Jesus Lizard Slithers Into Chicago

Band returns after 10-year hiatus

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Josh Keppel
    The fans in the front row had to help out as much as the bouncers did to get Yow safely back on stage each time.

    In the early '90s, the Jesus Lizard burned their brand onto the indie rock scene with a signature sound which combined searing guitars with screaming vocals. They were one of the classic Touch and Go bands and a staple of post-punk.

    They started in Austin, Texas when guitarist Duane Denison convinced former Scratch Acid bassist David Yow to sing vocals. David Wm. Sims was brought in as bass player and they soon moved to Chicago where Steve Albini produced their first EP “Pure” in 1989.
    Drummer Mac McNeilly was brought into the fold and the band began performing live that same summer. They released four powerhouse albums for Touch and Go: “Head,” “Goat,” “Liar,” and “Down.”

    Steve Albini produced all these albums with his typically heavy crushing master's touch.

    David Yow (whose distinctive screams have been compared to a kidnap victim howling through the duct tape over their mouth) is quite the front man. On stage, he is a constantly moving presence, stalking the edge and often leaping into the crowd. At some shows, he loses all his clothes.

    In 1995, the band signed to Capitol Records and did a number of performances at Lollapalooza.

    Though the Capitol years were fraught with internal turmoil and personnel changes, the band recorded two albums and an EP before breaking up in 1999.

    Ten years after their break-up, the original lineup began playing shows again in 2009.

    The band will play Chicago's Metro on Friday and Saturday, but you'll be at the mercy of scalpers because the shows are sold out. A third show has been added for New Year's Eve.