Bush League All-Stars | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bush League All-Stars 

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There's nothing particularly spectacular about Bush League All-Stars, which is exactly why their recent debut album, the Bob Weston-recorded Old Numbers (Pop Narcotic), sounds surprisingly fresh. Dispensing with indie rock's de rigueur obscurantism--lo-fi production, extraneous noise, antinarrative lyrics, suppression of melody, etc--this quartet from Columbus bashes out country-tinged rock filled with a bluster and passion that's somewhere between the largeness of Neil Young's Crazy Horse and the rawness of early Replacements. If you think that doesn't sound very original, well, you're right. Bush League All-Stars--fronted by Dan Spurgeon, who previously led the largely unheard rockers Greenhorn--stand out despite their anachronistic sound because they write songs with hooks, they're plenty tight, they don't overplay (one of grunge's many scourges), and they don't seem obsessed with unleashing their tortured-artist misery. Defined by what they aren't as much as what they are, they deliver a potent antidote to the doldrums of rock in an irony-filled world. Sometimes that's enough. Friday, 10 PM, Thurston's, 1248 W. George; 472-6900.

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