Although the Dead Milkmen obviously know–just as well as any band of melodramatic gloom-and-doom bozos you could name–that life is in large part a big crock, they take the eminently healthy course of poking fun at it instead of moaning and groaning and making ugly noises to the robotic beat of a machine (check out “You’ll Dance to Anything,” their scathing send-up of black-clad “modern dance music” types). This alone would make the Milkmen priceless, but there’s more: once you get past the uncompromising nonsinging style of frontman Rodney Anonymous, you find this Philly-based crew has an effortless knack for cranking out catchy, riffy, pithily melodic two-minute chunks of smartass rock ‘n’ roll (evident not only on the new LP, Bucky Fellini, but all over the group’s 1986 masterpiece Eat Your Paisley!). If you called them “artists,” they’d probably be offended, but it’s fascinating to observe how the Milkmen are able to display such mature intelligence and craftsmanship, all while continuing to act very much like kids. Tonight, 7:30 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

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