The Balancing Act’s calm, cool, and collected appearance belies an almost hysterical amalgam of textures and influences rioting beneath the acoustic surface. Steely Dan rhythms appear in one song, Flying Burrito Brothers harmonies in the next. Similarly, as soon as you have one lyrical fixation pegged–floors, roofs, and furniture figure prominently on the group’s new record, Curtains–much more complicated and abstract issues soon surface in songs like “Learning How to Cheat.” And just when you have the band pegged as a quieter and less threatening version of the Woodentops, multiinstrumentalist Willie Aron lets loose with a very threatening guitar solo. Live, the group democratically lines up on the front of the stage and tries energetically to demonstrate the rhythmic authority of acoustic guitars and drums. They make a strong case. Tonight, 7:30 and 11 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Stephen Danelian.