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The Fucking Champs 

With Zombi, Boy Jazz, and Dirty Lords. Friday, May 27, at the Beachland Ballroom.

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For headbangers, VH1 Classic's Saturday-morning Metal Mania marathon justifies a cable subscription. The show doesn't differentiate between aerosol-addled '80s fluff and turbulent thrash, which means that Slaughter and Slayer segue uneasily into each other. The Fucking Champs sound like an instrumental medley of the program's playlist, with pop-friendly power-chord progressions abruptly yielding to vicious riffs and Iron Maiden's fantasy worlds colliding with Motörhead's biker-bar grit. Ridiculous song titles ("Thor Is Like Immortal") suggest Spinal Tap sensibilities, but the Champs' aggressively rocking compositions are more "Iron Man" than ironic. Former Nation of Ulysses axeman Tim Green and Josh Smith swap solos and unite for high-volume harmonies, and Tim Soele's drumbeats rumble like cannon fire, with at least one explosive strike per song. The Champs haven't released an album since 2002's V (other than an electronically enhanced collaboration with Trans Am's fellow wordless weirdos), so this tour has little to do with promoting product. It's all about reducing stages to splinters, with stadium-sized songs expanding inside ill-equipped clubs.

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