An Urge for The Urge

By William Brents

I've experienced a few free-for-all party bands in my day and in all honesty I can't recall a more masterful scene in creating good-time mayhem and laughter than The Urge provoked at Tewligans on Jan. 15.

Based in St. Louis, this seven-man band managed to elude the typical funk sound which plagues so many by incorporating touches of reggae, punk and a healthy dose of ska.

Any band that writes songs about playing golf and drinking beer is right up my alley, so when they launched into this particular song I found myself laughing out loud and loving every minute of it. I also got a kick out of their take on "Sweet Home Alabama," which they dubbed "Sweet Home Jamaica."

The last time The Urge performed at Tewligans they received total crowd participation — A MUST! And, luckily, this crowd was just as eager to fling their bodies against one another's and, of course, do the pogo dance when vocalist Steve Ewing insisted. Ewing, a vigorous entertainer, spent most of the set gleefully bouncing off the walls, rolling on the floor, and stage diving into the arms of his beloved fans.

When it comes to fashion, The Urge spares no cost. Sporting winter hats and boxer shorts, the band — especially the horn section — was a visual treat, as was the neon cardboard city they used for their backdrop.

The Urge's stage antics are clearly goofy and their material is somewhat juvenile, but when they turn the energy up and lock into an epic groove, well that is indeed all that matters.

Guitarist Pat Malecek was hard to see but easy to hear, thanks to his loud electric guitar. From simple bombastic bar chords to fast, funky riffs, Malecek was on target.

I've seen The Urge twice now, and I've noticed they always start out hot, then hit a small lull — during which I momentarily lose interest — and then in true party-band tradition, they rediscover that scorching momentum and carry it to the sweaty, insane end.