Rocking ska-fueled funksters the Urge deliver a booty-rattling stocking stuffer Friday-Sunday nights with a pair of shows at the Pageant. A mainstay and local favorite for nearly 15 years, the sextet is built around a pair of high-school chums: Karl Grable, whose alternately supple and thundering bass riffs powered many of the bands early classics, and singer Steve Ewing, whose warm, expressive voice tackles loose rap, roaring hard rock and bouncing two-tone with equal aplomb. As is the case with many hard-touring music vets, the Urge's live shows are more successful than the records in showcasing the band's eclectic mix of horns, throbbing low-end, groovy funk bounce and insistent rock drive. The outfit's trademark ska-punk/metal funk recalls Fishbone, 311 and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but its ability to combine all its influences -- often within a single song -- makes such comparisons oversimplistic.
Last year's Too Much Stereo failed to produce a single as successful as "Jump Right In," from the band's major-label debut, Master of Styles; some critics took the band to task for relying more heavily on the rock/pop hooks, still gleaming with studio polish, than on the trademark chugging grooves. Unfortunately, we'll never know whether they've got a comeback in them: The Urge just announced that they're breaking up after these Pageant shows. Don't miss your last chance to witness first-hand such roof-raising set-closers as "It's Getting' Hectic" by the Brand New Heavies and Bob Marley's "One Love."