Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Gaza Strippers

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This has been a bad year for rock 'n' roll--I say that every year, but this one has really been the pits. Trying to scrape together a top-ten list for 2001, I'm hard-pressed to find anything fast and loud that really blows my doors off. The Hives? The Strokes? Iggy Pop? Ehhh...The only serious contender is Electric Bible: The New Testament (Triple X), the third album in as many years by Chicago's own Gaza Strippers. With his dandy getups and hyperactive stage moves, front man Rick Sims taps into the same cartoon energy that powered the Dickies in their late-70s heyday, and at this point guitarist Mike Hodgkiss and bassist Darren Hooper have played so many eighth notes they can probably crack walnuts with their wrists. The band's killer debut, Laced Candy, is already out of print (owing to the demise of Man's Ruin Records), but two of its best tracks--the raving "Throttle Bottom" and the monolithic "Brainwasher"--turn up on the new disc. Though you'd never guess from the consistency of the sound and songwriting, Electric Bible is actually patched together from various seven-inches and compilations (plus three unreleased tracks, one a volcanic cover of Elvis Costello's "Lipstick Vogue"). Sims's lyrics are mostly hell-raising juvenilia: "I got a chip on my shoulder the size of a car / My personality sucks like a drain / An ego that shines like a bright burning star / A cock so heavy that it hangs like a chain." But would you want it any other way? The Nerves and the Chargers Street Gang open. Saturday, December 29, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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