When: Sun., Aug. 26, 9 p.m. 2012
I can't think of a band that embodies the blue-collar sound of Chicago postpunk better than Tar, a four-piece that played its last show (or rather what was until recently its last show) in 1995 at Lounge Ax. Mark Zablocki and front man John Mohr lock their lean, meaty guitars together into unfussy dual riffs, simultaneously neat and jagged, that add an extra jolt of momentum to the precise, bulldozer-simple pounding of drummer Mike Greenlees. Earlier this summer the band reunited to play the PRF BBQ, a low-key festival organized by denizens of the Electrical Audio message boards; right around the same time, acerbically funny fanzine Chunklet released a seven-inch of two outtakes from Tar's final album, 1995's Over and Out. The original tune on the A side, "Feel This," is a perfectly preserved example of vintage Touch and Go rock, with Mohr gamely straining his voice to compete with the chugging guitars, but the B side is a throwaway—a cover of AC/DC's "Hells Bells" with tiny xylophone tings replacing the ominous tolling of the original and bassist Tom Zaluckyj failing pretty thoroughly to measure up to Brian Johnson's muscular howl. Zaluckyj lives in LA these days, so further Tar shows are hardly a given, but Greenlees tells me the band hopes to release a rarities compilation down the road. Tar open the last of three consecutive Lincoln Hall shows that Shellac are playing to celebrate their 20th anniversary; the three-night lineup almost looks like a Lounge Ax reunion festival, with the great Columbus trio Scrawl on Friday and Shannon Wright and Pinebender on Saturday. —Peter Margasak Shellac headlines; Nina Nastasia and Tar open.