God Is My Co-Pilot | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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God Is My Co-Pilot

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The bulk of rock music is built on long-held conventions both structural (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-verse-chorus) and lyrical ("Baby, baby, baby" etc). Bands like the Minutemen and Sonic Youth have made a point of toying with these conventions, but this New York band is downright iconoclastic. Over six albums and a dozen singles, God Is My Co-Pilot has distilled rock into jarring, fragmented sound shards--usually under two minutes long--that combine numb bass throbs, pummeling drum squalls, and scratchy, skittering guitar that sounds like the brittle jags of the Gang of Four's Andy Gill sped up and discombobulated. At first listen they might recall No Wave bands like DNA or the Contortions, but GIMCP also draw on Yiddish folk tunes, free jazz, and country (they do a chaotic take on the Webb Pierce vehicle "Jailhouse"), among other nonrock sources. Over the din Sharon Topper alternately bellows, shrieks, and chants singsongy nursery-rhyme melodies. The lyrics, mostly penned by Topper's husband, guitarist Craig Flanagin, blatantly play off of sexual confusion and ambiguity. By openly expressing desire free of gender restrictions (Topper's rants range from "I gotta crush on a girl I don't even know" to "She finger-fucked me in the front seat / Then ate me in the back"), this combo seeks to make such "preferences" not only irrelevant, but obsolete as identification tags. Local skronk slobs the Flying Luttenbachers open. Saturday, 10:30 PM, Czar Bar, 1814 W. Division; 772-5453.

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