JELLO BIAFRA & GUANTANAMO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE at SUMMIT | 12/31 Jello Biafra first came to the attention of the world as the charismatic, hyperkinetic and relentlessly intelligent frontman of the Dead Kennedys. Never one to mince words, Biafra became a lightning rod with his unapologetic critiques of the regressive swing of American culture in the '80s, as well as the effects of the country's imperialistic ambitions. In his latest band, Biafra is joined by Victims Family's Ralph Spight and Andrew Weiss (who played in the Rollins Band for years as well as Ween and Butthole Surfers). The group's latest album, White People and the Damage Done, may sound like a cross between power pop and fuzzed-out punk, but the title of the album and the irreverent, pointed lyrics are proof that Biafra hasn't lost his touch.
TUES | THE DWARVES at MOE'S ORIGINAL BBQ | 12/31/13 Starting out in Chicago as the Suburban Nightmare, the Dwarves quickly ditched their early hardcore sound for something less narrow. The band subsequently cultivated a perverse sense of humor and a stage show worthy of GG Allin, and the members played out under such pseudonyms as HeWhoCannotBeNamed and Blag Dalia -- like mock serial-killer counterparts to the Misfits. Seemingly bent on offending everyone, the Dwarves were notorious for tasteless album art and a stunt in which they announced the death of HeWhoCannotBeNamed with a tribute to the "late" guitarist in the liner notes of 1993's Sugarfix, which caused their label to drop them. What's lost amid the scandalous on-stage behavior and pranks is the fact that the Dwarves are a potent live band to this day, performing some of the only legit punk rock left.
SUN | SUICIDAL TENDENCIES at FOX THEATRE | 12/8/13 One of the early adopters of thrash and even funk elements in its punk rock DNA, Suicidal Tendencies had a longer career than many of its peers from the early hardcore days, and it even enjoyed a period of relative commercial success in the early 1980s. The band's left field hit single "Institutionalized" became an anthem for disaffected youth for generations, and may even be more recognized than its 1992 hit, "Nobody Hears." The group's 1987 album Join the Army helped to define the sound of crossover, and the 1992 album The Art of Rebellion broke Suicidal to the mainstream. Still a powerful and fun live act, Suicidal released its thirteenth album, 13 earlier this year.
SAT | LEFTÖVER CRACK at GOTHIC THEATRE | 12/28/13 After the breakup of Choking Victim in the late '90s, Scott Sturgeon focused on Leftöver Crack, which was initially a bit of a solo project but became a full band by the time it released its 2001 debut. That album was to have been titled Shoot The Kids At School, but the label refused to release an album with that name and instead issued Mediocre Generica. The band's next album, 2004's Fuck World Trade, was released by Alternative Tentacles. An unabashed screed against the political climate at the time, the record's cover art was banned in many commercial music chains across the country because of its depiction of American and U.K. leaders causing 9-11. Not long after the release of the album, Leftöver Crack went on an effective hiatus, with Sturgeon (aka Stza) performing solo shows and in other projects, but in the last couple of years, the band has been back to touring.
THURS | RADKEY at BLACK SHEEP | 12/19/13 No one is entirely sure how a group of teenagers formed a punk band akin to the legendary proto-punk outfit Death. But that's the vibe of Radkey, a soulful punk rock band of literal brothers from St. Joseph, Missouri. Though touring with Red Fang, it's likely these guys will earn new fans at every show for the sheer enthusiasm and energy of the shows. Plus, the band's songs will make you wonder what year it is, where this music is coming from until you realize it doesn't matter because what you're seeing is one of the best rock and roll bands going right now.
SAT | WEEKEND NACHOS at GOTHIC THEATRE | 12/14/13 Chicago's Weekend Nachos has become a bit of a legend in grindcore circles since its 2004 inception. Sometimes referred to as "power violence," these guys aren't always hitting breakneck speeds in their pacing. In that way, the group's brutal and hard-hitting sound recalls acts like BrutalTruth, Nailbomb and Man is the Bastard. Shredding the hypocrisies of conventional wisdom and unquestioned social norms, with a heavy dose of irreverent humor and a willingness to laugh at themselves, Weekend Nachos also delivers an eruptive and intense live show. The outfit's latest album, 2013's Still, makes no bones and spares no sacred cows.