We are 414 Day

Dick Satan Trio
"Milwaukee Day," April 14 (4/14 -- same as the area code, get it?) fell on a Saturday, which made it a great opportunity for a pile of local bands comprised of the kinds of people who volunteer to build communities and music scenes and whatnot to put on a marathon of music. So much of a marathon that I admit I didn't get there until about two hours in, so I missed Panic on Panic (billed as post hardcore/indie) and They Guan Us (reggae). I like both genres, and their inclusion really spoke to the point organizers were really trying to make: that there is a variety of excellent underground music going on here in the 414.  

The Grovelers
I arrived in time to see three bands that this blog hardly has to write about anymore: they are favorites of mine and I'm starting to take them for granted: the Dick Satan Trio and their dangerous surf. They insist that they're "playboy rock" and yeah, if you mean 60s hipster music used in, say, Our Man Flint (they really should learn that theme) or medium-budget monster/horror/spy movies, yea, you could call it that. But it's got that no lyrics, symbol-riding beat that spells surf. It's not a label they should shun. And then there's the Grovelers after them, dangerous in their own way, rockabilly (with emphasis on the rock) as Skip leans into the mic and growls our his screaming blues. He won't be the last guy to rock that Shure 55 that night; no, he's setting the bar with it.
The Size 5s
Both bands are just damn dangerously good, for different reasons and it was worth getting there early to catch their sets. Right after them the Size 5s scrape up their anthemic punk energy and jump all over and start a slam dance. Their Bay View pride is worn on their sleeves and guitars, and Juan Avalos gives me plenty of opportunity to yet again shoot him in mid-air as the band strikes chords in 2/2 time. Three bands I can count on being worth the cover charge, which I would have gladly paid had there been one that night. Yes, this was all a freebie, to celebrate 414 day. 

So after three exhausting sets, I'm ready to settle down, but the next act up, Zor, is ready to assault me with driving, tough punk. At least three people have pointed out to me that they opened for Luicidal ("featuring original members of Suicidal Tendencies"), and yes, I can imaging they fit perfectly on that bill. Hardcore, aggro punk, but without cookie monster vocals, they're almost a louder, angrier Size 5s. 

Camel Toe Truck
Last year, I raved about Camel Toe Truck's recording despite the fact that I hadn't seen them live yet, and I stuck around so I could remedy that. They delivered what I was hoping for, a rowdy mix of gentlemanly, swaggering white trash punk, redneck style. Strip away the schtick (the overalls, the disheveled look) and you've got a band comprised of some of the best pickers in town driving the slide guitar and wailing redneck blues. And for more fun schtick, toward the end of the set they pick up giant pipe wrenches (that I thought were just props) and use 'em as guitar slides. Effectively, at that.  I need to see them in a bigger room, where they can really spread out both musically and physically. 

The night wrapped with the latest musical offering from Paul Kneevers, this time around with his wife, Kat, in an outfit called Lupinaire. That's another "release party" I'm sorry I missed, but from I heard online, I told Kneevers I was expecting some kind of combination of Frank Zappa and the Gang of Four, with some straight up punk thrown in for continuity. I'm used to seeing Kneevers behind the console of a huge Hammond organ, tonight he's basically the lead singer, and Kat takes over keyboard duties on a more manageable synthesizer. She's also backing vocals and adds potent punctuation to Kneevers' snappy punch. Had it not been so late (and once I went outside ERMERGHERD IT'S SNOWING) I'd have enjoyed the whole set, but I was already recovering from Friday's sonic boom and I was running on fumes, but I'll definitely catch a full set from them in the future. 


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