Goats | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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It's not often that hip-hoppers manage to pull it off live. Since drum machines, turntable scratching, monochromatic rapping, and looped samples tend to blend into an indistinguishable mess, many acts have begun incorporating more instruments into their shows. Philadelphia's multiracial Goats have always had a large entourage, but it's only on their recently released sophomore effort, No Goats, No Glory (Ruff House/Columbia), that they took the full band into the studio. This meant they relied less on samples; unfortunately, as the album proves, it's not easy for a live band to achieve the diverse sound that sampling delivers. But the fluid raps of Madd and Swayzack overcome the sometimes stifling rigidity of the Goats' funky grooves. Through clouds of pot smoke, they deliver witty diatribes against hotheaded violence while espousing leftist politics--their swell 1993 debut,Tricks of the Shade, invoked Noam Chomsky as a guiding light. While the new record lacks much of the pungency and verve of the debut, the presence of a live band for this gig will surely enhance the Goats' formidable skills. Detroit's Big Chief also perform. Saturday, 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 489-3160.

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

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