Coming up on a Happy(er) New Year
But I did see a lot of favorites, old and new this weekend. Starting Friday, the snow died down and I trudged out to see Chief, who brought the rock as only they say they can, at the Stonefly. Aesthetically, I love that room. It's fun to photograph in, it's roomy (so the smoke doesn't get to you), the beer selection (including the house brews) is wonderful and reasonably priced, seating is comfortable and plentiful. Acoustically, it's a nightmare. God, how did Loblolly fans put up with my already high reliance on high end? That room, with its high solid ceiling and cement floor, is a high-end horror. Bounce bounce bounce goes the sound, and this isn't a diss on the sound guy, either. I'm talking to Buggs drummer Chris Lehmann, and we both agree, what a "challenge" to try to mix in this room.
Nevertheless, Chief brought the rock, ending a year when I learned about them on a lark and now I'm a fan. I like them because they are so unabashedly in love with their kind of music, and have won me back to straight up, pulsating Amerikan Rawk And Roll because of this enthusiasm. They're fierce entertainers, and they will
put hair and metal spikey things on or around your chest.
Revolush was next. I'd met Tommy from Revolush at a Kneevers' Compound party, he handed me their CD, and I listened to it. The CD does not seem to represent this band's sound -- or maybe the band's just reinvented themselves since they made this recording, because the band on stage was this powerful, almost glam poppy metal combo, rather than just the power pop on the record. Singer Tommy has the vocal and dynamic range of Ronnie James Dio, and he uses it well, combined with a stage presence that was meant for a bigger room, that's for sure. He fronts a band that's tight, and knows how to write a variety of songs that compliment each other, but still maintain a cohesive sound. Not a dancin' band, to be sure, but a good headbanging band with a lot of emphasis on hooky, catchy melody.
Rounding out the night were the Buggs, with special guest melaniejane (lower case intentional) on electric cello, and it sounded great. Not that they need her, but her cello is a George Martin-ish frosting on the punk cake the Buggs mix with Lennon-McCartney. It was a nice way to end the evening as well -- after so much rock, much of it new, it was nice to end with something familiar, some Milwaukee punk stalwarts easily and comfortably rendering great pop from my youth. The set unfortunately got cut short because bar time was looming near, so I didn't get to hear "Edmund Fitzgerald" (which I peeked and saw was on on their setlist), but it was still a warm and fuzzy way to spend an evening with friends. Spotted in the crowd: Janna Blackwell, coming down from her set at Potbellys, Roni Allwaise, coming down from her set at the BBC, Paul "The Fly" Lawson, coming down from the big tattoo show at the BBC (where Allwaise's Guido's Racecar played with Binky Tunny and others), and earlier in the night, Blaine Schultz stopped in earlier proudly bearing copies (finally!) of the new Aimless Blades CD, which I can tell you sounds great in the car. (Full review later -- but overall, it's happy(ER) than you normally get from them. You could almost say upbeat.)
Thank God for the Mighty Deerlick. They're just as snotty, off-the-cuff clever as usual, and it was a "Pseu Year's Eve" party, complete with leis, noisemakers, and silly party hats. Only four T-Shirt changes on Dave tonight, though, and I've shot him enough (he is visually fun for photogs, tho) that this blog around, I'll feature Guitarist Bob, who admits he's the "new(est)" guy in the bunch. Bought Czelticgirl that beer (a goodone Anne, don't make me buy you one of those Miller Lites you otherwise drank all evening -- pshaw!).
Another bathroom anomoly I noticed while taking a "Self Portraits in Rock and Roll Restrooms group portrait, was the fact that apparently the kitchen may not have it's own dishwashing station, as evidenced by these instructions in the women's restroom. Oh well, I'm not going to get on their case about this: they had enough issues with a sudden demand to show IDs, as if every bar in Bay View isn't already walking on eggshells over the holiday weekend step-up in liquor law enforcement.
As for tomorrow, lots of people are gearing up for the annual Polar Bear Swim near Bradford Beach, but that's almost old news. I'm not even shocked by that anymore. Bay View to the rescue with something even crazy(er). Meeting at the Palimino at 11 am tomorrow, a group of bicyclists purport to one-up the Polar Bears by riding their bikes into Lake Michigan. At least that's what the poster at Garibaldi says. I'm not clear if they're going to cowabunga off some dock, or just ride slowly off a boat launch or what, but here's the best part: they've done this before. This is the 2nd Annual Bicycle Polar Plunge. Just when I'm wishing I still lived on the Fashionable East Side, somebody down in Bay View re-ignites my southern pride.