Mofungo | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Some bands with a political message find it tempting to keep the music elementary so people will hear the words better. But Mofungo does it differently: their jagged songs seethe and flow like chants from a mangled world. Arty? Well, yeah, but it's not just a pose--Mofungo has a dear, no-nonsense grasp of its mission to be funny and scary at the same time. They inveigh against atmospheric ozone depletion not with rhetoric, but with surreal images of fish swimming up the streets of New Orleans and midwest farm country turned to a vast desert ("Science Song #1") Other topics include "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the Ku Klux Klan, Frederick Douglass, murderously befuddled U.S. presidents, and reconnaissance planes in Nicaragua--with occasional time out for bathyspheres and "slimeball neckties." The loose, playful music (in a ballpark with Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, and the Minutemen) helps unlock the emotional potential of lyrics that might otherwise seem too cerebral. Not only is this New York-based Mofungo's first Chicago visit, it's their first tour--odd, considering the four fine LPs they have behind them. Saturday, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.

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