Material: Few words can strike as much fear in the music critic as “comedy” and “rock” when they’re placed together. Because, make no mistake about it, most of the time the results aren’t nearly as successful as the work of Spinal Tap, or even Dewey Cox. Usually, it ends up being far closer to forgotten rap-rockers the Bloodhound Gang. Which is to say, the music ends up being neither comedic nor rocking. With that in mind, the Sloppy Boys don’t do too badly at all. The three men spawned out of comedy troupe the Birthday Boys—that name might be familiar to comedy fans who recall their TV sketch show which saw them get a leg up from Better Call Saul / Mr. Show man Bob Odenkirk. So, they have pedigree, and a few great tunes too. Many of them are about partying, rocking and drinking, and they sound like a blend of early Beastie Boys and Andrew WK. Which isn’t a bad thing.
Musicianship: It probably shouldn’t be surprising that the trio can play well, but it kinda is. The vibe of goofiness that the trio deliberately convey can be mistaken for childish apathy—like they don’t really care about this stuff. But that’s sort of the joke—the tunes are carefully crafted, lovingly constructed, and well performed.
Performance: “Looooooong Beeeeach—the Sloppy Boys are here,” they call out with nasal tones when taking to the stage. Decked out in white and looking for all the world like yacht rockers, they blast through songs like “Here for the Beer,” “The Mastah Bong Rippah” and “Pass the Doobie” with all of the joyful enthusiasm of frat boys at the frattiest of frat parties. That’s not a dig—the trip are simultaneously goofing off and playing their music, and one isn’t getting in the way of the other. It’s a gift.
Summary: It might surprise many to learn that these Sloppy Boys have been around for a while now, and they have three albums on the shelves (or, to be more accurate these days, available to stream). Fans of the Birthday Boys should relish the chance to dive in and discover their musical project. But even those not familiar with the comedy gang will find plenty to enjoy here. Think of Andy Samberg’s SNL “On a Boat” skit, and then expand it into a full gig. If that doesn’t sound obnoxious to you, jump right in.
Alex’s Bar Long Beach, CA
Contact: [email protected]
Players: Mike Hanford, bass, vocals; Tim Kapalkis, guitar; Jeff Dutton drums