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Thursday, Feb. 3, 2005 11:44 pm

now playing 2-3-05


“Write because you have to, because you have no other alternative. Otherwise, it’s just absurd ego-masturbation and a slap in the face to sweet mother dignity.” Ñ Otep

Well, let’s start with that and see where it goes. It’s a quote from a poet named Otep (scramble those letters, boys) who also happens to front a hardcore heavy-metal band by the same name.

According to the group’s Web-site message board, more than a few fans in Chicago are disappointed that the band chose to play Springfield and not the bigger city. (In fairness, one kind fan did say that it was OK because smaller towns needed the chance to see this group.)

That’s the thing about Otep: They inspire people. Many of the messages are expressions of gratitude from elated fans who have been somehow enriched by the band. E-mail addresses such as “Fornication of BLOOD,” “metalchick409,” “suicide hurts,” and “MISTER-FILTHEE” suggest that Otep fans have a particular bent, but they aren’t all that way.

What is it about this group that excites folks in a way others do not? Here’s a description from their Web site of how she (Otep the poet) feels about the upcoming tour: “we leave for the Alliance of Defiance tour . . . roughly 40 shows in 49 days . . . a blistering, dissident cabaret . . . celebrating uniqueness . . . destroying popular culture . . . with violent storms of cathartic emotion   . . . & waves of pious, poetic, pagan revelry.”

Wow, if they succeed at half of that, perhaps they’ll deliver the revolution they so desire. With other slogans such as “Art is war — expect casualties,” “Destroying popular culture one mind at a time,” and “Your suffering will free you,” the group is obviously on a mission.

Whether that mission is successful (or even necessary) is another story. But I’m thinking that the all-ages show might be a good place to take the kids, perhaps bringing new understanding to the dinner-table talks. But remember, Dad: No mosh pits or crowd-surfing. Not only is it embarrassing to the kids, but the concert promoters have also prohibited it.

Budweiser True Music Live & WQLZ (92.7 FM) present Otep — with American Head Charge, Candiria, and Autumn Offering — in an all-ages show at the Warehouse Events and Convention Center, 2548 S. First St., at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. Tickets, which cost $15, are available at Penny Lane, Shaner’s Tire, the Rockshop, and the House of Brews.

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