Groups led by Japanese women–from slick popsters Pink Lady to punk rockers Shonen Knife–usually play it cute. Not Cibo Matto. The New York-based, Japanese-born duo–whose name is Italian for “food crazy,” inspired by the 70s B-grade comedy Seso matto (“Sex Crazy”)–celebrates food and sex through its polymorphously perverse raps with a gleeful hedonism that’s a million miles from the ethos of Hello Kitty. Vocalist Miho Hatori’s fractured English lends her tales of “White Pepper Ice Cream” and “Beef Jerky” a surreal air reinforced by Yuka Honda’s Beastie Boys-inspired, genre-hopping samples. The group’s recent appearance opening for Boss Hog at the Metro didn’t live up to the promise of their splendid album Viva! la Woman, stumbling over an obstacle that’s the bane of most rap groups: it just isn’t that exciting to watch someone sing along to a bunch of keyboard-triggered samples. But this show should be better: last time their energy level increased exponentially when they were joined for one song by the main act’s rhythm section, and this time they’re bringing their own. Also performing is Run On, an incomparable quartet whose newly released album Start Packing is the first record to come close to their terrific live shows. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

Bill Meyer

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