Get Your Licks on Weekend 66
Gallery Night: What a reminder that we have some amazing talent right here in Milwaukee, because we spent 90% of our Gallery Night time at the fifth annual Made in Milwaukee show, this time on the second floor of the Dye House in the third ward. Before going there, we stopped into Tory Folliard, (since that gallery was right there, across the street from the free parking in the Third Ward Parking structure -- why anybody would pay $10 to pay down the street is anybody's guess). I was taken with some work from Mary Jones, and her everyday subject matter made arresting by some kind of one and two dimensional treatments. There was also some lovely, glowing stuff from a painter by the name of William Nichols, whose forest scenery was wonderfully glowing. But you know what? There was one rather large piece with a price tag of $24K, and I didn't see that high a price on works by the wonderful Tom Uttech, whose incredible forest scenery I drank in the last time I was in Folliard and was delighted to see a few months later in the MAM. And then we walked across the street to Made in Milwaukee, and saw a mix of downright cheap art from the locals, the majority of which didn't even break three digits. Frankly, I know they don't have big names yet, but a few of the Made in Milwaukee folks are seriously underpricing themselves (then again, some are right on with pricing). A lot was being created right then and there.Much of it was stuff I expected to see at Art v. Craft, but almost all of it gave me pause to ponder and stare at. The stuff at Folliard was interesting, the stuff at the Dye house was downright intriguing.
The whole Dye House building was worth our time. Sprout has Kiss and AC/DC t-shirts for infants (as well as wonderfully educational toys), and there's a terrific photography gallery that deals prints I didn't know could still be had, especially here in Milwaukee: the green eyed algerian girl from National Geographic, a still of the Beatles swimming in a pool, Jack and Jackie on Inaugeration Night, photos that absent of the fame of their subject matter were still brilliantly composed and a delight to look at. Wow, here in Milwaukee.
And upstairs, at the Made in Milwaukee, it was also a benefit for Camp Heartland, and Testa Rosa played a set of ethereal pop that brought to mind the Cocteau Twins with a rhythm section. Hungry children prevented us from catching the fashion show, but enough hip models strolling about hinted that the Fashion Ninja was hard at work. Dinner ended up being at the Ale House, who served us an outstand fish fry and one tasty cheeseburger.
Farmer's market Saturday morning: a friend was having a crawfish boil in the afternoon and the standard "What can I bring" query was answered with "Corn!" Get this -- either I was too late at the South Shore market and they sold out, or there was no corn to be had! Bummer. Right now, though, get out your zucchini recipies, because its coming in with a venegance this year. Also big right now: beets. I make this pink cream soup that features beets. Unfortunately, while it’s the pretties pink soup you ever saw, I have very few friends who like it. So if you like cream of beet soup, let me know. I love to make it, but I don't have room in the freezer for too much.
Saturday night: after an afternoon of crawfish gnawing, I settled the kids in and bounced over to Points East for an all-too-rare appearance from The Mighty Deer Lick, and I just can't get sick of them. Same old songs, but (and maybe this is because they don't play out all that often), they just seem fresh every time. Maybe its Dave Deerlick's constant clever stage banter. He mentioned last night that their crowd has grown up and older, so songs like "Dorm Room" don't ring as true (more like annoying memory), but this married mother of two who drives a late-model car is still laughing, still headbanging, still hollering along to the chorus of "Chopped Liver." While most people my age care not to admit this, many of us, like the Deer Lick, have aged but not necessarily matured. Let's just say they've/we've developed a nice punk patina, if you will.
Spotted in the crowd, Flickr/Web denizens Czeltic Girl and Chrystalblue. They helped me sort the following band out. Because the Deer Lick went on first (and I nearly missed them, putting the kiddos to bed), they weren't the headliners. That title went to Chicago visitors Frisbie. Both the mayor of Czelistan and I were yawning from our exhaustion from the week, but our spotting of the Cutest Amplifier Ever made us stay to hear what kind of sounds were going to come out of it. And of course, the line that went into the jack marked simply "instrument" led to a guitar held by the Cutest Boy ever. Sort of. These guys were Pure Pop for Now People, to borrow Nick Lowe's album title. Fundamentally, I liked them, but there's a few things about them I'd change (and of course, my changes would probably negate all the buzz they seem to be getting from the alternative press). First off, lose the ties. It's so New Wave, and they're already so pop they don't need to run the new wave in your face. The songs are infectious, and almost dangerous, but you look at them in their silk ties and the danger slips away. Second, lose the eyeliner. I shouldn't even have to explain why: this picture of their bass player looking like a cross between a serial killer and my high school chemistry teacher should tell you everything you need to know as to why they need to lose the eyeliner. Finally, I hate to say this, because I bet he's a nice guy and all and a fine keyboardist to boot, but lose the keyboardist. All it adds is hokeyness: the effects it frosts Frisbie's songs with could be done with the capable hands of the two guitarists, their effects boxes, and their cute amplifier. This was really driven home to me during a keyboard "jam" mid-set. It went on and on and on, and the next thing I knew, I felt like I was at Summerfest, listening to some mid-level band on the Miller Lite stage. Frisbie has great pop sensibilities, but I like my rock and roll to be at least a touch dangerous, and if they just lose these three things, they will be dangerously popmatic indeed.