This is a past event.

Death, Rabble Rabble, Le Tour, El Mejor 

When: Tue., Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $25, $20 in advance, $50-$80 for VIP
The story of Detroit protopunk trio Death is a good one—though not quite good enough to support the full-length 2012 documentary A Band Called Death—and it’s been told many times since 2009, when Drag City released a collection of the group’s 1975 studio recordings called . . . For the Whole World to See. The Hackney brothers were surrounded by the sounds of Motown during their formative years, but in the early 70s, when singer and guitarist David got hooked on hard-rock bands such as the Who and the Stooges, he convinced his brothers Dannis, who played drums, and Bobby, who played bass, to follow him down the same path. As Death they found no real success in their day, releasing only one scorching single, “Politicians in My Eyes” b/w “Keep on Knocking,” on a small regional label. That record came out in 1976, and a few years later the Hackneys—bitter after Columbia Records rejected them for refusing to change the band’s name—moved to Burlington, Vermont, where they became the Fourth Movement and began playing gospel rock. The Drag City release, which augmented the single with tracks made around the same time, reveals Death’s music as a precursor to punk, with more high-speed energy than fellow Detroit pioneers the MC5 and the Stooges—their style came closer to the jackhammer rhythms of Bad Brains. In 2011 Drag City scraped the barrel to release Spiritual-Mental-Physical, a collection of ten tracks recorded in the band’s home studio; the sound quality is rougher and the material isn’t as strong, but a couple of loose, jazz-informed jams make the Hackneys’ love of Jimi Hendrix clear. When the reconstituted Death played the Empty Bottle in September 2009, they fleshed out the set with material from Dannis and Bobby’s reggae band, Lambsbread—whose guitarist, Bobbie Duncan, has replaced the late David Hackney. I assume this concert, their first in Chicago since then, will include tracks from the 2011 collection. —Peter Margasak Rabble Rabble, Le Tour, and El Mejor open.

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