Headache City | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Headache City 

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These locals have only gotten around to releasing their self-titled debut now, after gigging for almost three years, but it's certainly worth the wait. Like all right-thinking punks, they keep it under half an hour, and the catchy, gloriously raucous songs are moderately complex but never too fancy to work as fun-time rock. Over urgent, no-frills backbeats, drony vintage-keyboard blare jostles against big, clean clang-a-lang guitar lines--a sound sometimes reminiscent of Black Randy & the Metrosquad or the Damned. Guitarist Mike Fitzpatrick and bassist Dave Head, former bandmates in the White Outs, trade lead vocals, and keyboardist Norah Utley does a touch of backup singing; this is the first band for both Utley and drummer Lisa Roe (unless you count Utley's short-lived air-guitar fiasco, Airbrush). Utley also runs Shit Sandwich, a small local label whose consistently great releases and cool record covers (four of which Head designed) have quickly earned it a rep among self-respecting punks and vinyl hounds worldwide--seven-inches that came out less than two years ago are already fetching more than $50 on eBay. It's tempting to assume that Headache City is a vanity release for Utley, but it's top-shelf quality, like everything else she's put out. This is a record-release party. The Turpentine Brothers and the Submarine Races (the new band from Ian Adams of the Ponys and Happy Supply) open. Fri 2/3, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.


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