Dirtbombs | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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As front man for Detroit's semilegendary trash rockers the Gories, guitarist Mick Collins often betrayed his love for vintage soul and R & B, and his current band, the Dirtbombs, takes that fascination to its logical extreme. The band's recently released second album, Ultraglide in Black (In the Red), revisits the nexus of primitive soul and rock 'n' roll the Isley Brothers explored in their early days, injecting a downright brutal garage-rock mentality into classic material by Smokey Robinson, Sly Stone, Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic, and the O'Jays, among others. There's only one original on the album (the organ-stoked stomper "Your Love Belongs Under a Rock"), but with their unusual instrumentation--two drummers and two bassists back up Collins on guitar, the first bass casting a deep rhythmic anchor, the other fuzzed out to produce a gut-rumbling melodic voice--the Dirtbombs make every song their own. It doesn't all work--they're no match for the deeply ingrained personality of Stevie Wonder's "Livin' for the City," and their reggae version of Curtis Mayfield's "Kung Fu" is miserably ham-fisted--but their supercharged assault and Collins's ragged, soulful shout are pretty hard to resist. Friday, August 10, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Anderson.


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