FROGS 6/20, Tower on Clark; 6/21, METRO; 6/23, double door While these demented cheeseheads have generated some inspired moments of taboo-splattering gross-out, especially on last year’s My Daughter the Broad, their records suffer the fate of most comedy albums–there’s just no reason to listen more than twice. See them for the costumes.
ADEN 6/21, LOUNGE AX The University of Chicago is a strange place that has turned out the recipe for nuclear holocaust, the world’s bloodthirstiest economists–and some of the world’s wussiest rock bands. It’s not a good sign that three of the first four songs on Aden’s debut CD use the word “tears,” but even worse is that the fifth is a low whimper about being too old to enjoy nightlife.
VICTOR DE LORENZO 6/21, SCHUBAS On his Web site, De Lorenzo claims that he never intended to release last year’s deeply personal Pancake Day, and that the thought of doing so made him literally sick to his stomach. It’s hard to take too seriously a claim of stage fright from this part-time actor, sound track composer, sometime collaborator of John Wesley Harding and Moe Tucker, designer of unique percussion instruments, and former Violent Femmes skinsman, but I’m glad he kept his gorge down and got on with it, because he’s one of the few acts worth braving M.O.B.fest nausea for.
NERVES 6/21, Fireside Bowl The good-natured but unrelenting Nerves don’t leave room for any redundant frills in their post-Iggy, premohawk punk–hell, they don’t even stop between songs. Singer-guitarist Rob Datum spurts feverish leads, yelping and squealing like a drinking man’s Tom Verlaine, and bassist Seth Skundrick screams economical backup. But remarkably, it’s drummer Elliot Dicks who’s the most fun to watch, as he pretends his kit is the jock who beat him up in high school. After seeing these guys, Aden’s premature aging problem starts to look more and more tragic. Maybe the Nerves should play a benefit for them.
LARRY O. DEAN 6/24, BARNES & NOBLE ON WEBSTER Does the world really need another witty pop singer-songwriter? Well, given the proliferation of humorless shoegazing and self-referential experimentalism that haunts the current zeitgeist, I’ve gotta say yes, it does, if only for balance. On his Throw the Lions to the Christians (Zenith Beast), this San Francisco transplant brings a breath of the same unpredictable and darkly playful fresh air that Chris Stamey once exhaled at every turn. He certainly deserves better than this yuppie bookstore gig, but go and catch him up close while you still can.
ROLLINS BAND 6/24, VIC The most interesting thing about Henry Rollins at this stage is the possibility that if you cut off his head, you could tell his age by counting the rings in his neck.
WAYNE KRAMER 6/25, DOUBLE DOOR I’m not immune to the appeal of a working-class hero–particularly if he’s been a political activist from the very beginning, has done time in prison, and can write a couplet like “Some motherfucker is pissing on my grave / How much irrigation can I stand?” Wayne Kramer’s cast of believable Detroit characters, with their diseases, poverty, weapons, and irreparably broken hearts, works in his favor too, but it’s mostly the fact that his guitar playing is still savage enough to remind any young keeper of the flame that Kramer’s high-school band, the MC5, lit the torch in the first place. And in stark contrast to more corn-fed and wholesome “rockers of the people,” he never so much as suggests that it might all be OK if we just register to vote and drink a lot of whatever beer is sponsoring the tour. –Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Wayne Kramer photo by Marina Chavez.