The Pauses and friends pay tribute to the music and culture of 1998 for two nights at Will's Pub

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The Pauses’ annual tribute to the music of 20 years ago arrives a little late for its 1998 version, but we’re ready to give them a pass based on the potential strength of the playlist. 1998 was a weirdly great year for music. The sound and fury of the promised alt-rock revolution earlier in the decade had been defanged and polished by the corporate machine, but bands as disparate as the Offspring, Marilyn Manson and Refused leaned into it in one way or another, either by embracing it, commenting on it or vehemently rejecting it. The pop landscape got brighter with the debuts of *NSYNC and Britney Spears. The “electronica” scene (yes, that’s what we called it for a minute) saw landmark releases from Air and Massive Attack, and began to creep into the mainstream on Madonna’s Ray of Light and Fatboy Slim’s runaway hit, “The Rockafeller Skank.” And over in hip-hop, 1998 saw the release of Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s Black Star, Jay-Z’s Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life, A Tribe Called Quest’s The Love Movement and Outkast’s Aquemini all on the same day. Which is all to say that the Pauses – along with the likes of the Sh-Booms, Zap Dragon and Matt Kamm’s Tele & the Ghost of Our Lord – have their work cut out for them. Thankfully, Smilin’ Dan and our own Bao Le-Huu will be filling in the gaps with jam-packed DJ sets between the live covers for a comprehensive trip down memory lane.

with the Sh-Booms, Tele & the Ghost of Our Lord, Zap Dragon, Punctuality Award, DJ Bao, DJ Smilin’ Dan | 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 11-12 | Will’s Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $10-$12

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