Sunburned Hand of the Man, Magik Markers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sunburned Hand of the Man, Magik Markers


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Back in 2002, when this rambling, sprawling, experimental psych act broke its long-held habit of self-releasing CD-Rs and put out albums on actual labels, I imagine some folks figured Sunburned Hand of the Man was some kind of sellout. But I don't think they're all that concerned about how, when, and where their music gets out there, since they put out records the way most people breathe; so far this year they've released two albums, Zample and Anatomy, on their Manhand label, reissued a self-titled disc on Wabana, and have two more in the pipeline. When they're on--and that's never guaranteed--their live shows can be arty white-boy shamanism at its finest: they wear masks, use props, and blend chants, drones, and percussion marathons in slow-building freak-outs. It's wanton, masturbatory, and beautiful--not everything that glitters in their massive oeuvre is gold, but it's hard to find clearer proof that not all who wander are lost.

The Magik Markers are an aggro-drone trio that, among other things, succeeds brilliantly at distilling everything that was exciting about early Sonic Youth into a melange that has no tolerance for song structure. "Who wants the beauty when you and me can make the ugly," leader and guitarist Elisa Ambrogio told the Village Voice last spring. Thing is, beauty has a way of making itself out of their shimmering metallic noise, "tribal" percussion that sounds like it was produced by an outcast from the Crash Worship clan, and shrieking, sense-resistant vocals.

Sunburned Hand of the Man headlines, the Magik Markers play second, and Goldblood opens. Sat 8/20, 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $8.

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