Here, goodness gracious, is one Chicago rock band that has it all: excellent original songs, two appealing and emotionally credible singers, a guitarist playing memorable licks, a rock-solid rhythm section–and yes, a name that people remember. Stump the Host play rock ‘n’ roll that’s been soaked overnight in a big bucket o’ country feeling and hung up to dry in the gritty air of the big city. It’s unlikely anyone would ever call them innovators; they just do what a lot of other local country-rock bands do, only better. The interaction between frontpeople Stephen Dawson and Diane Christensen is by turns vulgar, coy, sarcastic, and seductive (for some weird reason I keep thinking of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood) while the bass and drums make it all swing, swing, swing. Dawson and Christensen can write ’em, too; their tough, witty, sparklingly transparent story-songs make a Stump the Host set the sort of performance you actually want to sit down and pay close attention to, as opposed to a mere backdrop for lunkhead beer-pounding. Tonight, Edge of the Lookingglass, 62 E. 13th; 939-4017. Next Friday, February 16, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steven E. Gross.