Wide Right | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chrissie Hynde fairly glowered at the strip malls and interstates of Akron in "My City Was Gone," but Leah Archibald looks back on her own dying rust-belt burg, Buffalo, with far more conflicted feelings. On Wide Right (Poptop), the debut full-length from her band of the same name, Archibald cruises one more time past the lawn ornaments in "Mary on the Half Shell" and downs a can of Genesee in "Firemen's Fair," seeing all the details she'd have overlooked or at the very least cared less about had she stuck around. If the typical week of snow shovels, quarter drafts, hockey, and bowling she outlines on "Rust Belt Girl" ("Used to try to fight it / Now I assume my rightful place in the world") sounds like an all right life, "Pete Best," which compares the fate of the booted Beatle to a town where "crumbling buildings dirty waterways defeated people wither and decay," makes it clear why Archibald now lives in Brooklyn. She's got a full-throated classic-rock voice, with a hint of sly menace that makes her "Kryptonite" more potent than 3 Doors Down's and "Vincent Gallo," which slams the Buffalo '66 auteur as a camera hog, sound like just deserts rather than sour grapes. Her bandmates, too, play at being more generic than they are, but they can't fool me--the meat-and-potatoes bar band they'd like to pass themselves off as wouldn't have a drummer as scary as Brendan O'Malley or a guitarist like Dave Rick, whose opening solo on "Pete Best" takes off like a wicked mix of "Freebird" and "Search and Destroy." The Kills headline this show; the Fever plays second. Friday, October 3, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Andrew Thompson.

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