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  • Live Review: Garfunkel and Oates – UCB, Hollywood

    Tue, 17 Feb 2009 14:05:29

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    It's hard to figure out why folk music has gotten so bad these days, but two culprits for the genre's deterioration come to mind—the Juno soundtrack and MySpace. The highly popular Juno soundtrack bleeds folk of adult emotion and replaces it with whiny high school euphemisms that could've simply been texted via Sidekick or iPhone. Plus, the movie isn't funny, and it makes Junior look like the definitive cinematic treatise on pregnancy. Meanwhile, MySpace makes it ridiculously easy for any semi-attractive girl to don an acoustic guitar and post songs about heartbreak and love. Consequentially, said semi-attractive girl can get shows at places like Hotel Café in Hollywood with less than one-thousand plays and a friends network comprised of guys that regularly hit on her at the restaurant she waitresses at. There are so many of these would-be songstresses in Los Angeles that the Hotel Café can't even hold them all anymore.

    However, with the arrival of Garfunkel and Oates, Los Angeles has finally gotten a folk duo worth listening to. Actresses Riki Lindhome (The Last House on the Left, Million Dollar Baby, The Changeling) and Kate Micucci (Scrubs) are the two multi-talented masterminds behind Garfunkel and Oates. They aren't your ordinary female folk team either. In fact, they're more like Tenacious D in flowery dresses, which is exactly what the world needs right now.

    Garfunkel and Oates closed out Upright Citizens Brigade's Valentine's Day show this past Saturday with an undeniably hilarious set. Riki makes Last House simply terrifying, but on stage she's magnetic. Prefacing the first song with, "This is a song for heterosexual couples," the duo launched into "Fuck You," a clever little ditty that oscillated between sprightly and sardonic as the girls traded vocal positions. It's one of those rare "love" songs that gets right to the point, and the combination of Riki's acoustic guitar and Kate's ukulele provided the perfect musical backdrop. However, Garfunkel and Oates' brilliance lies in their sidesplitting, satirical lyrics, which even got "Fuck You" on a recent episode of Scrubs. Next, they painted a vivid picture of every guy's worst nightmare in the form of, "I Would Never (Have Sex With You)." The song described the "friend zone" in all its gory detail, and the girls' vocal interplay sizzled with a devilish sense of rejection. Riki had the maracas going throughout, and that percussive palette proved infectious.

    Their last song really struck a chord with the audience. Riki described it as "a medley of the worst songs on the radio when we were growing up." At that point, Garfunkel and Oates shredded through a speedy acoustic tapestry of embarrassingly unforgettable singles from Third Eye Blind, Sixpence None the Richer, Color Me Badd, Donna Lewis, Aqua, Deep Blue Something and a gaggle of other one-hit wonders that the world has since forgotten. The crowd couldn't stop laughing as the songs were seamlessly integrated with each other. It felt like scanning the radio airwaves back in 1997 but with an acoustic flair. The two left the stage victorious, eliciting the biggest laughs of the entire night without missing a note.

    If laughter is the best medicine, then Garfunkel and Oates are the perfect cure for the state of modern folk and pretty much any other genre that's sliding deeper into the abyss. It's easy to love them, even if it's not Valentine's Day.

    They are way better than anything from Juno

    —Rick Florino

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