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all words: Colin Wilhelm, press photos by: Benjamin C. Tankersley

Poor But Sexy plays the kind of music that inspires vibrant and eclectic descriptions. Most seem to land on a combination of yacht rock, R & B, and funk, spiced with post-punk guitar riffs and sensibilities and whatever else they need on a song to make it worthy of some boots knockin’. Basically they sound like the geeky kid in large-rimmed glasses at a bar mitzvah or middle school dance who loved the Commodores, Prince, and Barry White and spent an embarrassing amount of time dancing and singing to them in public, but eventually honed the music and style he started out foreign to without losing his nerdish identity. It’s a hodgepodge sound that occasionally can be a little undercooked, but more often than not yields near-brilliant results that endear them to your ear.

No song exemplifies that more than the criminally not-a-hit “Cherry Delicious”, which infuses an earwig synth riff, terrific funk bass lines, a go-go beat and David Brown’s cleverly crafted lyrics. Likewise on the wonderfully titled “Hotter Than a Poptart”, which comes straight from PBS’ yacht rock roots.

What PBS does works largely because of its earnestness; they could constantly wink at the crowd and be ironic, since their influences are largely from an era (the late 70s early 80s) appreciated in an ironic fashion, justifiably so. But they commit fully, making them unabashedly fun rather than smarmy. During the show Brown would often sling his guitar back like Prince while singing, and danced his heart out while [fellow Travis Morrison Hellfighters alum] bassist Brandon Kalber, guitarist Jason Caddell, keyboardist David Durst, and drummer Brue Falconer all played their brand of ‘neRd & B’ expertly.

Though PBS (mostly) downplays any ironic posing, this doesn’t make them self-serious. Brown vamped with the small Black Cat-Backstage crowd throughout the set, and hilariously shrugged off guitarist Jason Caddell’s temporary forgetfulness of the opening guitar riff of “Dong Pills”.  “I’ve been really busy lately!” Caddell shouted, “I swear this never happens to me!” Anytime you have trouble performing a song about impotency, as was pointed out, dick jokes will abide.