LORDI | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Everybody old enough to remember when Kiss ditched the makeup probably also remembers the public's almost involuntary response: "Oh my God, put it back on!" When two local tabloids printed unauthorized photos of these Finnish hard rockers without their masks following the band's crushing victory at last year's Eurovision Song Contest, they caught so much flak they apologized and promised never to do it again--Lordi fans want their darlings to stay monsters. Any band that can break the top ten not just in Scandinavia but in Ireland, Israel, and Greece with an absurdly epic underdog anthem like "Hard Rock Hallelujah"--yes, he did just say "day of rockening"--must be doing something right. The Arockalypse (The End Records), Lordi's third full-length, is so relentlessly, cartoonishly over-the-top I suspect they're playing an elaborate joke on those of us who don't have sunless winters--but even if they are, it's the kind of joke that's a lot more fun to fall for than sneer at. And you've got to respect their devotion to pyrotechnics, platform boots, and robotic bat wings--they canceled the club gigs they'd booked between Ozzfest dates rather than "downsize the band's explosive show." (Translation: Metro wasn't keen on giant fireballs.) Lordi plays the main stage at Ozzfest, which begins at noon; complete lineup on page TK. See also Sunday. a 6:15 PM, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, I-80 & Harlem, Tinley Park, 708-614-1616, sold out. A --Monica Kendrick

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