Bananas, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Bananas, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb

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The bouncy garage pop of Sacramento's BANANAS has the sort of effervescent looniness you often see in outsider art; the best songs on 2003's Nautical Rock N Roll (released on vinyl in January on Vida Loca Records) sound like Jonathan Richman without the diffidence, as giddy as a Japanese teen band on a sugar high. And when they crash and turn sad ("Another Ominous Warning About the End of the World"), you really feel it. The band's first album, 1998's Forbidden Fruit, was reissued on vinyl in the spring by Recess Records. --Monica Kendrick

The mood on the left these days tends to be more angry and anxious than triumphant. But listen to Florida trio THIS BIKE IS A PIPE BOMB yelp out its tumbling folk-punk version of "We Shall Not Be Moved," and you can hear that bedraggled modern-liberal mind-set replaced by the hopeful, holy sense of purpose that TV says everybody had in the 60s. Joy is the dominant feeling in the band's music: joy in new love, joy in riding bikes, and--though it's never explicitly spelled out in song--joy in saying no to consumer culture, cutting your hair into a rough approximation of Wolverine's, and touring the continent's basements in a camper van. The fact that singer Rymodee often expresses his elation through harmonica solos is only one of many reasons to fall in love with this group: they also freak out cops with their band stickers and make the most delicious vegan gravy I've ever tasted. --Miles Raymer

This show is part of the Mauled by Tigers fest; see page 30 for a complete schedule. The lineup here, headliner first: Bananas; This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb; Japanther; Defiance, Ohio; and Dynamite Arrows. The Bananas also play Sunday at Ronny's; see separate Treatment item for more info. Sat 8/12, 6 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $8. All ages.

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