Pat McCurdy: Pat in Person, Vol. 2
by Adam McKibbin
"St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, said it came to me upon a midnight clear," sings Pat McCurdy. In front of him, an audience of twenty-somethings (and underaged college students with fake IDs) puts down their domestic drafts and cheers, ready to finish the lyric...and break into the dance that accompanies it.
"I've finished writing all of my gospels / Now all I seem to want is sex and beer."
The gospel according to Pat McCurdy...and the crowd goes crazy. The crowd often goes crazy for Pat. They hoot and holler. They hop on stage to do silly dances, to win T-shirts, to be given lunch meat. During breaks in the action, the troubadour is presented with shot after shot by his adoring fans. Those who haven't seen the show ("Pat virgins") find themselves singing harmony by the end of songs.
The beauty of McCurdy, as captured in his live disc Pat in Person Vol. 2, is that it's a good ol' drunken time, but is clever instead of cheap. It helps that McCurdy can flat out sing. His rich voice is an asset to every song. And he can play, too, often relying only on the quick strumming of his acoustic guitar (with Mike Sieger hopping on bass guitar for the songs recorded at Summerfest).
But the real hook comes in the lyrics, which operate on much the same level as The Simpsons. You laugh at different things each time you listen. On the other hand, even the village idiot can come enjoy the show, do the dances, and sing insanely catchy choruses like "All I ever eat/Is Chinese food" and the aforementioned "Sex & Beer/Sex & Beer/Are the two things we hold dear."
The songs touch upon more than just sex (although it comes up a few times throughout the album). And even the McCurdy signature "Sex & Beer" references Dostoevsky and Marc Antony. Other songs are the songs you always wanted to write about those people you've come across in your life who just have a special way of pissing you off ("Thankless Bastard", "Everyone's A Whore").
In Pat's hands, the line "Tonight I wanna ruin my life/I wanna throw it all away/In a spectacular way" ("Ruin My Life") is made boisterous and celebratory. Few can make bad ideas sound so temptingly good.
McCurdy doesn't hide behind the joker's guise, though. He continually shows himself as a vulnerable romantic. One of the best tracks on the album, "Will You Ever Learn?", starts as an indictment of a woman who doesn't know her ass from a hole in the ground (his words). The audience eats up the part about the French porno and how "You know what happens next / Miss PG-13 is Miss Triple-X." But the song ends with a frustrated admission of love, a promise of forgiveness.
The raucous anthem "Sex & Beer" is sandwiched by "I Don't Want To Go Home" and "Say Goodbye To Yesterday," reminders that all good things must unfortunately come to pass. In summation, he leaves us with "Life goes on / And that's a miracle / A modern day miracle." This is music for both the celebration and the consequence.
Spanning 15 diverse songs, Pat in Person Vol. 2 is the best introduction to McCurdy, short of seeing him in concert (look for him at Summerfest underneath the gigantic inflated pig's head on the Piggly Wiggly stage). Seeing Pat in person will leave you laughing and feeling great, one arm draped around an old friend, the other draped around someone you've just met. While the album isn't a substitute, it will at least leave you smiling and feeling good...a modern day miracle in itself.
Listen to selected tracks (including Sex & Beer), read lyrics, buy bumper stickers and order albums at http://www.patmccurdy.com