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6

THURSDAY

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Bible Belt towns might not be safe for punk rockers, but they sure know how to breed ’em. The members of the Gossip now live in the indie promised land of Olympia, Wash., but they found their raucous blooz mojo while growing up in Searcy, Ark., a sleepy spot known for Harding University, which claims Clinton nemesis Ken Starr as an alum. The trio’s frontwoman, Beth Ditto, combines Sleater-Kinney snarl and Southern sass, but she’s a different kind of belle: Her songs are about being big, being queer, and loving every minute of it. “They may run us out of our hometown/But they’ll never ever keep us down,” she hollers to her Searcy sisters in “Arkansas Heat,” the title track to the band’s new EP, Arkansas Heat. Guitarist Nathan Howdeshell and drummer Kathy Mendonca are equally brash—they obviously believe in the gospel of organized chaos. The Gossip bares its soul with Chromatics and Del Cielo at 8:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW. $9. (202) 667-7960. (Joe Warminsky)