Gear Daddies | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Gear Daddies

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Hey--it's another band from Austin! This one, however, is from little Austin, Minnesota, population 23,000 less about 4 since Martin Zellar and his troupe made the move to Minneapolis some years ago. Austin's stayed with Zellar ever since, though, and the town and its denizens are the main populators of his unapologetically country-inflected songs. "I don't want to hurt my parents / I just want to leave town," he sings, and you believe him. Elsewhere--I'm working off a year-old tape called Let's Go Scare Al--he and the band show that they know about riffing ("Blues Mary") and pedal steel, and Zellar doesn't go overboard with the drawl. What does get away from him occasionally is tone control--too many of the small-town portraits (even the powerful ones like "Statue of Jesus") end up sounding whiny. They're a young band, but a promising one, and they were dynamic and fun opening for Soul Asylum last year at Cabaret Metro. Saturday, Avalon Niteclub, 959 W. Belmont; 472-3020.

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