VCR | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This dance-punk combo from Richmond, Virginia, grabbed me by the lapels with its self-titled 2003 debut. The EP showed up at the radio station where I sometimes DJ, and when I got an eyeful of the perfectly awful cover art--just the word VCR in a tacky early-80s-style font, like the logo Osco might use for a house brand ofcologne--I thought, "There's no way this can't rule." And rule it does. In songs like "Rad" (sample lyric: "Rad! / You could be rad!") and "We Are VCR," they come off like a great, unpretentious college-town party band--which is essentially what they are, except with no guitars. They've got three synth players in front of a jumpy bass-and-drums rhythm section, and with their outsize hooks and alternately sly and goofy humor, they're leagues ahead of !!! and the other self-satisfied bores clogging the genre. Side One Dummy (also home to Gogol Bordello) reissued the EP in 2005 and put out VCR's debut full-length, Power Destiny, in 2006. I've yet to catch them live, but I'd venture to say you should wear industrial--strength dancing trousers. They open for Brilliant Pebbles and headliners KK Rampage. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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