Concert preview: Garage-rock duo White Mystery keeps the music light even at its heaviest

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From the April 3, 2014 edition

Chicago’s sister-brother duo borrowed its name from a flavor of Airheads candy, so it shouldn’t surprise that the two bring the same sense of childhood fun to their manic garage-rock output. On last year’s Telepathic the two turned in one song that could have passed for a playground taunt (“Buttheads from Mars”), and another where guitarist Miss Alex White and drummer Frances White took turns impersonating a jungle cat, letting loose a series of primal roars. This isn’t to say White Mystery doesn’t take its music seriously. Alex, she of the red mushroom cloud ’fro, is an unnaturally skilled guitarist, capable of laying down a hip-shaking rhythm or ripping up tile with a rumbling solo, and Francis, who sports a similarly explosive hairdo, propels the music forward with muscled fury. Rather, following a stretch in her early 20s defined by tragedy (the guitarist’s first two groups ended abruptly when band members died), Alex merely sounds determined to embrace music as a joyous, live-in-the-moment pursuit. Mission most decidedly accomplished.

Day Creeper, The Fuzz and Dirty Fences also perform.

Diane Alexander White photo