Rye Coalition | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On the Rye Coalition's first two albums, they sound like a cross between Fugazi--particularly in the intense vocal style of Ralph Cuseglio--and the Jesus Lizard, but once you get past the din, there isn't much else. On the brand-new On Top (Tiger Style), though, the Jersey boys have discovered classic rock, and that's what seems to have saved them from the emo scrap heap. Engineer Steve Albini highlights the meaty, hard-charging guitars as they trace out the sort of ageless licks AC/DC have built a career on, and the fearsome rhythm section fires out a Bonham-esque wallop. The band exaggerates the music's essential boneheadedness--one song is titled "Stairway to the Free Bird on the Way to the Smokey Water," and all I can think of during "Stop Eating While I'm Smoking," with its ubiquitous cowbell, is that Saturday Night Live skit about Blue Oyster Cult--which is precisely why the rehash works. Thursday, March 21, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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