These two acts come from the depressing downstate college town of Champaign, and it shows. I'm willing to cut Sarge leader Elizabeth Elmore some slack, since she's still in her early 20s. There's nothing naive about "A Torch," a little ditty about a gang-rape victim's revenge from the band's recent The Glass Intact (Mud), but too often Elmore's smart, analytical lyrics focus on tiresome postcollegiate boy-girl dilemmas, and tunes like "Fast Girls" and "I Took You Driving," about romantic entanglements with touring punk-rock musicians, have even narrower appeal. But the band backs her bubblegummy melodies with a simple, ripping guitar energy, and when Elmore gets a little more perspective she could be a real force. In the early 90s opener Angie Heaton played drums for Corndolly, a Scrawl-inspired combo that in turn clearly inspired Sarge--in fact, until last year Corndolly bassist Rachel Switzky played in Sarge. But on her second solo album, Sparkle (Mud), Heaton goes in for more traditional rock moves, like the Bo Diddley rave-up "Blacksmith" or the swirling arpeggios of "Hydroplane." Her cliched lyrics ("The greatest healer we have is time") make Elmore's look profound, but I find that her hooks sink deeper. Wolfie and Sugarbuzz open. Friday, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Sarge photo by Brendan Daly; Angie heaton photo by Stacy Gross.