The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

The Deadly Gentlemen rock the house

 

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Dominick Leslie jousts the rest of the Deadly Gentlemen with his protruding mandolin and Stash Wyslouch concentrates on raking his acoustic guitar as Greg Liszt takes the gangsta lean on the banjo. Alongside, Sam Grisman plucks the upright bass stentoriously and Mike Barnett fiddles aggressively until the final bow.

It was a night not like most any other as the crowd took their seats at the K.M. Rae Building a Nov. 7. It wasn’t even dark and stormy as I stood there with grass-stains on my jeans, corn cob pipe in one hand, chewing on a stalk of wheat as the Deadly Gentlemen charmed me with their obstreperous blend of unplugged folk and spoken lyric. Not that they couldn’t or didn’t sing melodically along with the strumming, plucking and stroking. But there was some significant talking and not in a bad way. The rapport with the words was pretty evenly distributed between Greg Lizst, Stash Wyslouch, Dominick Leslie and Mike Barnett. Sam Grisman remained somewhat enigmatic uttering a few sentences.

The band, presently based in Boston, Mass., has quite the pedigree. Some members have toured with musicians of significance including Bruce Springstreen and Dave Grisman and others are prodigies on at least one instrument, typically the one they play on-stage. Their claims to epic folk and grasscore were verified throughout the combined set as those terms are appropriate descriptions of their style. However, I was expecting more strategic atonality and tactical arrhythmia based on their claims to a newfangled postmodern punk bluegrass. However, I suspect the target demographics of Seward may have skewed their set list. And maybe I was just wishing for a grasscore rendition of “Mandatory Suicide.”

The 100-chair capacity hall was occupied almost to a seat, until nearly the end when a large contingent tried their feet at some dancing. After performing the heck out of an exhaustive set of 17 epics the fab five took a bow and then began to take their leave as thunderous applause shook the hall. However, acceding to the demand of the crowd they regrouped in front of center stage for their “unplugged” encore version of the Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Gray.” Now not only were members of the crowd dancing, some were also singing along with the familiar chorus. Their faint voices could be occasionally heard, especially during that chorus, as the Deadly Gentlemen plucked their way through the latter day Grateful Dead classic.

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

The Deadly Gentlemen played in Seward Nov. 7 at the Rae Building.

After the stage show and encore, the band regrouped in the outer hall to regale the exiting crowd with some additional boot-scootin’ fare and many joyous attendees took the opportunity to purchase the Gents albums at the merch table manned by promoter Mark Teckenbrock and the band’s tour manager.

According to reviews from other Alaskan communities, audiences elsewhere were no less impressed as the Deadly Gentlemen headed to Talkeetna and Fairbanks. According to Garren Volper, they rocked their shows in Anchorage and Palmer and “word is that this evening’s Valdez show was mind blowing!”

Catch up with the band in cyberspace on Facebook or at deadlygentlemen.com. They have a significant cover of Woody Guthrie’s “All you fascists are bound to lose” on Youtube.

 

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