Zach Weinberg has a background in D.I.Y. punk, but if you come to his show this week he's going to expect you to dance.
"I get a little nervous inviting friends from the punk scene to these shows," Weinberg says. "It's nerve-wracking to show them my other side. Our first show was right before Thanksgiving, playing with [Chicago band] Young Man. I'm always afraid the punks aren't gonna wanna dance. But people were really moving. It was great."
Weinberg is a transplant from Toledo, Ohio. His drumming propels the piercing noise-rock of Cloud Mouth. He's in college at DePaul and has been touring the nation's low-level punk scene since his early teens.
But a funny thing happened before he left Toledo nearly four years ago. He discovered Motown.
with Andy Marchel & the Cocaine Rainbow, and Delmar & the Dedications
• 8 p.m. Thursday
• Liar's Club, 1665 W. Fullerton
"I started delving into this '60s girl-group stuff, and the [British] Northern soul sound, and really getting into it," Weinberg says. "Some of it just fell into my lap, a couple of very obscure various-artist collections, something called like 'Girl Groups of the 1960s.' It had mainstream stuff -- the Supremes, the Chiffons, Lesley Gore -- but also a lot of these groups that put out one 45 single and you never heard from them again. It was like what [Chicago archive label] the Numero Group does, digging up this really obscure -- but still really great -- stuff and giving it another chance."
So Weinberg embarked on his own numero uno mission: a side project that would revive the golden age of pop-soul, but with a punkish twist. The band he formed and fronts for this purpose, the fledgling new Delmar & the Dedications (with bassist Peter Murphy, guitarist Mike Rogers and drummer Marc Howell), began performing hits from Motown and lesser environs but with the guitars cranked up and the vocals distorted.
These included covers like the Chiffons' "I Have a Boyfriend," which Weinberg has the stones to sing with the original pronouns. "You couldn't change it to 'I Have a Girlfriend.' That would just sound sad. It's a different expression entirely."
Now Delmar & the Dedications are writing original material in the same vein, and it's fun stuff. Echoing the post-punk spirit Elvis Costello brought to soul music on 1980's "Get Happy!," Delmar & the Dedications' debut EP, "The Mansion Sessions," reels with R&B grooves and catchy melodies, all of which is neatly (and without a gimmicky feel) trimmed with vocal fuzz and guitar static. It sounds like something the ROIR cassette-only label would have released in 1984.
"Mansion Sessions" can be heard here.