Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Flurry of Concert Announcements for Riverside Theater

The postings came fast and furiously. The Riverside was touting their fall lineup via email. If you were wishing for a Black Crowes show at a smaller venue, than wish no more. The Black Crowes will be performing on November 7th. Around that same day, Colbie Caillat and Lucinda Williams were also announced.

WMSE Radio Summer Camp is coming up fast. On August 20, The Trusty Knife, Juniper Tar, and The Dim Sums will all perform with Sometimes Sweet Susan. This show is a bargain at 10 bucks.

How often will you see Riverside Theater tickets at that price? Only when a local band has a show I guess. I checked the Riverside Theater Twitter account today. What would a historic venue have to say on Twitter? It's pretty much all tweets starting with the words "Just Announced." Of course, they also have a Facebook and Myspace page.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peter Murphy was a Pleasant Surprise

My friend Paul is in town from Pennsylvania. He's here for six weeks, and we are catching up on things. I was the second in line for an invitation to see Peter Murphy at The Rave in Milwaukee. We had a deal. He bought The Rave tickets, and I paid for a few drinks while there. Believe me, a couple of drinks at the Rave, and I had my ticket price covered.

There was no opening act for the show, and it seemed like the road crew was in no hurry to get the show started. I overheard a bartender say "are we having a show tonight or not?" It was that laid back. By the time Peter Murphy went on, there were no more than 350 fans in the crowd. No matter, the people that came out on a Sunday night were very happy to see him.

Some fans felt that his performance in Milwaukee was the best they have seen in years. I must say that as the night went on, I was amazed by his energy on stage. He worked the crowd, but more impressive was how he worked his voice. The guy hit the notes all night long. I might have heard one sour note, but it was nothing worth complaining about.

Another great thing was the mix at the Rave. How rare is it to go to that venue and actually hear everything clearly. This would be the first time in many years for me. Killing Joke comes to mind as the worst mix I had ever heard there. It was so bad at Killing Joke, that I thought it was another band altogether. It was so good at Peter Murphy that I pulled out my ear plugs for a few songs, just to get a full blast. His band was tight, and workmanlike.

What I liked best about the Peter Murphy show was his lack of pretension. The man just called it like it is. He skipped songs, added others, and even sang a couple cover tunes. As I was thinking that this guy is like a gritty David Bowie, he starts to sing Space Oddity.

His band was playing their last North American show on this tour, and Peter Murphy had the entire crew come out and take a bow. That was a nice touch. They work just as hard as the band, so why not give them props.

As the lights went up and the crowd cleared out, I ran a friend who we walked to her car. We got the usual aggressive demands for cigarettes when we got to our car, and after paying off the street hustlers with tobacco, we drove over to the Sugar Cane on Forest Home. Crazy, that Sugar Cane.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Like Fire and Ice? Marcus Amphitheater and Festa

It's that time of year where an ethnic festival will occupy the Summerfest grounds at the same time that a band plays at the Marcus Amphitheater. Poison, Cheap Trick, and Def Leppard will perform on Saturday at the Marcus. At the same time, Festa Italiana will be in full swing. You need separate tickets to attend either event.

Marcus Amphitheater tickets are in large supply for this weekend's show. I suppose that people are taking a moment to regroup before the second half of summer begins. That, or fans of Poison have had their fill. I'm sure that there will be a few dedicated fans that will attend both events. They will grab a meal at Festa, then roll over to the Marcus.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Recap of Summerfest 2009

It was a blurry night for me, once the sun set. I forgot to bring my glasses to Summerfest. I had my prescription shades on when I entered the gates, completely forgetting that I would be at the fest well after the sun would set.

Decapitado was tight, and the sound was dialed in by song number two. It gave me a feeling of pride knowing that these guys are from my home town. When the show was over, I bought a copy of Lean Into It, a tribute to Die Kreuzen. Bionic's version of All White gave me freaking goose bumps.

I didn't want to head over to the M&I stage until Crumpler finished their set. Their sound was even better. Steve Thode is not only a bass master, but joke teller extraordinaire. The fans found him funny, and tight on the bass. Craig Radke is so smooth on the drums, he makes me feel like a novice behind the kit. He forgave me for the cargo shorts comment on my last post. It was all in fun. If anyone can take a ribbing, it's Craig.

The Pabst was flowing, but I chose water. In fact, that was the only thing I bought during my two nights at Summerfest. The parking lot attendant got the most money. I just didn't have a craving for fried food, or meat.

The who's who at Cascio last night included "Bill The Fan," Binky and Marsh of Binky Tunny, and more. Decapitado brings out the local celebs.

My night turned sour when the sun set. I had to take my shades off. In the dark of night, I had to figure out a way to walk blindly to the M&I stage. Elvis Costello was performing there, this way my chance to "see" the legend. I worked the perimeter of the grounds, and got to the stage just one song into his set. Some people say that when one of your senses goes down, the others become more acute. Perhaps that's why I felt that the sound coming off the M&I stage was so horrid. The Elvis Costello mix was the worst I had ever heard in all my years of seeing shows. That includes the 1983 DEVO show at the Oriental theater, when one half of the sound system had completely broken down.

I was standing in front of the sound board. This wasn't a matter of positioning. I was hearing what the engineers were hearing, and that made me angry. The sound coming off that stage was a mushy mixture of vocals, and one guitar. By the fourth song, I gave up on the chance of the sound changing. I squinted my way out of the festival.

Last Thursday, I headed down to the fest for a couple of hours. While there, I spent ten minutes watching Cherry Pie. They captured, and held an enormous crowd. I was amazed. This was the largest crowd I have ever seen for a local cover band. They are great guys, and quite talented, don't get me wrong. I met them at the short lived Milwaukee Oktoberfest. When a cover band can attract thousands of people, you have to wonder about the tastes of Milwaukeeans.