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Material Issue

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Material Issue is fronted by the rebarbative Jim Ellison, a long-legged gamin who leads a youthful three-piece band. With a chip on his shoulder the size of Cabaret Metro and a penchant for saying stupid things in public, he's an onstage natural full of equal parts attitude and shit. But as you watch him skip, sneer, and mug his way through a typical set, you'll finally have to laugh at how easy he makes it all seem. He seems to be a born guitarist, and has a cool reedy voice that sometimes goes fluty on the ballads. But he also has two secret weapons: one is his command of a loopy, drop-dead pop idiom that produces ready-made classics like "Renee Remains the Same," "She's Going Through My Head." and the fire-burner morality play "Trouble." The other is the rest of Issue itself: rhythm section Ted Ansani (bass) and Michael Zelenko (drums) generally find the groove and shake it up; and on an overdone chestnut like "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" they do exactly what you have to do to not get laughed off the stage, and somehow make it work. The always worthwhile Luck of Eden Hall opens tonight's show. Tonight, Avalon Niteclub, 959 W. Belmont; 472-3020. Next Sunday, February 11, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

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