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Mest

Thursday, February 16, 8 p.m. at Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois)

Unless you still hope that the cashier at the liquor store doesn't confiscate your fake ID as you stock up on cheap booze for the weekend, you probably have no idea who Mest is. In fact, since Simple Plan and New Found Glory hog the whine-punk quota on TRL and radio, this Chicago quartet has to settle for being a lean, mean, pogo-pop touring machine. (Past tourmates have included hotter-than-hot tween idols Fall Out Boy and Hawthorne Heights.) Still, with so much road-tripping under its members' spiked belts, why does Mest still languish in tattooed anonymity? The main problem is a lack of distinguishing cleverness. Any gimmick they employ — midgets (on the cover of their major-label debut), a fashion line (Dead End Clothing) or high-profile guest stars (Good Charlotte's Benji Madden on "Jaded") — Blink 182 took to grander and cruder heights first. Even the band's promisingly titled "Richard Marxism" is a disappointment, focusing not on the mulleted '80s heartthrob but on generic grumbling about being scared of commitment.

 
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