Zen Guerrilla, Nebula | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Zen Guerrilla, Nebula

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Zen Guerrilla, Nebula

Both live and on the recent Trance States in Tongues (Sub Pop), San Francisco's Zen Guerrilla drags hirsute psych-blues into the post-everything present, flinging Stooges choogle, Hendrix flash, and Bluesbreakers stomp off the intensity meter with a hardcore-derived strength. Hulking, pacing front man Marcus Durant, who could use Jon Spencer for a toothpick, feeds his vocals through a haze of reverb and distortion and cranks up his phlegmy moans to the same gut-thumping level as the bass, guitar, and drums. Even when these guys steal, they do it balls out, appropriating from "Shake Your Money Maker" on "Peppermint" and "Maybelline" on "What I Got" and making David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" into their own maniacal anthem. By contrast, southern California "stoner" rockers Nebula seem downright meticulous in shaping their post-Sabbath sludge. On last year's To the Center (also on Sub Pop), sizzling guitarist Eddie Glass, bassist Mark Abshire, and drummer Ruben Romano complement floor-rattling heaviness with a strangely elegant forward impetus--in their own weird way, they swing like mofos. Thanks mostly to Glass's snotty whine, on more upbeat stuff they occasionally sound like Mudhoney (whose Mark Arm takes the mike on their cover of the Stooges' "I Need Somebody"), but in slower moments they achieve a psychedelic beauty the grunge kings always feared. The Go opens. Friday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Robin Laanan/Brad Miller.

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