Sweet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sweet defined the silly edge of glam rock in the early 70s, playing a cheesy but hooky power-chorded bubble gum that made Gary Glitter seem profound, Slade heavy. The band supposedly had a certain naughty undertone--the history books tell us that some unspecified onstage bawdiness got them banned from certain British halls for a time--but this may be hype: in the recorded legacy, only "Little Willy," a rather infantile ode to priapism, and "Wig-Wam Bam," a nursery-rhymey fuck song, support the claim. Unlike so many of their manufactured counterparts, the band had a two-act career: unamicably splitting from their creators (the killer songwriting and production team of Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn) to forge their own way, they had their revenge with hits both small ("Action") and huge ("Love Is Like Oxygen") before a sharp and permanent decline. More than 15 years after their last hit, Sweet haven't been forgotten: Def Leppard redid "Action" on Adrenalize, and movies like Wayne's World and Dazed and Confused have revivifled the blithe singles "Ballroom Blitz" and "Fox on the Run." And everyone I know who's seen their recent shows say they still rock. What else would you have the boys do? Strumpet opens. Friday, Biddy Mulligan's, 7644 N. Sheridan; 761-6532.

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