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The Czech Republic’s Plastic People of the Universe have been through more than the average rock band’s struggles over money and guitar tone. Thanks to an unconventional sound influenced by Frank Zappa—not to mention oppressive Czechoslovakian Communist rule—the group worked underground for much of the ’70s and ’80s. Some members spent time in jail for “organized disturbance of the peace,” and their arrests directly inspired the founding of Charter 77, a prominent opposition movement against the Communist regime. The fall of Communism improved the Plastic People’s fortunes, of course; now the group is celebrated as a linchpin in modern Czech history, even playing D.C. as guests of the Czech embassy in 2005. Though main composer Milan Hlavsa died in 2001, the band still plays the melodic, accessible brand of experimental rock that made it a Cold War cult favorite. THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE PERFORM AT 8:30 P.M. AT iota club & cafe, 2832 WILSON BLVD., ARLINGTON. $15. (703) 522-8340. —Brandon Wu