Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cheap Trick at Potawatomi with Rhythmic Noise Orchestra

Cheap Trick Potawatomi

My neighbor told me that she will once again be backing up Cheap Trick at Potawatomi Bingo Casino in October. My neighbor is a violinist. She’s an amazing musician, and will often get called to be part of the string section for touring bands that come through Milwaukee. She’s performed with Styx, Peter Gabriel, The Moody Blues, and many more. Sometimes she tells me about her gigs after the fact. This time, she managed to tell me ahead of time.

Cheap Trick Dream Police Returns

Backing up Cheap Trick for their Dream Police shows at Potawatomi will be none other than the Rhythmic Noise Philharmonic Orchestra and Mind Choir. The orchestra is comprised of nearly twenty members, featuring strings and brass. This is the second time that Potawatomi Casino has hosted the event, and it’s sure to be a sell out. There are eight shows in total, starting the weekend of October 2.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Resist Her Transistor and Wanda Chrome | A Night of Milwaukee Punk Rock

Wanda Chrome

Resist Her Transistor

On Friday night, I went to see my old band Wanda Chrome play with Resist Her Transistor at Linnemans. One band has been around for almost twenty years, the other is pretty new. They both played old school, punk influenced music that makes me feel good. One band’s roots are part of the Detroit rock, MC5, Stooges era. The other took a page from the most basic of punk styles, but certainly made it work for 2011.

Wanda Chrome the Loudest Band in Milwaukee

I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but Wanda Chrome is still the loudest band in Milwaukee. Cliff ran his guitar through a pair of Marshall half stacks. So did Marie on bass. The room didn’t need that much volume, nor did it need further amplifying from Cliff when he also had the guitar pumped through the p.a. system. But that’s Wanda Chrome. Bring ear plugs, and enjoy the ride. I don’t know of any other band that rehearses at full stage volume. When I filled in for their drummer Joel, I wondered how he handles Cliff’s stomach churning-on the fringes of a brown note- volume. Then again, I’m talking about a drummer who kicks a 24” bass drum. He can handle it.

Wanda Chrome could hardly contain their glee when they hit the stage. Perhaps it’s only because I know these folks on a very personal level, but I will bet that I wasn’t the only one who could see that they were having a great time. The band played their classic songs like Pill Party, Jet Black, and N.R.A. They included songs by the Flamin’ Groovies and MC5. You can’t have a WCLP show without some classic songs like those. The band was tight. They were so tight that the only flub of the night made the crowd cheer. When you are crushing song after song, a false start can break the ice. Let’s hope that they don’t wait another four years before playing their next show.

Resist Her Transistor puts the B in Basic Punk Rock

Don’t think for a second that the headline above is anything but a compliment. Resist Her Transistor makes sublime punk rock. What is their secret? Steph Schreiber’s vocals follow the melody of the song nearly note for note. It is also how her guitar introductions tell everyone that she came up with a lick, and the band built it up from there. (That’s a guess.) Yes, I must admit that they get away with some things that a band fronted by a male singer would not. Slightly off key vocals seem not to bother me when they are sung by a woman with some sort of serious anger. When Schriber breaks free from the “vocals must mimic the melody” formula, I like that band even more.

I feel that that they are more talented than they reveal, this band of three. They have a raw sound that takes me right back to the basement days of 1982. I bought their disc. It was the best $2 that I have ever spent. Favorite Resist Her Transistor track: Cut that bitch.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rock the Lakes Evangelical Festival Comes to Milwaukee

Rock the Lakes Festival is coming to Milwaukee. Never heard of it? That's probably because you are not an evangelical christian. This is not your typical rock festival. The bands for this event all sing about their god, every song to be sure. I would like to provide links to these bands, but on the Billy Graham festival website where this event page resides, I'm finding mostly broken links. Is that a message from their god? Does it not want the festival to go on? Is it punishment for Franklin Grahm's bigotry?

Evangelical Rock Bands Bring Hypocrisy to Milwaukee

What bothers me about evangelical religious rock bands? It's their hypocrisy. My wife was the child of an evangelical follower. He would not allow her to listen to rock music, because he claimed that it brainwashed young people. However, when I listen to the bands that are coming to Rock the Lakes, they use every song to "send their message" or "bring the message of Jesus" to the masses. This is the more true form of brainwashing. They pound their evangelical, "leadership training" and "discipleship" into your head, with every note and verse. Guys like Nick Hall speak at these events in hopes of recruiting young children to start prayer groups to schools.
I can listen to a real rock band and find no message other than love, or sadness, or how amazing the world is. If I want to listen to a rock band that sings about the devil, I can do that too. You can't avoid the "message of god" when you go to Rock the Lakes. The brainwashing will begin on August 20, and you will find the evangelicals on Lincoln Memorial Drive in Milwaukee.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Next Look for the Bearded Rock Musician

Rock Musician Beards

It’s been four years now, and we’re deep into the bearded rock musicians look. I’m old enough to remember when this trend was popular the first time. Yes, I was a wee lad at the time, but the beards were in full bloom back then. I have just one question about this current look; what will follow this current trend?

If things are cyclical, and I must say that many sounds, looks, and trends in the music world do less evolving, and more recycling, then we have to look at what followed the bearded musicians of three decades ago to make a good guess at the future.

Prog Rock Begat Punk

One of the most famous long bearded, progressive rock keyboard players is none other than Rick Wakeman. Wakeman played with Yes, one of the best examples of “prog” rock. He sported a more trimmed down version of a ZZ Top beard, but bearded he was. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull had a more scraggly beard, and played a similar vein of over the top music. The music was grandiose, the bands were huge, the tours massive, and when it needed to stop, punk rock tore it all down.

When Will Bearded Rock Musicians Shave It Off?

As we all know, punk musicians shaved away the beard, the hair, killed off the massive tours, etc. Will that be the next look? First, we have to remember that disco took hold in the mid to late 1970’s and some bands like the Bee Gees sported feathered hair and beards. Will the indie scene adopt that look? I doubt it. I’m going to guess that the long hair will stay, “fros” will make a weak comeback, and the beards will be shorn. By 2013, it will all be over. No more hiding behind the facial hair for the indie scene.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kings of Leon Take a Break

Kings of Leon Milwaukee

I remember the first time that someone introduced me to the Kings of Leon. He told me that the shows at the Rave in Milwaukee were packed with "hot girls." His comment made me uncomfortable, seeing that we are both married, and I work with his wife. Still, this person does have a pretty good ear for music, so I gave the Kings a look and listen. The first article that I found online described a band that loves to party. They seemed to be pround of their drinking.

Fast forward to 2008, and I'm reading a Kings of Leon interview where their drummer states that they have renounced drugs and "figured out the formula." Not so fast Mr. Followill. The words you spoke do not match the reality that has now come to be. Yes, you said that the hard work you are putting in while you are young is going to enable you to party when you hit your 40's. Your brother had different ideas. The band now has to take a break, and hopefully figure out what to do about the drinking problems. It catches up with you before you know it. I'm not piling on the hate here, I'm just bringing up the past statements of a band that was out of control years ago. You can't just turn it off. It doesn't work that way. Will sobriety come to the brothers and the band? Will that sobriety change their music? That remains to be seen.