Myles, either introspective, or just plain strung out
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
Understatement of the year: thems boys was strung out. But in a good way.
Sometimes when you're completely strung out, all you've got left is music and mayhem, and the Uptowner is the correct bar to host such a thing. Totally different feel: more of the kind of loud, high-ceilinged, corner tap you'd expect this kind of band in. Being in Riverwest, it has a touch of artsiness, and it's loaded with Riverwest characters.The names change, the roles don't: local artsy girls, the neighborhood drunk, the up and coming scenesters, the old hippies -- they all put in an appearance at Steve Johnson's establishment at least weekly, if not (in the case of This Decade's Drunk) nightly.
Artwork from, among others, Mike Fredricksen on the walls, an ever changing bathroom, a 1960s cigarette machine back by where the band plays (which used to be an old style barbershop), and the likelihood that there were people there even more strung out than the band (but for different reasons).
This by nature was a louder crowd, and a more demanding one, but the McTavishes pushed through their exhaustion and delivered the goods. Their forays into recognizable rock tunes were even more desperate --Cotter's rendition of "London Calling" was hoarsely and effectively still on key -- and Mullen took his twelve-string into another dimension on "Sky Pilot." Bob Jorin did all he could to keep from completely morphing into John Enthwistle on this one song that I could swear was "Substitute"( with maybe a slight bridge change and different lyrics), and when the hands were called, Brian Kurzinski put down his tin whistle and answered the question "What if Clarence Clemons sat in with the Pogues for a few nights?" And Shurilla? Here was a place where Shurilla can be Shurilla, because he is expected to be Shurilla at the Uptowner : going off on tangents, cracking inside jokes that everybod in the room got, introducing the band with terms that could be endearing only for people who know 'em, dropping Johnson's name every chance he could get, and keeping his cool when said neighborhood drunk tried to take it too far toward the end.
Oh, and spotted in the audience, my worthy replacement in the Psychobunnies, Brian Wurch recruiting bands for MOMBOB2 -- the Milwaukee Original Music Battle of the Bands. Rock on, Rev Leisure!