I don't know of any tournament-eligible current acts in Chicago. My fault, not Chicago's. I do know that Big Black is in the DNA of a whole lot of stuff coming out of a lot of places. Most records seep into your consciousness, but I remember the first time I heard Big Black down to the moment: my punkass converse hightopped self wandered into Hubba Hubba, way back when it was still by the Plough and Stars. As I recall, it was less exclusively on the Helmut Newton tip back then, but still no place where a fifteen year-old kid had business. The proprietor, I think to scare me out of the store, dropped the needle on Kerosene. I listened, and asked "What is this"? Not who, what. It took until the appearance of Il Duce on a Homestead compilation for me not to be too scared to listen. Even though a lot of stuff after sounds like it, this record still manages to sound as if it belongs to some other culture--I can imagine the giant metal insects in Starship Troopers listening to this while they sit around and pick pieces of James Van Der Beek out of their teeth. My hetero lifemate of the late 90's was a man about town and told an excellent story about BB impressario Steve Albini mailing a memo to all Chicago live music venues to the effect that he was not to be accosted, asked for identification or cover fees at any local establishment. It must be nice to think you are king. I know that you own the complete Big Black discography on pristine vinyl, original labels and pressing, but wouldn't it me nice to have some Big Black in the changer of your minivan for when you have to take the kids to the rink at, like, 4am? I guarantee Kyle and Ashley will perk right up when they hear it. So buy the useful Big Black compilation Rich Man's Eight Track Tape.
Big Black: "Kerosene" Rich Man's Eight Track Tape, (compilation) Touch & Go, 1992
Ps- If you find yourself in Chicago, attending the dedication of a statue of Steve Albini or something, and you get hungry, Blackbird is very nice, and far heartier and friendlier than you would imagine from a restaurant that Michael Jordan used to go to, and looks like an Helsinki airport lounge.