In order to be cool in high school, according to BloodHag lead singer J.B. Stratton, “you had to ignore everything and not read.” That didn’t sit right with him, and in 1995 he and a friend, J.M. McNulty, formed BloodHag, a self-proclaimed “edu-core” band that mixes the cheesiest aspects of speed, grind, and death metal with Reading Rainbow-style advocacy. Wearing crisp white button-down shirts, black ties, thick glasses, and red Converse sneakers, the quartet of thirtysomethings throws books at the audience while ripping off Sepultura and Brujeria licks and growling like Dobermans. The idea is to convince burnouts who like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Blue Oyster Cult, and Rush–bands that bit ideas and lyrics from sci-fi, fantasy, and horror authors–that “read” is as cool a four-letter word as the ones they don’t let you say in school. All BloodHag’s songs are about authors, mostly sci-fi, and the words are purposely unintelligible–if you could make out what Stratton was singing, after all, there’d be no impetus to read the lyrics. (The first line of “Kurt Vonnegut” is “Along with Asimov, he’s on a list of the most gifted Secular Humanists in history.”) The band performs at an all-metal edition of Rusty Nails’s “Movieside” series. Pelican headlines; Behold! the Living Corpse, Knuckel Drager, and Summer Dying (see Spot Check) round out the bill. Brad Vanderberg’s film The Faster You Go Deaf, the More Time You Have to Read, named for the 2001 BloodHag tour it documents (they almost exclusively played libraries), will be shown. Saturday, May 3, 5 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700. BloodHag also performs Friday at 4 PM, Niles Public Library, 6960 Oakton, Niles; 847-663-1234.

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