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FIREWORKS 4/7, EMPTY BOTTLE Judging from their exceedingly raunchy debut, Set the World on Fire (Crypt), these pure trash rock 'n' rollers from Dallas like their music stripped to the bone, loud, and boozed-up--like their musical and spiritual brethren the Gibson Brothers and the Gories. In the one-dimensional obsessiveness of their mumbled tributes to a bygone world of fast cars and loose women lies the band's absurd appeal. They open for Laughing Hyenas, Steel Pole Bath Tub, and Love 666. ANDERS OSBORNE 4/7, GULF COAST, 4/8, BROTHER JIMMY'S On his debut, Break the Chain (Rabadash), Anders Osborne--who's from New Orleans by way of Sweden--comes off as a slick practitioner of white bluesy soul rock, suggesting a far less inspired Little Feat. From the easy Lowell George-ish lilt of his singing to the relatively seamless stew of diverse influences (a well-established Crescent City trait), Osborne appears to have his shit together, but there's some party funk junk like "Right on the Money," and his lyrics are another matter: for example, "Maybe I should slap her" from the irritating "Having a Good Time Too." If you have little regard for strict purity Osborne's musical-gumbo-through-a-strainer approach could provide a hoot. CITIZEN KING 4/8, METRO These hip hop-funk fusioneers from Milwaukee deliver a fairly engaging if reductive ants-in-pants party music. On their debut, Brown Bag LP (King Cast), they distill their grooves to a lowest common denominator, sacrificing potentially interesting instrumental flourishes--the band includes guitar, turntable, organ, bass, and drums--in favor of crowd-pleasing beats. They appear with the workmanlike Adamjack and local H.O.R.D.E. contenders Rollover; the three bands are finalists in a best local band contest sponsored by Southern Comfort. Oddly enough the quality of these bands corresponds to the quality of the sponsor's product. Uh... yum. JAMES CHANCE & THE CONTORTIONS, Ground Zero 4/8, LOUNGE AX Once upon a time saxophonist/vocalist James Chance (aka James White aka James Siegfried) unleashed one of the most unholy squalls of freedom-hugging, funked-up punk ever heard. The four Contortions cuts on the classic, influential, Brian Eno-produced No New York compilation and the band's heart-stopping 1979 debut, Buy the Contortions (recently reissued on CD by Infinite Zero), throb with an unparalleled intensity and the off-kilter soul of one last drunken go-round. Using James Brown as a sonic template, the Contortions shook the fuck out of raw funk, slathering it with gut-wrenching sax cries, teetering slide guitar, incessantly stuttering rhythms, out-of-place organ riffs, and Chance's last-gasp, hysterical vocals. Subsequent recordings under a variety of monikers failed to match the remarkable energy and focus, and as far as I know it's been years since Chance has been through Chicago. The brainchild of wacko sampler/turntable terrorist Otomo Yoshihide (think of a far less self-conscious Christian Marclay), Japan's Ground Zero build a wall of discombobulated, sideways rock atop a foundation of cacophonous and jarring samples. Their eponymous CD features like-minded guests John Zorn and the Boredoms' Yamatsuka Eye--neither of whom will be performing with this entourage--and the accent is on noise. Gradually accelerating from dark and bumpy sheets of near-ambient sound to giddy streaks of sonic mayhem or simply jumping headfirst into the fray, Yoshihide celebrates the waste products of sound within a vaguely familiar rock context. This terrific bill with Gastr del Sol promises to be interesting at the very least. BEEKEEPER 4/8, EMPTY BOTTLE A young trio from New York who on the basis of their debut single tend to situate placid pop songs within a hydroplaning rock structure. A powerful rhythm section keeps the pace at a near crawl, while distended melodies float over top. The band's quiet charm centers on the release the tunes always seem headed for but fail to attain. They open for the Sea and Cake and Great Danes, a new spin-off of God & Texas. GILLMAN DEAVILLE 4/9, OLD TOWN SCHOOL On the recent Ways to Fly (Flying Fish) this Austin duo expands its richly melodic folk with a sparse but crisp country-informed backing band. For this show they're on their own, but since both Jane Gillman and Darcie Deaville are superb vocalists and talented multiinstrumentalists (covering guitar, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and dulcimer), this performance should be just as compelling as their CD; their songs exhibit an emotional reflectiveness that rarely gets corny, and they braid together gorgeous vocal harmonies. URBAN DANCE SQUAD 4/12, DOUBLE DOOR While it's true that Holland's Urban Dance Squad were early adherents to the now commonplace hard rock-rap fusion, their ground-floor status doesn't amount to much. The band's third album, Persona Non Grata (Virgin), finds them treading water, dangerously close to drowning. Imagine a Rage Against the Machine album played at 45 RPM and you might get the gist of what this multiracial unit is putting down. If you can say "The Red Hot Chili Peppers were musical revolutionaries" with a straight face, Urban Dance Squad may well juice you. CLAW HAMMER 4/13, Empty Bottle Superior hard-rock gunk from LA. Unfortunately Claw Hammer, whose debut featured a cover of the hopelessly obscure Beefheart-esque Hampton Grease Band, have reduced their feverish Captain Beefheart slant. However between the sparks flying off guitarists Christopher Bagarozzi and Jon Wahl on their latest album, Thank the Holder Uppers (Interscope), and Wahl's maniacal Chris D.-like ranting, this band burns most competitors.

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