XBXRX | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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When you grow up in Podunk, you've got to make your own fun, be it downing your friends' antidepressants with a bottle of Robitussin or forming a band. XBXRX, four lads and a lass from Mobile, Alabama, went the latter route--though their epileptic guitar jams and Gymkata dance moves might suggest they also went the former. Their CD Gop Ist Minee (on Kill Rock Stars's noisy little sister label, 5 Rue Christine) has elicited comparisons to Brainiac, which isn't entirely unreasonable: keyboards blast death rays over frantic guitars while the unintelligible singing escalates from prepubescent sniveling to angst-ridden screamo. But XBXRX's live act is way more interesting than their CD. They spend maybe a third of their 15-minute set onstage; the rest of the time they're hugging their fans or dancing with them, spraying silly string, throwing M&Ms, climbing walls--or trees, when available--or rolling around on the floor. Sometimes they set up a wall of cardboard boxes and bust through it like the Kool-Aid Man. In response, audience members have been known to throw vegetables, sit on the drummer's shoulders, and rip off the musicians' cute matching pants. At the end of a performance, instruments and amplifiers lie in heaps and band members are often banged up too: self-inflicted wounds necessitated multiple emergency room visits on last summer's tour (good thing one of the kids brought dad along for the ride). If you're in the mood, an XBXRX gig can be exhilarating, but if you're a chin scratcher you'll only go home with a migraine. They open for Unwound and Drums and Tuba (see Spot Check). Friday, August 31, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Saturday, September 1, 8 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.


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