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DQE (for Dairy Queen Empire) started out as the after-school project of some misfit teenagers who wanted to vent spleen at a cruel world. They could barely play their instruments and used the crudest recording technology; what set them apart from the home-taping legions were singer-guitarist Grace Braun's songs. Rock and roll has cultivated an illusion of reckless abandon since Elvis Presley first told his band to get "real, real gone," and you can't get any further out than Braun. She's spent many months in psychiatric hospitals: her vivid lyrics convey such a giddy lack of control that when she sang "I'm out of touch with reality," on the band's 1992 single "Masturbation Made a Mess out of Me," you believed it, and her frank portrayal of psychic pain led Spin magazine to compare the band's 1993 debut CD But Me, I Fell Down to Nirvana's In Utero. But don't expect a suicide in this band's future; their new self-released cassette Hershymouth reflects a healthier state of mind, eschewing portrayals of psychosis for straight love songs and covers of "You Are My Sunshine" and the bluegrass classic "Shady Grove." Braun is a spellbinding performer whose sheer joy at being on stage is infectious. She has developed past her amateur beginnings into a capable if deeply eccentric guitarist whose churning drive is derived equally from pop, punk, and traditional American folk music. And her voice is the litmus test that makes DQE a love-'em-or-hate-'em affair: it can be shrill and as wayward as the emotions in her songs, but it's also a powerful instrument equal to their demands. DQE opens for Versus, the Shams, and Wake Ooloo (the latter two are previewed in another Critic's Choice). Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

BILL MEYER

DQE

DQE (for Dairy Queen Empire) started out as the after-school project of some misfit teenagers who wanted to vent spleen at a cruel world. They could barely play their instruments and used the crudest recording technology; what set them apart from the home-taping legions were singer-guitarist Grace Braun's songs. Rock and roll has cultivated an illusion of reckless abandon since Elvis Presley first told his band to get "real, real gone," and you can't get any further out than Braun. She's spent many months in psychiatric hospitals: her vivid lyrics convey such a giddy lack of control that when she sang "I'm out of touch with reality," on the band's 1992 single "Masturbation Made a Mess out of Me," you believed it, and her frank portrayal of psychic pain led Spin magazine to compare the band's 1993 debut CD But Me, I Fell Down to Nirvana's In Utero. But don't expect a suicide in this band's future; their new self-released cassette Hershymouth reflects a healthier state of mind, eschewing portrayals of psychosis for straight love songs and covers of "You Are My Sunshine" and the bluegrass classic "Shady Grove." Braun is a spellbinding performer whose sheer joy at being on stage is infectious. She has developed past her amateur beginnings into a capable if deeply eccentric guitarist whose churning drive is derived equally from pop, punk, and traditional American folk music. And her voice is the litmus test that makes DQE a love-'em-or-hate-'em affair: it can be shrill and as wayward as the emotions in her songs, but it's also a powerful instrument equal to their demands. DQE opens for Versus, the Shams, and Wake Ooloo (the latter two are previewed in another Critic's Choice). Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

BILL MEYER

DQE

DQE (for Dairy Queen Empire) started out as the after-school project of some misfit teenagers who wanted to vent spleen at a cruel world. They could barely play their instruments and used the crudest recording technology; what set them apart from the home-taping legions were singer-guitarist Grace Braun's songs. Rock and roll has cultivated an illusion of reckless abandon since Elvis Presley first told his band to get "real, real gone," and you can't get any further out than Braun. She's spent many months in psychiatric hospitals: her vivid lyrics convey such a giddy lack of control that when she sang "I'm out of touch with reality," on the band's 1992 single "Masturbation Made a Mess out of Me," you believed it, and her frank portrayal of psychic pain led Spin magazine to compare the band's 1993 debut CD But Me, I Fell Down to Nirvana's In Utero. But don't expect a suicide in this band's future; their new self-released cassette Hershymouth reflects a healthier state of mind, eschewing portrayals of psychosis for straight love songs and covers of "You Are My Sunshine" and the bluegrass classic "Shady Grove." Braun is a spellbinding performer whose sheer joy at being on stage is infectious. She has developed past her amateur beginnings into a capable if deeply eccentric guitarist whose churning drive is derived equally from pop, punk, and traditional American folk music. And her voice is the litmus test that makes DQE a love-'em-or-hate-'em affair: it can be shrill and as wayward as the emotions in her songs, but it's also a powerful instrument equal to their demands. DQE opens for Versus, the Shams, and Wake Ooloo (the latter two are previewed in another Critic's Choice). Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

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

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