Residents | Lakeshore Theater | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Wed., Oct. 15, Thu., Oct. 16 and Fri., Oct. 17, 8 p.m. 2008
I don’t know whether this Bay Area avant-garde collective, active for almost four decades, has always been ahead of its time or whether it simply exists in a universe where time works differently. The Residents’ jumpy, restlessly futuristic music, like gibberish made lyrical, qualifies as pop only by the loosest possible definition, and their faceless personas deliberately cancel their charisma—not even the supernerds who embraced Frank Zappa and Devo have glommed onto the band en masse. Nobody except the Residents themselves knows how many original members remain; the “personnel change” everyone remembers is the theft of one of their famous eyeball masks in 1985 and its replacement by Mr. Skull. But that anonymity, assuming it works to blunt ego-driven conflicts and insulate them from scrutiny, may be what’s allowed them to keep throwing shit at the walls for all these years—and a lot of it still sticks, in strange and kaleidoscopic patterns. Their current project, The Bunny Boy (Santa Dog/Mute), exists as a record, a set of online videos that inspired the record, and this stage show inspired by both. Sonically it’s on point—the music’s a sort of arch, prickly alien cabaret—but lyrically the band seems to be playing catch-up, addressing obsession and apocalypse and the Internet and the fragmentation of identity, all well-flogged topics in this age of the blog as performance art. —Monica Kendrick

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