Radkey having a rocking good time as they jam out on a stage
Credit: Erick Luck

When teenage brothers Isaiah, Dee, and Solomon Radke emerged as Radkey in the early 2010s, their hook-driven garage punk made an immediate impression. The Missouri band probably weren’t trying to split the difference between the over-the-top spookiness of the Misfits (guitarist Dee sang a little like Danzig did in his devilock days) and the unabashed wholesomeness of fellow sibling trio Hanson (though they never got as squeaky-clean as “Mmmbop”), but they very nearly did. Since then, though, Radkey have shed easy reference points in their explorations of punk and rock styles; the 2020 album Green Room shows them to be equally adept at power-pop melodies, hard-edged ragers, and arena-worthy anthems. Their energetic performances and unrelenting touring schedule have made them darlings of the club circuit and festival season alike. In January, Radkey dropped a new single, “Games (Tonight),” whose sweet harmonies have a bubblegum-pop feel that contrasts with its melancholy lyrics about being stuck in bad habits, family strife, or other frustrating circles (“My granny voted Reagan. Ouch / I’m just the token. I write her off / They won’t waste my time, alright?”). That same month, as part of Vans’ artist-focused ad campaign These Projects Are Ads for Creativity, the trio released a video for “P.A.W.” (from their 2019 record No Strange Cats) that seeks to spark conversation about injustices such as redlining and racial discrimination. Last year Radkey played Lollapalooza and Riot Fest, so it hasn’t exactly been difficult to see them around these parts, but this Empty Bottle show is a welcome return to a more intimate setting.

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Radkey, Human Errors, Fri 3/4, 8:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, $15, 21+