I thought I would never ever want to hear another one of those quirky Amvets-dressed, North Carolina-based rock acts again, but I changed my mind recently after seeing Fetchin Bones whip up a dance groove far more powerful than their LPs would lead you to expect. Mind you, their forte is not the cold, hard machine beat that only feels good when you’re mad at the world, nor is it exactly that funky James Brown-inspired fatback rhythm. It’s rock and roll, a frenetic chock-a-block pulse dressed up in fuzzy guitar, all of which functions as a perfect setting in which Fetchin Bones’ frontperson and secret weapon, Hope Nicholls, can gyrate and snarl in a manner that suggests a cross between Patti Smith and Janis Joplin. Nicholls is no virtuoso but she does demonstrate what it means to front a band, to dominate it onstage, to provide a real visual and aural focus without being unduly contrived. And when the kick drum grows louder and the guitar player gets on his wah-wah pedal and Nicholls starts screaming about how she just wants to drink some wiiiiine, it is possible to find yourself slipping into a mutant version of the Mashed Potatoes, even if the more rational side of your brain keeps screaming, “No!” Tonight, 7:30 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

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