The Selby Tigers, who rose from the ashes of another Minneapolis band you’ve probably never heard of, Lefty Lucy, play vintage Olympia-style pop that sounds like a riot at a McDonald’s birthday party: they don’t thrash so much as thrash about. Though the current players–guitarists Nathan Grumdahl and Arzu Gokcen, bassist Dave Gardner, and drummer Dave Gatchell–aren’t as outlandishly theatrical as Lefty Lucy, who used to dress up as superheroes or angels and devils, they do make a visual impression live, and Gokcen still occasionally breaks out her old Halloween costumes. But even without those devices, the Tigers’ sloppy energy and brisk drive makes them one of the most entertaining live acts in the midwest. In 1998 they documented their first year as a band with Year of the Tigers (Bread Machine); though both the songwriting and the performances are a little shaky, the EP gets over on high spirits and a strident punk lyricism that shines through layers of guitar grime. “Job Corps Riot” is a bracing snarl, while “Heartattacks” (on which Gokcen laments, “Why can’t we pick who has heart attacks?”) flies by at breakneck speed. More recent material, which will see release on seven-inch vinyl this summer, sounds tighter and sharper and moves noticeably away from the ultimately limiting kiddie aesthetic. Still, a charming go-for-broke quality remains, most clearly in the rerecorded Lefty Lucy tune “Pubescent,” in which Gatchell and Gokcen fire off a call and response a la John Doe and Exene (He: “It’s about a bad situation!” She: “Will you shut up?”) while riding a bullet train of Billy Zoom-style guitar. Tuesday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Saturday, 5 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dan Monick.