Scissorfight | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

These New England boys are a little too smart to be playing dumb rock, but no other description fits. It's sometimes hard to tell if they're doing it out of pure love or if their lobotomized, lowest-common-denominator riffage is actually a form of smart-assery, but on their eighth release, the brand-new Jaggernaut (Tortuga), they're balls deep in Leslie West's corpse--never mind that the dude isn't dead yet. The thick, sinuous unison lines, chunky chugga-chugga, and occasional guitar solo poke at the same pleasure centers metal does, but Scissorfight disdains show-offy virtuosity in favor of a no-surprises pummel that's hard to say no to. Front man Iron Lung lets loose with lyrics that sound like Hunter S. Thompson by way of Robert Bly, switching between a hair-raising holler and a sinister redneck growl. "Caving in the head / Of the thing half dead," he sings, "Just another casualty / Of backwoods motherfuckery." Appalachian shacks, drugs, fur trapping, and fighting are his favorite subjects--even on the "party song" he says shit like "Charge me with excessive force / I didn't have to kill a horse." He's a longtime enigma of the northeast's underground metal scene--we've been pen pals, but I'm only sure enough of his real name to say it's probably Christopher something. Though he's worked on a commercial fishing boat and now has a job at a tattoo studio, he's also spent much of the past few years finishing an American studies master's thesis about LSD experiments and political theory. Plus he once dislocated his shoulder during a show, then spent the rest of the set trying to punch it back into place--so you know these guys can bring the macho on their records across the line into no-fucking-way reality. Orange Goblin headlines and Scissorfight plays third; Bible of the Devil and Metalhead open. Wed 5/24, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12.

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