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The Saps 

Friday, January 7; Frederick's Music Lounge

The Web site for Chicago's the Saps gives the definition of a sap as "one who is overly sweet or sentimental." There's another meaning for the word: a double-fist hunk of leather with a lead lump inside, perfect for splitting skulls. The Saps should have gone with that one; it comes closer to describing their sound. These guys do the country-punk better than most because they don't wallow in lame pseudo-country posing. Instead, they take the emotional vulnerability and rhythms of gutbucket roadhouse tunes and juice them up with punk rawk. Singer Dan Lastick bounces between pleading and screeching, as the songs require, and does both with aplomb. The music might not literally split your skull, but it's a whole lot stronger than "sweet."

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