Zodiac Killers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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How anyone could live in sunny California and stay as chronically pissy as Greg Lowery, bassist and songwriter for the Zodiac Killers, I never want to find out. This band, formed in 1999, is the latest in the Lowery-brand line of spite squads, casts of would-be dangerous goombahs playing catchy, defiantly rudimentary garage punk and belting out fake-stupid lyrics with cheerful venom. Over the past 15 years Lowery's bands have included the Infections, the Rip Offs, and the legendary Supercharger (with guitarist Darin Raffaelli, later teensploiter to the Donnas). This time around, though, he seems to be holding his unstable roster of guitarists and drummers to higher standards of speed and ill will than usual: where Supercharger settled for verbal abuse ("You Irritate Me," "Sissy Jerk"), the Zodiac Killers prefer death threats ("X U Out," "Now You're Gonna Pay"). Apologies to those who still miss the endearingly aggravating semicompetence of Supercharger's singing drummer, Karen Singletary, but the Killers' latest full-length, Society's Offenders (released last year on Lowery's Rip Off Records), is one of the funnest albums in the whole pissy lineage. Every time an older guy writes a lyric like "I want to slit my wrist / Cuz my boyfriend is a masochist!" and puts it in the mouth of a trampy girl (in this lineup, rhythm guitarist Ruba Tuesday), Kim Fowley looks less sleazy and more prescient. The Testors headline this show, which is the final night of the Horizontal Action Blackout; with the Knaughty Knights, the Clorox Girls, and a one-off reunion set from locals the Guilty Pleasures, whose members continue to play in the Ponys and the Baseball Furies. Saturday, May 15, 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.

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