Vaz, Oro, Pygmy Shrews, Arctic Sleep | Township | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Vaz, Oro, Pygmy Shrews, Arctic Sleep Soundboard

When: Sat., Aug. 13, 10 p.m. 2011

When Greg Ginn started smoking tons of weed and moved from his usual Ramones-flavored fare into heavy, noisy, jazz-influenced sludge about isolation and self-hatred, lots of Black Flag's fans wrote the band off—but I'm pretty sure the members of Pygmy Shrews weren't among them. Let's just say that "Fuck the Law" (the 12-minute instrumental ripper from the Shrews' new Jack Shack LP, You People Can All Go Straight to Hell) and "Screw the Law" (the instrumental ripper from Flag's EP The Process of Weeding Out) share more than similar titles. Pygmy Shrews play dense, dark posthardcore, chock full of bad vibes and virtuoso guitar soloing. The songs are focused and nimble enough to be catchy, despite their weirdness—they've got a lot more melody than you'd expect from a band whose roster includes current and former members of Zs and Drunkdriver. Guitarist Ben Greenberg and bassist Tia Vincent play through full stacks, no matter how tiny the room, and when I saw the Shrews at Ronny's a couple years ago I half expected them to blow the doors off the place—in other words, don't forget earplugs. —Luca Cimarusti Vaz headlines; Oro, Pygmy Shrews, and Arctic Sleep open.

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