Fairweather blogger

Fairweather Friends
Originally uploaded by V'ron
Remember when I used to blog at least weekly, if not more often? Now i can just about squeeze out the time to bog once a month. It's those kids, I tell ya. They're keeping me busy, and at this time intheir lives, I'm happy about it. It's been T-Ball season and what kind of mom would I be if I wasn't out there cheering on my buddy? And T-Ball, at least the Milwaukee Recreation version of it, is a fairly sweet game. They really don't have outs, everybody bats, last batter gets to sweep them all off the bases. They're 4-6 year olds, for pete's sake. When you watch, especially the 4 year olds, that's when you realize just how complicated baseball is. If the kids get the point that they're supposed to hit the ball, run to first before the ball gets there, and place nicely as a team together, it's been a good summer. And it was.
But that's taken up my Tuesday and Thursday nights, and the husband has been playing out a lot with Dr Chow, which means either pay a sitter or hang out at home or some other child friendly place on weekends. So I haven't seen as many bands as I'd like to. Instead, there was a Six Flags trip shoved into the month, numerous trips to the South Shore Farmers' market, a couple of stops to places like the Zoo and such. At least at the Zoo, it was one of those "Sunset Zoofari" nights so while we once again got to visit all sorts of wild animals, we also got to take in those musical animals, the Five Card Studs, who, like many of the other animals there, were removed from their natuaral habitat (in their case, swingin' singles lounges.) Nevertheless, they adapted. In a family friendly way, mimicking some of the newborns at the zoo, Cesar Palace brought up his own progeny, the younger Buckingham Palace, for a few songs, while encouraging the other kids to "Scream, Children, SCREAM." Being kids, they gleefully complied. It was a great night at the zoo.

And also, Chill on the Hill is really kicking in for me. Tuesday nights, up until last week, were T-Ball nights, but frankly, Chill's lineup didn't start to excite me until last week anyway. We got there too late for the Band of South Shore (a marching band ensemble from no school in particular, just kids from all over the South Shore area), and I'm sad about that, but I was just getting over this nasty stomach bug.

Speaking of bugs, what's up with the seemingly atomic mosquito invasion? But I digress.

Some folksinger chick who totally bored me and the kids was up next, but she did so some nice youth-oriented things (with a bunch of African-American youth who pretty much saved her act with their energy and enthusiasm), but I was too busy saying hello to people I haven't seen all summer to really pay attention. I told you, this whole raising kids thing has really cramped my style as a local music blogger. But then the band i came to see, the Bikiki Beachcombers, turned up onstage, along with their newest members, Damian and Betty Blexrud-Strigens a music power couple that violates my theory that married couples should never be in a band together. Somehow, they make their projects together work and that observation is displayed with Beachcombers: Damian thumps away in chararastic understated proficiency on the bass, and Betty lends her perfect voice to bring you to a paradise in Honolulu. The rest of the band is having a perfectly good time nailing down this schtick, which was great for the hour or so they were on stage, and their hula dancer, Lady Poi, helped lots of little ones get the basics of the hula. They're a fun novelty band that's really carving out a niche, and i can listen to them for about an hour before I really need something like a good punk band.

Which "Rockerbox, the annual Riverwest-based cycle festival (that's a biker event for the rest of us, not just the corporate-sponsored Harleyfests we normally get) promised to deliver. Another blogger pointed out that Rockerbox's music would be a lot deeper than the usual Steppenwolf/George Thorogood rock that you normally get at these fests and that's what I like. Of course, with all the fun kid stuff I did this month (including another visit to Pere Marquette Park to see the Wizard of Oz on the big screen, accompanied with more of those atomic mosquitoes), I had about enough time/energy to catch one band, and that band was the Fairweather Friends.

Dusty Medical Records ran the single music stage, and from what I could tell, it rocked all day. Fairweather Friends is a relatively new outfit (they debuted at the Circle A earlier this month with another recent find/favorite, Drugs Dragons) and they drew me in quickly. Great garage with two, count 'em two, keyboardists -- one on a rhodes, and othe other one what looked to be a farfisa (or at least something of that same cheap quality), to ensure a true garage sound underneath classic garage guitar playing. A lead singer who had the perfect rasp underneath his bluesy delivery and the aforementioned guitarist who also doubled as a vocal duet (he was more prominent than just a backup singer). They ahd it all -- good ballads, rocken anthems, teen-angst wailing, great classic melodies that swung back and forth. I've already "liked" them on Facebook so that I can make sure I catch them again, if I get time.

At least I got to see a few other of the Rockerbox bands via videos that people posted. Holy Sch!t (name spelled wrong to get through some internet filters) apparently turned in a tight punk set, and I'll be hunting for others. But for now, I guess I'm a bit of a fairweather blogger until I get some more energy and time. In the meantime, I'm hoping that the weather clears up for my planned excursion to that most unpretentious of Milwaukee events, State Fair. I've already waxed poetic about how i love State Fair. It's exactly what it is, and it doesn't try to be more. It doesn't claim it's the "Worlds Biggest Music Festival" even though it gets some bands and sometimes something worth going to see. No, it's rides, food on a stick, mediocre and (sometimes really good) cover, tribute, and rehashed bands, animals, smells, and, well, it's a State Fair. Watching the radar to see if the rain lets up, and packing another bottle of DEET in my purse.


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