Sit & Die at Otto’s on March 2
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. aren’t just the Spinal Tap of pre-rockabilly Americana. They saved this blog’s publicity stunt.
They probably would have volunteered for the job if they hadn’t already been chosen for it…as a plan B.
Whether you get the trio’s innumerable inside jokes – many of them references to impossibly obscure artists or cultural memes from the 1950s and before – they’re as deadpan hilarious as they were when this blog reviewed their show at Otto’s back in September of 2011. That’s where they’ll be this March 2 at 8 PM.
Sit & Die’s shtick goes way deeper than cornpone humor. Much of what they do is a parody of artists who indulged in it, both lyrically and musically. And they’re as much of a Fringe Festival theatre act as they are a band. They wear matching vintage outfits complete with bowties that would make Dr. David Martin proud. Frontman/lead guitarist Michael McMahon (brother of the brilliant Amy Rigby) will typically launch into a joke, bat the dialogue to guitarist Mike or bassist Garth, and as the night goes on and everybody gets more liquored up there they’ll start to go off script. If they’re doing multiple sets, the last one is the one to catch.
Considering how long they’ve been together – this blog’s owner first saw them at Union Pool around the turn of the century, when they were a shockingly serious, straight-ahead oldtime C&W act – they’re tight as a drum (which they don’t have). Like a lot of acts from the cd-and-myspace era, their studio work isn’t well represented on the web, but as you would expect from such an amusing crew, there’s a ton of stuff up at youtube, including their mid-teens ep At the Brooklyn Beefsteak.
This one opens with Song of the Beefsteak, a vaguely Italian ditty whose main joke is the backing vocals – no spoilers. The musical joke in Say Mister Is That Your Cow, a western swing tune, is a pedal steel (again, no spoilers). The innuendos are a little more obvious and less outright cruel in Bop-A-Betty. The last track is Eat Drink & Be Merry My Friend, where McMahon shows off his flashy 1954-style fretwork.
And their Reverbnation page has Dig That Cazy Monkey, which is sort of a Bill Haley spoof but also an anti-imperialist broadside.
Over the years, New York Music Daily has crossed paths with Sit & Die – as their fans call them – many other times, under many different circumstances. Most importantly, there was that 2011 Otto’s show which enabled this blog to maintain a streak of writing up 23 concerts in 23 days, which ended nine days later with a new record of 32 consecutive days of concert coverage.
There was another very welcome Sit & Die show at Otto’s a couple of years later during a particularly lean period, where the band basically brought dinner. Tthey’ve been known to hand out bags of salty snacks along with period-perfect 1950s style stage props and unusual dollar-store finds.