The Goblins Return to Play Caveman-a-Go-Go Tonight | Bleader

The Goblins Return to Play Caveman-a-Go-Go Tonight

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The Goblins, who established themselves in the 90s as Chicago's finest purveyors of absurd conceptual garage rock, have been little heard from lately. Since 2001 they've done one gig where they played only J. Geils and Billy Joel songs and another where they paid tribute to T.S.O.L. while dressed up as Gong Show characters—and of course in 2006 they bravely and solidly backed Gary Burger of the Monks for a phenomenal set. But most of their scant handful of dates in the past decade have been kids' shows. Tonight at the Bottom Lounge, however, the Goblins will be playing their own material for grown-ups in a rock club—something they haven't done in nearly ten years—as part of the first night of their Caveman-a-Go-Go festival.

The band is perhaps best known for performing the theme to kiddie cable-access dance party Chic-a-go-go; the voice of Ratso on the show, Reader contributor and Roctober magazine honcho Jake Austen, is also Goblins front man the Phantom Creeper. But the Goblins also put out albums—1997's Goblin Pride, 1998's Millennium, and 2001's Missing Fits—and they plan to play all three of them for their set tonight. That won't necessarily make for a marathon, though, because every one clocks in at less than 16 minutes.

It's also worth mentioning that the Goblins were featured in the tenth issue of The Baffler with a lengthy list of concept albums they'd record for any label interested in putting out their material. Among the concepts: "a collection of raunchy songs and blue jokes recorded before a raucous college audience" entitled G.O.K. (Goblins on Campus), an album called Other Voices that would've been "the exact same concept and album art as the Doors' Other Voices, though the death of the lead singer is merely imagined in this case," and Bigelow Assorted Teas, a set of "acoustic coffeehouse songs based on tea flavors." It's arguably unfortunate that these ideas—and the 30-odd other concept albums proposed in the article—didn't get off the ground. But even as their legacy now stands, the Goblins are among the better practitioners of the "Let's dress in wrestling masks or something like that" school of garage, and this show is a rare opportunity to see them.

The Goblins will be joined at Caveman-a-Go-Go by the Neanderthals, featuring Eddie Angel from Los Straitjackets. Saturday's bands are the Masonics, Andre Williams & the Goldstars, and the Bama Lamas—whose sax player, Jason Larsen, has recovered from the brutal mugging he suffered this summer. (He's doing double duty backing up Williams, with whom he just toured Europe for the second time.) DJs will spin both nights, and Friday's entertainment includes go-go dancers.

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