Southern Culture on the Skids | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Southern Culture on the Skids

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SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS

SCOTS front man Rick Miller has said that the band doesn't just give a concert, it throws a party. After seeing the Chapel Hill-based trio play several times over the past five years, I have to agree. The band delivers its energetic, twisted version of CCR-meets-the-Cramps swampabilly with an enthusiasm that's right on the mark: bouffant-sporting bassist Mary Huff plays with the smoldering, white-trash cool of Poison Ivy while doughy stand-up drummer Dave Hartman keeps time on a minimal kit. But the focal point is the thin, cracker-looking Miller. His scary hick persona (he actually has a master's degree in art), Emo Phillips-style thrift-store garb, and high-strung guitar virtuosity are a show in themselves, bringing to mind a younger, stranger Reverend Horton Heat. Many of the band's songs are about sex or food or both--"Eight Piece Box" is a prime example of SCOTS humor. Topics also include juke joints, fast women, and, of course, white trash, and the style ranges from funk to rockabilly to ballads. A SCOTS show never lacks surprises--sometimes Miller will hand out pots and pans in an attempt to expand the band's rhythm section, and usually there's a box or two of chicken distributed to the crowd. Though last year's Geffen debut, Dirt Track Date, provides a good overview of their work (some form of the band has existed since 1985), the songs are infinitely better live. It's not high culture, but it's good, dirty fun. Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620. CARA JEPSEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): D.K. Thompson.

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