Friday, September 23, 2011

Kultur Shock takes the edge of of Autumn shock

Fall is here and I'm accepting that, finally. Last weekend our grand plans to go to both days of Global Union, as well as the Bay View Bash, were thwarted by sheer family-fun based exhaustion. We made it to the end of Day of of GU. On our way up the hill, Sammy heard what we've been calling "jamming music"-- (and what both other people call "Gay Bar Music") -- high BPM, electronica, female voice. Trippy, at times. They were called Bomba Estereo and the female singer sound ended up sounding like it was a repeated sample, but it was all live, coming from her, which is exactly what saved this group from being another run-of-the-mill electronic ensemble. The drummer was live. The guitarist was live. They had a keyboardist who actually played these repeating arpeggios himself instead of hitting a key and letting some pre-programming do the work.

Sammy and I settled in with friends of ours and waited for Brian (who was off inspecting bands at the Bay View Bash) to arrive, as well as the band we really wanted to see, Kultur Shock. Brian reports that he saw Paul Kneevers' new outfit, Well Informed Citizens (I would expect no less of a name from him) and he said they rocked. Kneevers had that monster Hammond organ of his, and was backed by a band that was decidedly more rocking than his other project, Lovanova's jazzy lounge rock. Wish I'd seen it.

Then Kultur Shock takes the stage. Last year they were rained out, so many people were waiting to see them and they did not disappoint. How to describe? Soviet/Balkan/Gypsy heavy metal that kicks ass and yet reminds you of your gramma from da old country. The violin, saxophone, occassional clarinet and trumpet saw to that. These people understand how to take that same joy and rage that comes from the eastern bloc and channel it into a heavy sound that still evokes pieorgies and sauerkraut. Lead singer and songwriter Gino Srdjan Yevdjevich (described on their website as a "former Yugoslav pop star turned anarchist" ) is simultaneously warm, friendly, embracing .... and intense. His voice flits back and forth from the sweetness of Youssou N'Dour to the anger of any hardcore death metal singer. He's backed up by a band that gets messed up time signatures, middle eastern and baltic melodies and arpeggios, but never forget the fierce intensity that brought hardcore fans to Humbolt Park. They were simply wonderful and I wont' miss them again. Particulary fun was the two women who flanked Yevdjevich onstage, Amy Denio on sax and Paris Hurley on violin. They looked and sounded exactly like what this band is putting forth-- a punked up version of intense, folkey, metal-y gypsy music. I particularly enjoyed that Hurley looks like she's from behind the iron curtain, a beautiful girl unshaven legs and pits and all, and she doesn't give a crap as she shakes her head's birdlike haircut. Only disappointment was learning that she's actually from Arizona. I wanted her to be from Gdansk or something like that, with a name like "Svetlana." Still, great stuff.

We hit the Bay View bash and it seems like every food truck in SE Wisconsin was there, so i tried some gorumet tacos while Sammy stuck with his mainstay, Streetza Pizza. Stella joined us after a birthday party she had to hit, and we ended up enjoying another round of Dead Man's Carnival, complete with fire stick juggling. Their latest addition turned out to be a viking strong man who could drive nails into a board with his bare hands. It was a lovely way to end the evening, but we were pooped. So much so that we couldn't really brave the rain for the second day of Global union, which I'm really sorry I missed.

Tomorrow is Sammy's birthday, so I have to get ready for that. We'll spend a bunch of it at Center Street Daze, but we'll just be spectators at the kickoff, the annual Pushcart Races. As you may remember, Stella and Sammy won the speed category last year with their Poke-Kart, but Stella has retired from pushcart racing, choosing to go out as a champion. Later in the day, it's a don't miss (likely) last show with Voot Warnings, as the lifelong Milwaukeean is moving with his wonderful wife Rhonda to the Baltimore area (that's where the jobs are for them.) Then I have a young boy birthday party to get ready for.

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