Chrome | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The fate of Chrome seemed sealed with the passing of cofounder Damon Edge in 1995, but in this age of ceaseless reunions and reinvigorations, even dead bands play again: the legendary San Francisco group's other founder, Helios Creed, is using the name to take a new version of the freaky outer-space show on the road. In 1977 Chrome came out of the same mad-scientist movement that had already produced the Residents and Devo and would shortly give birth to Gary Numan, blending Meddle-era Pink Floyd psychedelic elements (tape effects, analog synthesizers, Waterphones) with proto-punk garage rock, a processed voice that made a method of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" intro, and a menacing, cyborgasmic, postapocalyptic sci-fi fetish. The band's second record, Alien Soundtracks, which was reissued in 1990 by Touch and Go and is excerpted on the Cleopatra label's three-CD Chrome Box, remains one of the great underground treasures of the 70s, a genuinely inspired oddity. After seven more albums Creed and Edge split in 1983. Edge eventually made more records as Chrome, but Creed stayed away, releasing a string of moderately successful recordings for Amphetamine Reptile. Last year he re-formed Chrome and put out a surprisingly good studio record, Retro Transmission, on Cleopatra. It's nowhere near as strange as the initial records--the alien shtick is less submerged and the trash- and synth-rock edges are smoother--but all the elements are all there and generally in the right place. This year's follow-up, Tidal Forces (on poster artist Frank Kozik's label, Man's Ruin), is more synthetic and spacey, but still packs the wacko punch. Mirror Dinghy and the Silver Apples open; between sets belly dancer Samra--who happens to be Spot Check columnist Monica Kendrick's mom--will move to both traditional Middle Eastern sounds and metal machine music. Thursday, April 9, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. JOHN CORBETT

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Helios Creed photo-uncredited.

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