Shoplifting | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Shoplifting 

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Devin Welch's life as a band member has been almost comically cursed. Every group he's helped get off the ground--the Vogue, the Soiled Doves, and the Chromatics--has been hailed as the second coming of postpunk in the northwest, only to burn out shortly after one album. For his latest combo, Shoplifting, Welch has reteamed with Chromatics drummer Hannah Blilie, also of the Gossip. On their debut, Body Stories (Kill Rock Stars), the personal-is-political party line of their old band is still raging, as are the gender polemics, even if the exact intent of a song like "Male Gynecology" is tough to figure out. But their familiar Huggy Bear-inspired spazzy kid electricity seems to have mellowed with age. The music is skronky and dissonant, but it's also spacious and playful, with guy-girl pass-the-mike vocals and haphazard dub overtones that recall Throbbing Gristle and late-period Slits. Blilie shies away from typical dancey rhythms and goes instead for fluid, galloping beats with long, inventive drum fills. Here's hoping they make it through the summer. The Scalpels headline, the Punks play second, and Shoplifting opens. Fri 4/28, 8 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, 312-850-1049, $7. All ages.

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