Critic's Choice

Punk or dub? Dreadlocks or Mohawk? Spiked leather or braided hemp? Can't make up your mind? Don't: Just head over to the Soul Brains show, Saturday, February 3, at the Ogden Theatre. There you can mosh and praise Jah in one fell swoop. The Soul Brains -- aka the original Bad Brains lineup -- changed their moniker for one of two reasons: a) a contract dispute, or b) a longtime thirst for a less menacing name. It all depends on whom you're asking. Whatever. Initially emerging from the early-'80s D.C. and New York hardcore scenes along with the Dead Kennedys and Black Flag, the Brains continue to do what they do best: oscillate between placid reggae and unruly thrash without a hint of artistic exertion, all the while balancing socially aware politics and heady grooves with religion and good ol' rawk. The band has encountered every problem in the book of rock crisis clichés -- from breakups to meltdowns to label fluctuations -- but age has had little, if any, effect on this quartet's chops.


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