Dirty Pickles spice up Rathskeller

Frontman Matty Boland of Matty B and the Dirty Pickles introduced the band’s blend of rockabilly, or ‘picklebilly,’ ’50s sound to the Rat. (Photo courtesy of Jane Howell)
Frontman Matty Boland of Matty B and the Dirty Pickles introduced the band’s blend of rockabilly, or ‘picklebilly,’ ’50s sound to the Rat. (Photo courtesy of Jane Howell)

Matty Boland, frontman of the trio Matty B and the Dirty Pickles, begins one of his band’s original songs with a jubilant shout — “Get on up! It’s Pickle time!”

Students heeded the singer’s command Friday night during the College Union Board (CUB) sponsored 1950s style band’s performance at the Rathskeller.

The band had been billed on posters advertising the event as a “high-energy assault of ’50s music.” Though its music could be more aptly described as a loving tribute than as an assault, there was no question that the band delivered on the first half of the pledge.

Introducing themselves as “the Dirty Pickles from Erie, Pa.,” the band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Matty Boland (Matty B), drummer Dave Schroeder (Dig !t Dave) and bassist Ben Roemer (Ben Jammin’). The band launched the show with an enthusiastic original song that implored listeners to get up from their seats and dance.

Though students didn’t react immediately, the band’s playful, infectious melodies and rhythm soon changed their minds.

ratSampling heavily from its first album, “Picklebilly,” as well as the so-far unnamed new album, the band offered up a healthy share of original material, as well as several well-timed covers. Among the most popular with the Rat crowd were two of Elvis’s hits “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Hound Dog,” as well as the “Monster Mash.”

“We learned it in time for the holiday,” joked Boland.

The Pickles’ spirited cover of Gene Vincent’s 1956 hit “Be Bop a Lula,” saw almost everyone in the audience on their feet. A large group formed in front of the stage, dancing, bopping and swinging to the music.

In addition to Boland’s irresistibly energetic voice, dipping and lurching upward over the music’s many stylistic beats, the singer also put on a show in every sense of the word. He ventured into the audience, playing his electric guitar close to delighted students, jumped off the stage and balanced on the partitioned border between sections of the Rat, walking and hopping one on leg as he sang.

Jared Turner, Rat employee, had never seen anything like it.

“It was awesome,” he said. “The energy was great. We’ve probably had one group here that had the same level of energy. It was definitely a fun show. And I’ve never seen anyone walk across the border like he did.”

Students echoed the sentiment, commenting on the exuberance of the band’s performance.

Nat Sowinski, freshman international studies major, compared the show’s energy level to other performances she’d been to and couldn’t find an equivalent. “I haven’t been to as energetic a concert as this in a long time,” she said.