Music » Critics' Picks

Sounds of the Underground

Saturday, July 9; Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois)


The Warped Tour sucked this year, and Ozzfest is skipping the Midwest, even though the people here bleed metal like melting androids. Valiantly, the Sounds of the Underground tour cherry-picks the best of these negligent annual bonanzas, merging groups from the heavier side of the punk spectrum with speed-soloing hellspawn. Opeth -- which leads the bill in total hair length -- tempers its savage shredding with eerily eye-of-the-storm instrumental passages and occasional forays into artfully shattered acoustic laments. Strapping Young Lad, fronted by manic Dio doppelganger Devin Townsend, delivers darkness-imprisoned riffs and shooting-gallery percussion. Norma Jean twists its inscrutable hardcore compositions until they become revelatory -- and loves the Lord for good measure.

Less devout is GWAR, whose stage blood should feel as welcome as lawn-sprinkler drops on a Hades-hot summer day. Poison the Well's breakdowns could crack cement, and Cleveland's Chimaira recently lost almost an entire album's worth of material when a studio hard drive failed, leading to sets that should have extra cathartic kick. That makes six standout acts -- more than Ozzy and Vans Inc. combined could muster this year -- with twelve other high-volume groups still left to peruse.

Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $29 to $34; call 618-274-6720 for more information.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.