SSM, Muldoons | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

SSM, Muldoons 

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In some ways Detroit trio SSM sound like they're trying to be a nouveau disco band; they have the beat and hi-hat heat, but otherwise they miss the target entirely. Not that you can say exactly what it is these guys are up to: Their full name, Szymanski Shettler Morris, is a straight 70s-prog nod, and the artwork for their self-titled debut on Alive rips off the nude-girls-on-rocks thing from Houses of the Holy--only these ladies are buxom, have cockatiel heads, and are posed next to a spaceship against a nuclear sky. The band members all came up in Detroit's garage scene--they've played in the Hentchmen, the Sights, and the Cyril Lords--but now they're riffing on some fardled deep-space electro-rock. It's like watching Brainiac prance around in Mick Jagger's football pants and Capezios: oh so wrong, but somehow oh so right. --Jessica Hopper

The guitar-wielding terrors in the Muldoons are ages 9 and 13, and the drummer is their 47-year-old dad, but this trio is no novelty act. Shane and Hunter Muldoon learned guitar from Jack White, and they've absorbed not only some of his aptitude for big, loud riffs but also his unhinged stage persona (though maybe that's just a side effect of giving loud guitars to hyperactive kids). That they've been accepted by virtually all the grown-ups in Detroit's garage scene--and get better gigs than a lot of bands I know--is proof that they actually rock. It hurts to admit that these kids are so much cooler than you, but don't try to outdo them. You'd probably sprain something. --Miles Raymer

SSM headlines, the Watchers play second, and the Muldoons open. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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