If you like weirdos as a general rule, you know that the occasional appalling tangent comes with the territory. Chicago house producer Felix Stallings Jr., aka Felix da Housecat--definitely one of the dance scene's biggest weirdos--hasn't done anything that extreme on his new record, Devin Dazzle & the Neon Fever (Emperor Norton), but it's still likely to disappoint fans of the slick, suave Eurotrash Felix from Kittenz and Thee Glitz. He's as robotastic as ever, but now the music reeks of white funk, overdone hairdos, poppers, and dildos, like a cross between Wham playing Muzak, James Chance in Depends, and Fischerspooner with the "gay" knob turned up to 11. (The Neon Fever of the title is a clutch of punky, slutty-lookin', slightly tone-deaf nondivas in Marc Jacobs shoes--sorta like WIT, only less serious about their "career.") The ultimate test of a dance record is to weigh the goodness of the best track against the badness of the worst one, and in this case it's a dead heat. "Watching Cars Go By" is a chugga-chugga dance rocker decked out with buzzing Doppler-effect guitars and samples of the woman's voice from a G4, but as great as it is, "Nitelife Funworld" pretty much cancels it out: Felix sounds like a novice trying out all the cheesiest presets on his fancy new keyboard, and in under two minutes he delivers wind chimes, sleigh bells, mystical Native American flute, and a whole barrage of faggy synth lines. Devin Dazzle is so totally what-the-hell that you've gotta give Felix props for making it, but if anyone else pulled a maneuver like this his label would drop him in a heartbeat. Chris Holmes's hilariously nasty new-wave boy band, the Virgin Tears, performs simultaneously in a separate room of the club. $20. Friday, September 3, 10 PM, Crobar, 1543 N. Kingsbury; 312-266-1900.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Davison.