The Meat Puppets on record are a relaxed, almost indolently accomplished power trio whose first experiments in low-volume thrash went dreamy and lyrical before modulating back into a ZZ Top-with-a-life boogie sensibility. Me, I really like the dreamy stuff: Mirage, a couple albums back, had a languid, space-music feel that still entrances. When I listen to it, I think of dance music for heavy, low-lying animals–turtles, maybe–on a planet without much gravity. Which is to say that it threatens to be clumsy but the atmospherics render it graceful. The Meat Puppets’ newest, Monsters, leans toward the boogie, but check out “Light” and “Like Being Alive”; the band has been consistently compelling and rewarding through the 80s, and it did it all from Phoenix, a town whose previous contributions to America’s cultural life consisted of Erma Bombeck and “Family Circus.” And if you’ve never seen the band live, you should go just to say you once saw Curt Kirkwood play guitar. Tonight. 7:30 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

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