Weekend With the rocking hipster geeks

This Saturday night is going to be some show. F/i is playing out for the first time in some 10 years and the lineup is fairly classic: Rick Franecki and Brian Wensing on guitars, Grant Richter inventor of the Wiard on electronics (this is beyond plain ol' "synths"), John Helwig on bass, and sitting in at the last minute (but still amazingly terrific) will be Jay Tiller. I heard them rehearse last night and it will be a mind-blowing show. It all came about because of a call from Scott Telles from ST37, a great spacerock band out of Austin, TX, that the F/i guys saw and met many years back at a spacerock festival weekend. Now Telles has a new project/side outfit called "My Education." They're on tour, they called Brian to see where a good place in Milwaukee to play would be, Brian called Bill Stace at the Miramar Theatre, and the next thing you know, Rick Franecki is making a rare live appearance and this is as close to the initial F/i lineup as you're going to get these days.

I remember the first time I saw F/i -- at Jack Koshick's Café Voltaire in Bay View. (The history of that place is an entirely different blog entry -- make that a totally different blog). I got off the #15 bus and even before I crossed the street, I could hear them. Walked inside, and couldn't see them, they were obscured by fog, cigarette smoke, lightshow and fans. I could feel the sound pounding out of the speakers, and it was this mix of psychedelia, industrial, krautrock, spacerock, with the operative word being rock. Lots of bands of this genre tend to space out, and forget to rock. Part of that is because a lot of other bands like this get all hung up on their synths, and forget the sweat that goes with real guitar players and real drummer. And if the band doesn't forget, the guy mixing the sound sometimes does. Not these guys. I inched my way toward the stage and, look at this! Plastic rimmed glasses! 5 1/4" floppy disks! Theramins! Oh, dear god, they're geeks! Geeky computer guys with guitars who rock! What more could a National Honor Society punk rock chick who secretely still loved prog ask for?

Look, years later, the guitar player and I met, and now, among other things, he's the father of my children, so really, I can't possibly be objective about this.

Sitter lined up, and I'll be there. Also on the bill: locals Hoss as well as a band called Mutt Junction. Hoss recommended to you by Scott Telles, Mutt Junction recommended by Bill Stace. I know nothing about these bands, but I'll vouch for recommendations by Telles and Stace any day. It's an all ages show (as most Miramar shows are) that "starts" at 8.

Friday night? If I've got the NRG, (after going with the kids to a free showing of Charlotte's Web at Pere Marequette Park), the Haz Bros have their CD release party at JJ McAuliffe's in Racine. The Haz Bros are a Tony Rogan project, and this slant is hip hop. Rogan hasn't disappointed me yet -- and if "Sniffin' Glue In India" (off their myspace page) is any indication, I'm gonna love the Haz Bros. But that's a bit of a schlep for me the day before I take the kids to the zoo and then go see the band that indirectly changed my life.


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