West Fest: Oblivians, Derrick Carter, Diz, Born Ruffians, Jevon Jackson, Baathhaus, and others | Chicago between Damen and Wood | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader
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West Fest: Oblivians, Derrick Carter, Diz, Born Ruffians, Jevon Jackson, Baathhaus, and others All Ages Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., July 14, 1 p.m. 2013
Price: $5 suggested donation
Memphis legends the Oblivians broke up in 1998, not long after releasing Play Nine Songs With Mr. Quintron, and all three members have been wrapped up in other pursuits ever since. Greg Cartwright took off the with the Reigning Sound, Jack Yarber has made some great solo records as Jack Oblivian, and Eric Friedl threw himself into Goner Records, the label he’d founded in 1993; they’ve played just a handful of reunion shows, including a memorable set at Horizontal Action’s Blackout fest in 2006. But in their five short years as a band, the Oblivians set the standard for punk-fueled garage trash, elevating Neanderthal rock to a bloody-knuckled art form, colliding Sonics-style primitivism, blown-out production, and the Memphis traditions in their blood—R&B, country, rock ’n’ roll—to make a wonderfully rude and messy heap. Everything irreverent, raunchy, and unsophisticated that Horizontal Action stood for in its days as a zine, the Oblivians embodied. Last month they formalized their reunion with the release of Desperation (In the Red), reclaiming an old sound that’s never really left them—though this time it’s easier to tell whose material is whose (all three have always written and sung their own songs). The record’s also a bit tidied up, at least relatively speaking: they’ve rolled back the murky buzz so that you can easily pick out the individual guitar parts, and they’ve dispensed with much of the profanity and concomitant casual misogyny (a change that doesn’t bother me in the slightest). The music is still raw and immediate, but it lacks the go-for-broke recklessness of the early stuff, which seems totally natural given the extra 15 years of maturing these guys have done. But when they play the new stuff live—to say nothing of the old shit—I’m betting all the time that’s passed since the 90s will melt away in the heat. —Peter Margasak This set is part of West Fest; the Oblivians play at 8:30 PM. Also performing are Derrick Carter, Diz, Born Ruffians, Jevon Jackson, Baathhaus, John Simmons, Karl Almaria, Tight Phantomz, Heaven Malone, Striz, Forgotten Species, and Redgrave. The Oblivians also play at Empty Bottle on Saturday night.



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