The Pogues | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Pogues 

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Welcome to my nightmare. As a toddler, I dreamed about a hideous gap-toothed pirate, flanked by seven stranded castaways, who burst forth in unspeakably rowdy choruses and snarled about things I coudn't bear to say. Everyone I knew told me that the pirate was a bad man; I also knew that, strangely and inexplicably, he was a part of me. Imagine my surprise 20 years later, halfway through the Pogues' first album, Red Roses for Me, when I realized: Jeez, they're back! The hideous pirate incarnate, Shane MacGowan, reaches back across history to find creative outlets for his fire-breathing snarl, leading his ragged band of North London castaways through everything from Irish jigs to whiskey-stained sea songs to ancient working-class folk laments. Although the first album left me wondering whether the Pogues mere just the latest Ronald McRottens pasting received punk postures onto fast-food novelty songs, a harrowing 1985 follow-up--bearing the parent-pleasing album title Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash--left no doubts about their authenticity or originality. When MacGowan rages on his boat to nowhere like a madcap cross between Joe Strummer and Captain Ahab, he serves notice to the overly insular "alternative music" community that fury and passion were not invented in 1977. Pleasant dreams. (On this tour the Pogues win be joined by Joe Strummer of the Clash.) Saturday, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 472-0449.

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