Russian | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Brute force is how this local trio kicks it. Their music is pure, pummeling midwestern noise, terse and heavy and sure to warm the heart of anyone who can fondly recall the first time she heard Hammerhead or reminisce about a Cows show that changed her life. Pete Wagner's thick, swampy bass lines gouge a deep trench for the sinewy hooks of guitarist and front man Dave Arter, and Lauren Fitzpatrick pounds out her tom-heavy backbeat patterns like she's trying to drive her drums through the floor. The band keeps chord changes to a minimum, instead filling space with arcs of feedback and mammoth rumbles of distortion; Arter's monotone yawlping likewise ranges all the way from street-fight angry to drill-sergeant angry. For their entire four-year career Russian have been content to play a couple times a month in town, or maybe tour for a long weekend around the midwest in a supporting slot--they've released nothing and have no plans to do so, and in a day and age when a young band might line up a publicist and a booking agent two months after its first rehearsal, they don't even have a MySpace page. Sadly this is their last gig--Wagner and Fitzpatrick are moving to rural North Carolina at the end of the month, along with some of their friends in Milemarker (who won't be breaking up). The show will double as a going-away party. No Funeral headlines, Russian plays second, and Locks open. Mon 12/19, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401. Free.

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