The Negress’ adopted home of Chicago has become clotted with festivals (Pitchfork and Lollapalooza are the most annoying). Any event where portable outdoor toilets are alcohol are featured are totally skip-worthy to yours truly. However, the HoZac Blackout Fest, which kicks off tonight at the Empty Bottle and runs through Sunday, features three of my favorites
performers because of how they fit into my musical history. The Negress has loved power pop since forever, even driving to Zion, IL some 30 years to interview Shoes, who remain studio wizards but should avoid playing live at all costs (check out the video accompanying this story). But there’s more to this genre than Rockford’s Cheap Trick and those guys. Pezband, who got their start at Oak Park High School some 40 years ago, are playing Sunday night before Dwight Twilley (cue choir of French horns as Negress looks Heavenward) closes things out.
The Pezzers have a new EP that’s been heard by some insiders and it’s as crisp and leanly brilliant as their previous outings. The Negress suspects that one of the reasons the band hasn’t gotten as much of its due, especially in its hometown, is that the lineup has been a bit fluid over the years. Plus, catching a break is very helpful in this line of work, and breaks for them have kind of glanced off the glove rather than being caught. The Negress is urging you to come out Sunday. She will be there in full force.
Oh, and the rest of the lineup isn’t exactly shabby either. Dorchester’s own Unnatural Axe with frontman Richie Parsons, takes the Negress back to her daze in Boston, drinking vodka and writing for a defunct weekly. Parsons once kicked a friend of hers in the head right before brain surgery and saved her a haircut. Maybe you don’t want get that close, but there will be fun to be had. They’re headlining on Friday and on the bill with them is The Make-Overs, who have journeyed here from South Africa.It’s all going to be good but make sure you’re there on Sunday. As 20/20 once memorably sang, “Everybody was really groovy. Everybody had tight pants on.”