"Hey hey, my my/Rock and roll can never die," Neil Young declared, but the Chicago quartet Jonny Rumble begs to differ on the title track of its third album, "Almost Dead." Counters guitarist-vocalist Brian Webb: "There was a man named Neil Young/He said that rock would never die/He was wrong/It's almost there/It got chopped off in a barber chair/No more hair!" (Another problem, according to the band: All the fans have gone off to see the Dave Matthews Band and Nickleback.)
Thankfully, the band's protestations of the sad state of affairs musically, culturally and politically never comes off as downer whining: All of the group's sometimes obvious but not necessarily unwarranted observations are delivered over invigorating and intoxicating short, sharp shocks of pop-punk energy that are a testament to its members' roots. Webb, guitarist Patrick O'Connor, bassist Jeremy Pryor and drummer Seth Thomas are Detroit natives who moved to Chicago and became dedicated members of the local music scene several years ago, and they combine the ferocious energy and unshakeable grooves of Motown's best with Chicago's long-standing love of power-pop; think MC5 jamming with Cheap Trick, but at Ramones tempos.
If that isn't a sign of life, I don't know what is. Join Jonny Rumble as it celebrates its new release on Friday [JULY 25] by headlining at a "Rock Against Recession" gig at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., with the Sapiens, Raised on Zenith and Model K. The show starts at 9 p.m.; admission is free before 9:30 and $5 thereafter. Meanwhile, visit the band online at www.myspace.com/jonnyrumble.