Vexers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Female singers in punk bands hear two sirens tempting them to slack: you're spotted ten thousand punk points for being an empowered chick to begin with, and if you can't sing, who can tell when the guitars are drowning out the PA? Thank Christ there be bitches who refuse the handicap: to compete with Jennifer Taylor of the Vexers, anyone's genitals need an athletic voice for a partner. The band doesn't smother her mannered chops and sarcastic lyrics with dutiful roaring: bassist Michael Hammel and drummer Jesse Van Anglen build a Scientists-ific rhythmic skeleton to which Tres Warren adds a touch of flesh with sparse surf guitar. Everyone except Van Anglen met in 2001 in LA and moved to Philly, where they found the drummer and got their act together; they released an eponymous LP on Ace Fu last February and followed it in September with the EP Gangland Ballads & the Death Sex Set. Taylor's trills and sneers gain focus on the EP: she spikes "Love in the 22nd Century" with a fake orgasm that's as intense as it is insincere. Nothing juices the cold cockles like a punk singer who interprets her groin through her gall bladder instead of her heart, and onstage Taylor's reportedly a one-creep trash-goth revival. Pearlene, the Bloody Hollies, Retisonic, and the Bamboo Kids open. Thursday, March 11, 8 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.

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