Thursday, September 13, 2012
Someone once said, “Some people march to a different drummer – and some people polka.” The Internationals have been polka-ing for so long, according to their website, that when they started out, “The accordion was practically a new instrument, the saxophone was considered a novelty item (some would still say it is… ) and drum heads were still made from actual animal skins that drummers had to hunt for on their own.”
The longtime San Francisco quartet will be on hand Saturday and Sunday at the Monterey Bay Oktoberfest at The Barnyard, providing ideal background music for bratwurst munching, 64-ounce beer guzzling and, of course, dancing.
It’s possible that frontman Bobby Maggiora – also a member of the Chico Bavarian Band – was born with a tiny accordion tucked under his armpit. From “It’s a Wonderful World” to the Texas Tornados’ “A Little Bit is Better Than Nada,” he has the ability to polka-fy any song. Maggiora also can sing lead and backing vocals in multiple languages, including German and French.
The Internationals also come equipped with a secret weapon: Stevie McGinnis. The bassist/tuba player/singer can deliver one hell of a yodel. Last June when the outfit – dressed in garb best described as Swiss Alps meets Scotland, after polishing off a fifth of whisky – performed at Teske’s Germania in San Jose, McGinnis let out five minute’s worth of his “world-renowned” voice-crackling gargles during a rendition of “Cowboy Yodel.” The audience was both mesmerized and disturbed, an accomplishment for any performer.
In addition to polka, The Internationals perform waltzes, schottisches and really everything European and danceable in between. They’ve also been known to toss in some country western, rock music and blues just to keep everyone guessing – and to accurately live up to their name.
THE INTERNATIONALS perform noon-6pm Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16, at the Monterey Bay Oktoberfest at The Barnyard Shopping Village event space, 3670 The Barnyard, Carmel. $17; $65 VIP, www.oktoberfestmontereybay.com