Cash-strapped: Gibbs group worth every penny

C. Gibbs and the Cardia Bros.
at Miller's
Friday, May 24

"Strap-ons" and "weird-ass pets" were just some of the topics covered in the unusually hilarious inter-song dialogue thrown out by C. Gibbs and the Cardia Bros. at Miller's Saturday night. Thankfully (for readers as well as for me), this show wasn't canceled like last week's, so there was actually some purpose to my drowning my sorrows in vodka tonics– I was on the job.

C. Gibbs and the Cardia Bros., a mildly "Cash-ish" (or Johnny-Cash-like) country-rock band from New York City, were the act of the night, and for the hour I saw them perform they definitely warranted my full attention.

C. Gibbs and the Cardia Bros. is a four-man outfit, with the usual two guitar, bass, and drums set up. Gibbs is (as you'd suspect from the name) the group's frontman, singing, playing lead guitar, and generally yucking it up with the audience in the relaxed manner being a good frontman requires.

After setting up for a few minutes, the group launched into their first tune, an overtly countyish number with a quick beat. Gibbs is an impressive vocalist, his full-bodied voice reminiscent of a more masculine Chris Isaak (of the song "Wicked Game" fame), though at times he did make use of a quirky and all-together pleasing falsetto-­ these parts were similar more to Radiohead's Thom Yorke's vocal stylings than anything else.

Though the first song's chorus appeared to be based on a grammatical mistake– "I only want to see smile on your face" ("Where is the "a"?" my grammar Nazi kept screaming)it's still a great little number.

Gibbs brought out the harmonica (with a neck holder) for the next tune, a more up-tempo rocker, though it was still a little bleak. It did feature one of the most amazing choruses I've heard, part-falsetto, with a lead guitar backing it note-for-note– it really was a piece of work, and revealed Gibbs as quite an accomplished songwriter.

"Straps and Chains" (the title of which led to the above-mentioned "and Strap-on's" comment) went something like, "In straps and chains /They're taking her away/ On a stretcher of white...", apparently relating the story of a lover's slide into mental illness. The content of this song, caught phrases on others, and Gibbs' playful tone when conversing with the audience made me wish I could follow more of Gibbs' lyrics, but as is too often the case, this was semi impossible due to the limitations of live shows.

C. Gibbs and the Cardia Bros.-­ worth every one of the 400 pennies I used to pay the cover. I would even have chipped in another 100.