Arab On Radar | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Arab On Radar




There are no doubt a lot of depraved blokes out there who have a hard time reconciling their perversion with the way society demands a gent behave, but none articulate their dilemma so eloquently as Arab on Radar. These four self-hating berserkers apparently live in a perpetual state of sexual frustration--they don't get any and they bitch about it, or they get some and it's not good enough--and it's all mommy and daddy's fault. The lyrics from Yahweh or the Highway (Skin Graft), their latest CD, are a Freudian freak-out. On "Father, Son, and the Goalie Post," singer Eric Post-Traumatic Stress--aka William Tell, aka Mr. Pottymouth--whines like a harpy, "Darling, I don't know why the kid is always touching his tool in public / Maybe it's 'cause you're telling him his papa can't get it up." Meanwhile one guitar surges forward and stops abruptly, chastised by the drums, and the second vomits tangy melodious chunks that have barely anything to do with the rest of the song. Onstage the guys stomp, spit, drool, and flap their arms in identical gray slacks and collared shirts, while bare white lightbulbs swing overhead, alternately bathing them in harsh, sterile light and leaving them in darkness. They come from the superarty Providence performance-rock scene, which has surely intensified their showmanship, but the psychosexual stuff seems genuine--and the sheer amount of negativity they exude is breathtaking. Sunday, August 12, 8 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Monday, August 13, 8 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700. Mr. Pottymouth will also read excerpts from his book of poetry and essays, Pussy Pow Wow, on Monday at 7 PM at Quimby's, 1854 W. North; 773-342-0910.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Oops Wilson.

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