Asylum Street Spankers

This is it, then. After nearly 17 years and more than 50 members, the Asylum Street Spankers are folding up their all-acoustic shop for good, but not before one last Houston tussle with that demon electricity on the "Spanks for Everything!" farewell tour. However many Spankers were onstage (it's seven now), the group displayed a remarkable versatility in its music, where ragtime, Tin Pan Alley, gypsy jazz, country blues and "secular gospel" — the theme of the Spankers' most recent disc, last year's God's Favorite Band — were just the tip of the iceberg. Lyrically, front woman and sole remaining original Spanker Christina Marrs's voice was hot enough to melt tin on "Shave 'Em Dry" from the group's X-rated Nasty Novelties EP; about a decade later, NPR named 2007's Mommy Says No! the No. 2 family album of the year. In between came everything from the multiple odes to marijuana on 1999's Spanker Madness to a two-week off-Broadway run in New York and more than a million YouTube views for the anti-Iraq war clip "Stick Magnetic Ribbons on Your SUV." How the Spankers are going to bundle up such a prolific and eclectic career into two 90-minute sets is anyone's guess, but if anyone can do it, it would be them, and we can promise you it won't be boring.


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