Now that "tired of punk" twentysomethings with PBR breath are buying up all the used accordions, it's a no-brainer that the neo-cabaret and Southern-gothic sub-genres have usurped the late-'90s revival of swing and big-band music. With Andrew Bird, Gogol Bordello and Dresden Dolls all walking the tightropes of public radio, Hollywood and Seventeen magazine, can Rochester, New York's Lobster Quadrille preserve its integrity?
Originally hailing from Rome, Ga., evangelical frontman Solomon Blaylock brings religious enlightenment to every performance. But he isn't spouting off Bible-Belt banter merely to impress freshman goths who just discovered "that one Flannery O'Connor lady." Blaylock's a born-and-raised Jehovah's Witness, and a Lobster Quadrille show is more a revival than a rock concert, set amid an urban landscape of banjos and washboards.
Whether you listen to its latest EP, Southern Apologist, or stand in the choir that is preached upon, The Lobster Quadrille offers true-to-life tales of love, death, sex, drugs and divorce, and the gospel of a truly tortured soul. Its haunted gospel sound hints at mood-setters like Johnny Cash, Dame Darcy and Nick Cave, while maintaining the charge of Devo, The Sonics and Manchester post-punk.
What used to be Blaylock's solo project is now a seven-piece band -- one musician for each sin -- with tight rhythms led by bassist and producer Kevin Ferrell and an actual foley section of percussionists. So if you feel like going to church and leaving with ringing ears, The Lobster Quadrille just might be the sect you've been looking for. You are healed!
The Lobster Quadrille with Daryl Fleming & The Private Sector and Erin & Evan. 9 p.m. Sat., June 23. Thunderbird Café, 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net