Radio 4 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Radio 4 

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No points for guessing where Radio 4 are coming from musically: they share their name with one of the best songs on Public Image Ltd.'s classic 1980 album Second Edition. On their own excellent second record, Gotham! (Gern Blandsten), the Brooklyn quintet run through every trick in the postpunk book, from the Gang of Four guitar splinters of "Our Town" to the conga-led punk-funk of "Struggle" to the spiky dub of "Pipe Bombs." What distinguishes these guys from fellow agitators like !!! or the Rapture, who seem happy enough sticking to the time-honored traditions of partying and rocking out, is that Radio 4 add a political element--they want us up, into it, and involved. The vague language of the band's activism seems designed to connect with malcontents of all stripes: bassist Anthony Roman and guitarist Tommy Williams's vocals are mostly indecipherable, aside from all-purpose catchphrases like "The new recruits will be around forever" (from "Calling All Enthusiasts") and "Get behind the struggle right now" ("Struggle"). Uh, yeah guys, I'll be right along--as soon as I figure out which struggle you're talking about. On the other hand, it's pretty easy to figure out the message of "Our Town"--they're spewing bile at former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who revived a Prohibition-era law banning dancing in bars that don't have a license for it. Wonder what they'll find to say about new mayor Michael Bloomberg, who just suspended plastic and glass recycling in the city. Wednesday, July 17, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace; 773-478-4408.


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