Safes | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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If you've tried to rent a practice space in Chicago, you've probably wished you had rich parents. But the three brothers in local garage quartet the Safes--bassist Michael and guitarists Frankie and Patrick O'Malley--say they don't mind ponying up the money themselves, since their music-obsessed kin have already given them a priceless gift. Their carpenter father, who played Irish folk and rock with the Frank O'Malley Band in the 60s and 70s, raised his four boys (and seven girls) on the good stuff--Hank Williams, Fats Domino, Magic Sam--and in the early 80s an older cousin turned the brothers on to the Clash, Iggy Pop, and Husker Du. On the Safes' first LP, Family Jewels (rereleased in February by Chicago's Failed Experiment Records), they've parlayed this rich trove of influences into catchy, cheerfully aggressive rock songs with just a touch of country; the lyrics are simple, clever, and angry in proper punk fashion, but when the boys sing about what fuckups they are, they don't sound proud of it. This weekend's show is a release party for the Safes' frantic new EP, Boogie Woogie Rumble (Pro-Vel), five songs that tear by in a hair over ten minutes. The bass racing up the scale, the wheedly-deedly mini guitar solos, and the hoarse but cute vocals spirited me right back to my first week with the Replacements' Stink. The lyrics here tend more toward cliches, alas, but the band's amped-up urgency makes even utter nonrevelations like "You don't know what you got until it's gone!" sting like a slap in the face. The Foxx opens; Bang! Bang! headlines. $8, all ages. Friday, July 30, 10 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700 or 800-594-8499.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marzena Abrahamik.

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