Jello Biafra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The former Dead Kennedys front man--who's spent the last several years entangled in unpleasant litigation with his former bandmates--was never much of a singer, even by punk standards. But his declamatory, street-chanter style stamps a DKs record as indelibly as any songsmith's: he's like a protest-march leader who never needs a megaphone, the most fluid, verbally aggressive of competing soapboxers in an electronic-media Bughouse Square. When the current Alternative Tentacles honcho and passionate free-speech historian deigns to step back into music he's still wickedly effective, and the better his backup the better he sounds. Last year's Sieg Howdy! album with the Melvins--complete with an Alice Cooper cover and a revisiting of "California Uber Alles"--was one of the most giddily apocalyptic works either has done, and that's saying something. For this all-ages spoken-word performance, though, the man's formidable ranting skills must stand on their own. He has plans to release a spoken-word album, tentatively titled "In the Grip of Official Treason," this fall and may record some of the shows on his current tour for it. Topics he may address include "Iraqnophobia," vote fraud, and "comatose, bribe-addled Democrats." He'll sign merch (but not DK releases on Manifesto Records) before the performance at 4:30 PM at Reckless Records, 3157 N. Broadway. Mon 7/3, 7 PM, Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-472-3492, $12.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/courtesy of Alternative Tentacles.

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