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The Two Man Gentlemen Band at Cous Cous 

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Big ups to local DJ Chris Bopst for turning me on to this highly entertaining vaudevillian swing band featuring lots of smoking kazoo work, old country/ragtime and snappy hot jazz. Ecstatic live performers from New York, the duo of Andy Bean (plectrum banjo, vocals, lead kazoo, piano) and Fuller Condon (double bass, vocals, tenor kazoo, guitar) learned by playing Central Park that it's generally wiser to keep the momentum of their Tin Pan Alley-inspired music at a furious modern pitch.

On their third album, "Heavy Petting," these happy-go-lucky fellers tackle everything from starry-eyed love songs to tunes about Prohibition and badminton ("smack the bird!"). The album starts with a joyous ode to a former chubby president, "William Howard Taft," that instantly proves these are street-hucksters you'd love to have play your party: smart musicianship, semi-dorky (almost nasal) vocals, and humorous lyrics filled with clever double entendres -- often of a good-natured sexual variety -- combine for a glorious retro sound made new. It's hard to resist such rowdy, free-natured playing, especially when it involves cool songs with math references ("my love is like the square root of two"), dipping sauce ("can't eat your meat without it"), or "Unicycle Blues," the story of a lover's quarrel involving a tandem bicycle and a hacksaw ("left me with the unicycle blues … I fall down after one rotation.") They play Cous Cous Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. with guest Curtis Eller. Free. 358-0868.
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