Critic's Choice

Dance Hall Crashers, Wednesday, September 22, at the Bluebird Theater, are led by singers Elyse Rogers and Karina Denike, whose voices sound as if they were piped straight from a U.S.O. fete in 1943. In this band, though, the musical accompaniment is where the "crash" comes in. With ska-punk and manic pop anthems underlying Rogers and Denike's harmonic crooning, it's unlikely that audience members will be moved to embrace one another in a slow-moving waltz. The Dance Hall Crashers were formed in 1989 by Operation Ivy members Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman, who soon turned in their dancing shoes and started Rancid. The remaining Crashers, now with Rogers at the helm, regrouped and continued to perform; after adding Denike, they released Lockjaw in 1995. The group garnered more attention with 1997's Honey, I'm Homely, an album that featured their characteristic witty lyrics, bratty attitude and retro-kitsch image that wooed fans of both ska and swing during the recent high tide of these musical styles. The Crashers, now touring in support of their latest release, Purr, put on a frenetic live show that proves that their smooth-edged punk is anything but a gimmick. -- Jenny Shank


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