The Go-Go's/Redd Kross | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Go-Go's/Redd Kross 

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I don't know how they went over in Chicago, but in California, where I lived during the Go-Go's heyday in the early 80s, the band was uncritically loved by all but the most drearily hip. Unlike some girl groups I could mention, like for instance the Bangles, the Go-Go's wrote their own songs and, more important, their own hits; and despite the occasional banality of the lyrics and the palpable vapidity of lead singer Belinda Carlisle, the five-woman band's vocal attack--as distinctively redolent of its LA environs as that of spiritual ancestors the Beach Boys--and its pop energy (along with some surprisingly potent riff-making by guitarist Charlotte Caffey) were so winning you forgot about the rest. In these post-Less Than Zero days it all seems a little wishful, of course--the irony of a song like "This Town" just seems so naive; and now here they are, five years after their last album, on tour to promote a greatest-hits album. The whole thing seems cynical, I guess, but I don't care; I bet they'll be great. Added attraction: Redd Kross, the ten-year-old vehicle for the loony 70s kitsch of the McDonald brothers. The pair sport hairdos lifted from a 1973 Clairol Herbal Essence ad, and their touring bills for conditioner alone must be phenomenal. But they came of age playing with guys from local noise-crunchers like Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, and their campiness--hooks, hysterical vocals, and all--has always been driven by a loud-and-fast ethos. Manic and fun. Thursday, Riviera Night Club, 4750 N. Broadway; 769-6300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Miller.

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