Folks who haven't found much to laugh at lately might find a tonic in a trip to Frederick's Music Lounge this Friday. No one, no matter how ill-humored, should resist the cathartic purge of Hee-Haw gone bad offered by the Meat Purveyors. Frontwoman Jo Walston belts out whatever lyrics the band proposes, showcasing an ability to turn a potential musical disaster (say, when Frederick's overtaxed wiring pierces ears) into an opportunity for improvisation. And she isn't up there alone. Cherilyn diMond's tomboy charms complement Walston's glam ones, and diMond croons and bays from behind her bass as if the full moon itself inspired her yodelings. The boys may sit in back, but Pete Stiles hot-rods numbers such as the superfast "Trucker's Speed," and guitarist Bill Anderson's apparent mellowness is belied by his responsibility for some of the band's most inspired lyrics, including the paranoid-schizophrenic "I Have a Devil in Me."
But it's their drinking songs that offer the best chance of escaping that free-floating ennui. Like the finest tributes to the bottle out there, these remind us of the sheer joy of reveling in self-pity: "When I'm not drinking, I'm thinking about drinking/And when I'm not thinking, I'm drinking about you." Guaranteed to lighten up even the sternest-visaged among us, the Meat Purveyors provide enough pure sensory overload to batter back whatever bummed you out to begin with.