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friday

If you want to get technical, the term “Big Science” refers to a period of time beginning shortly after World War II when the United States government began to grant scientific researchers huge amounts of money to develop elaborate gizmos for defense-oriented projects. But for millions of young Americans, Big Science will never be about hydrogen bombs or particle accelerators—it will be about mid-budget teen flicks. Early ’80s schlock such as War Games, Weird Science, and Real Genius saw a rehab ward’s worth of sub-brat-packers getting mixed up in Star Wars–style quagmires that were more in the spirit of Ronald Reagan than of George Lucas. Before they were old enough for Risky Business, America’s youth could only rely on My Science Project, and when the stakes were high, they had to unite in impressive displays of academic intelligence and teamwork to save the day. These feats were, more often than not, depicted in rocking montage. Pittsburgh’s Zombi is the sound of these montages. The duo’s pulsing vintage synths, icy soundscapes, and Texas Instruments rhythms perfectly complement images of young minds aligning to battle Cold War defense computers, turn Barbie dolls into superpowered supermodels, and freeze the dorm room floor for a bitching kegger. With songs such as “Night Rhythms” from its new LP, Surface to Air, the band powers up D.A.R.Y.L.’s SR-71 Blackbird and takes the listener for a 20-minute flight through the most questionable age of government-spending-inspired entertainment. Hear Zombi perform the music of yesterday’s future tomorrow when they perform with Supersystem and Partyline at 9:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Aaron Leitko)