Stag Party | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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I don't know how I didn't hear of these local drama kings sooner: in a little more than two years they've opened for Interpol, !!!, David Thomas & Two Pale Boys, and Gravy Train!!!!, and now they're headlining the Bottle on a Friday night. They've got the tense, careening go-go guitar and nasal, pissed-off vocals of PiL plus the histrionic creepiness of Nervous Gender, and they're glammy in a way that's halfway between Bryan Ferry and T. Rex. The song structures on their forthcoming debut EP are like unraveling story lines: the melancholy bass tiptoes around the guitar like a cartoon injun stalking a cowboy's timid horse, which gallops off in a panic and leaves a sparkling cloud of disco-scented dust. The schizoid vocals drift into and out of focus--sometimes in hot pursuit of the rest of the group, sometimes distant and detached--and the hi-hat-happy drums chop the whole picture into confetti. Usually when I do a lot of name-dropping to describe a band, it's because they're too boring and derivative to praise on their own terms--and these guys definitely have one foot in the trendy dance-punk camp. The other foot's the one that counts, though. Trust me--Stag Party's shameless affectation is breathtaking. My Way My Love and the Poison Arrows open. Fri 12/10, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Damien Thompson.

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