Naked Aggression | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Naked Aggression

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This venerable punk band has been almost completely silent for years, ever since founding guitarist Phil Suchomel succumbed to complications from asthma on the first day of a tour in 1998. He and front woman Kirsten Patches were music students together at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when they started the band in 1990, and when he died she lost more than the firmament-rending thunder that had backed her impassioned howl for all those years--she lost her husband too. (Even people in activist hardcore bands sometimes do stuff as square as tying the knot.) It took five years for Patches to come to grips with Suchomel's death, during which time she took a job teaching special ed at an inner-city LA school, watched another stupid war unfold in Iraq, and started a new band called Meet the Virus--but by then she'd also gotten angry enough to resurrect Naked Aggression. (The new lineup hasn't released anything yet, but there's a newish comp of old stuff, Heard It All Before, on SOS Records.) Like all good political punks, NA can both inspire and unsettle: "Kill the rich / Before they kill you" sounds like perfectly reasonable advice considering the Bush administration's "response" to Katrina, though since rich is relative, that can also mean that starving people should kill, say, me. Naked Aggression's sound is hard as nails yet melodic as a hymn: Patches has a muscular, fine-tuned voice and enough psychotic energy to power ten bands, and new guitarist Matt Florence (also of Meet the Virus) painstakingly duplicates Suchomel's amazing combination of classical dexterity and hardcore crunch. Imagine a less depressed Wendy O. Williams leading a more versatile Plasmatics. Infected, Vortis, and Dreadnok Ripper open. Sat 11/26, 7 PM, the Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood, 888-690-9875, $8. All ages.

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