo ("A Gentle Stomp," "Put It in My Ear") as well as other, more overt subjects like pills ("Chocolate Milk"), pot ("Me, I Get High on Reefer") and penis ("There's Something in My Trousers").

Despite the band's name, their manner and music is probably all that's gentlemanly about these cats, who prove that you don't have to employ swear words to be dirty as shit — and that's why they might be the coolest old- time band alive.

As colorful as it is off-color, the album is a romping juggle of levity, mischief and skill. But as brightly as it bottles their flair, anything as vaudevillian as this needs to be seen live to be fully appreciated. As much a comedy routine as it is a musical one, the Gentlemen's crisp exchanges, audience interaction and period costumes make for a unique touring show.

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