Slumber Party | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Slumber Party

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Last time Slumber Party were in town some meatheads in the audience started singing the words to "Vacation" by the Go-Go's to the dames' own songs. It was rude but not entirely off base--their songs are reminiscent of almost any simple pop tune. Yet Slumber Party bring a listless gravitas to the melodies that makes them sound more Nico than Lesley Gore. Onstage they look like porcelain dolls, have a hard time harmonizing (a shortcoming that can be charming in its earnestness), and use the least amount of energy necessary to play their instruments. The acid-washed cowgirl dirges on Psychedelicate (Kill Rock Stars) encapsulate the soft beauty of sadness without the puffy, red-eyed ugliness of misery, like The Virgin Suicides or a velvet painting of a doe-eyed waif. The cry-in-your-pillow vibe may seem like a poor fit for lead guitarist Gretchen Gonzales, who's played with Aaron Dilloway and John Olson (both of the belligerent savant-garde outfit Wolf Eyes) in the free-psych bands Universal Indians and Dr. Gretchen's Musical Weightlifting Program. On second or third listen, though, you notice that her strumming here (which she sometimes does with a rock) bleeds through with as much lush aggression as any of her previous playing. Anyone who has to at least wiggle a shoulder when listening to music will probably lose patience with Slumber Party pretty quick. But for those who find pleasure in fantasizing about quixotic romances with strangers and the inevitable painful breakups that follow, this is your night. Thursday, December 12, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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