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The Aquabats 

Friday, August 12; Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois)

A decade ago, wacky ska preceded bling-bling rap as an ostentatiously decadent musical movement. With choreographed horn sections inflating their ranks like air-filled cheeks, groups in this sub-genre traveled in trailers instead of tour vans. But brass is a luxury metal that ska bands can no longer afford. Downsized players don dingy suits and hold signs reading "will blow for food," "honk if you're horn-y" or "tromBoner for hire." Madcap to the end, bless their souls.

Once an octet, the Aquabats have slimmed to a five-piece and ditched ska for zippy synthesizers and sci-fi guitar leads. But even without tooting trumpets, this group could out-goof Gallagher. All of the song titles on its recent release, Charge!!, end with exclamation points, much like lines of dialogue in a MAD movie parody. Live, the masked Aquabats wear matching wetsuits and toss party favors into the audience. Even in tight-budget times, zaniness dies hard.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 618-274-6720 for more information.

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