Headbanger Heaven 

The Thirsty Whale faithful reunite. Plus: zombie bands, Girls Rock! auction swag, Decibelle highlights, and more

Decibelle, the festival formerly known as Estrojam (which sounded like a lube for the postmenopausal if you ask this Wolf), has brought some ultimate X-chromosome throwdowns to our town. Past performers have included Cat Power, Gossip, and the last ever show by ESG—all big-name womynstrels! This year's prime event is the Saturday-night blowout at Subterranean. The show, which also happens to be the official afterparty for the fest's Margret Cho show (see Critic's Choice in Performing Arts), will feature performances by New Orleans "sissy bounce" sensation Big Freedia (see the List) and Spanish garage rockers Capsula as well as a bevy of DJs. For a full schedule and ticket info, check out decibelle.org.

As 2010—a year that was rife with band reunions—drifts toward a close, Damon Locks, front man of long-running local dub-rockers Eternals, has coined a phrase Gossip Wolf would like to popularize: zombie bands. As Locks explains, many reunited bands that make no new material are just "existing without context and life." Locks was adamant that his old band Trenchmouth, which featured his Eternals bandmate Wayne Montana and Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen, will stay firmly in the grave.

click to enlarge KEITH HERZIK

Remember that scene in The Wrestler when Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei are kicking it to "Round and Round" by Ratt? And Rourke's character complains that the 80s were cool until "that Cobain pussy" came along and ruined everything? Do you agree with this assessment? Then GOOD NEWS, headbanger! Before it closed in 1996, River Grove venue The Thirsty Whale was an epicenter of hessian obsession. It hosted shows by big-time leather-pants bands like Extreme and hard stuff from locals of every stripe, from Cheap Trick to unfairly forgotten glamsters D'Molls to ultimate brutalists Cianide. But on October 22 and 23, the mighty Whale will spout beer (and other liquids) again, at least in spirit! Hosted by sports bar-cum-music venue Shark City in Glendale Heights, the Thirsty Whale Reunion 2K10 will feature appearances by Enuff Z'Nuff, Bang Tango, and about 40 bazillion hair-metal bands we haven't heard of before. It should be epic. For tickets, head to ThirstyWhale.com.

Albertina Walker, who grew up in Bronzeville, went on to become one of the world's most acclaimed gospel singers. While still in her early 20s she formed the Caravans, which launched the careers of James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar, Bessie Griffin, and others (including local disco singer Loleatta Holloway). After the group disbanded in the 70s, Walker went solo, winning a Grammy in 1995 and inheriting the title "Queen of Gospel" from her mentor Mahalia Jackson. She died October 8 after a long battle with emphysema.

Girls Rock Chicago, the organization the helms the local girls' rock 'n' roll camps, managed to shake down every cool spot in the city—including Big Star, Reckless Records, Drag City, the Empty Bottle, and Chicago Tattoo—for hot-shit items for its fall fund-raising auction. Biddables include a complete set of festival posters from Pitchfork, a subscription to Threadless's monthly T-shirt club, Gories tix, and, perhaps most notably, the services of Mark Greenberg (Coctails, Archer Prewitt), who will write, perform, and record a personal theme song for a lucky winner. The auction is October 21 at Red & White Wine Shop in Wicker Park; tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Details are available at girlsrockchicago.org.

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