Music » Livewire

Bobby Conn

With Trans Am and the Frequency. Monday, June 7, at the Grog Shop.

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Realizing that Armageddon had not come to pass with the new millennium, as he had prophesied in 1998's apocalyptic space opera Rise Up!, Bobby Conn -- Chicago's self-identified Antichrist -- found himself artistically adrift in 2000. He considered writing his own album-length requiem, but that seemed rash.

So Conn tried to make the best of the unending world as we know it, settling on a Prince-hued, Motörheady collection of Serge Gainsbourg-style ballads called The Golden Age. The onetime underlord's powers of persuasion made schizophrenic genre-splicing feel as comfortable as a pair of well-worn velvet trousers, but Conn was ill suited to the sentimental turn his songs had taken. So he sat back and waited for things to get better -- er, worse.

Thankfully, George W. Bush's presidential term has provided plenty of gristle that a man like Conn might masticate. Returning to epic themes and diabolical schemes, Bobby Conn & the Glass Gypsies tackle the wicked world of politics on their latest, The Homeland, a glam-rock rendering of current events delivered in Conn's signature falsetto. On the bionic-glam epic "We're Taking Over the World," Conn confirms the nefarious plots hatched by the Freemasons, the Illuminati, Clear Channel, and pagan gods from outer space. "Relax" is a disco send-up of a coke party with the Texas prince of lies. "I didn't need to be elected/When I was born I was selected," sings Conn over a running hiccup of Polymoog and Fender Rhodes.

As usual, Conn's style is anything flashy, but he does it well. Unfortunately, The Homeland will not have the timeless appeal of Rise Up!, because anything shy of the Apocalypse is just fucking the pooch.

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