The post where I talk about stuff I’m missing this weekend



No matter where in time you put the origins of our species, it’s fair to say we’ve had a LOT of time to figure things out, explore, develop, evolve, and enhance our way of life. In the naive 1950s, we believed our evolution would eventually lead to flying cars. In 1989, after seeing Back II the Future II, we believed it would lead to weird Nikes and hover boards. (The former is actually, officially happening.) And today, I’m really wishing that, over the course of the last few thousand years, we would have figured out how to either rearrange time, or be in two places at once.

This weekend, I’m taking a booked-in-advance trip out of town. Nothing fancy. Doesn’t even qualify as a vacation by the standards of those who actually, regularly take vacations. But it will be three days away from the computer and drawing table.

Unfortunately, it will also be three days away from Milwaukee, where apparently, everything I’d really like to see is happening. Most notably (for me anyway), The PBR Street Party, and our own Wooden Robot and The Demix opening for Secret Chiefs 3 at Turner Hall this Saturday.

Musically speaking, the former proves yet again that the smaller festivals are the ones with the better music line-ups. And frankly, this one’s frickin’ impeccable. There’s not a skippable act playing (also: I can’t see John the Savage enough), and the whole thing’s Master-of-Ceremonied by DJ Mad Hatter! It’s near one of the best bars in Milwaukee, the beer is cheap, AND IT’S FREE.

The latter, however, is not. But you should never complain about paying to see live music. Especially local acts. And especially local acts as good as Wooden Robot and The Demix.

Turner Hall’s been commendably good about making sure local bands aren’t excluded from the stage, and are even better about pairing them appropriately with the traveling acts coming through. With this particular show, they outdid themselves. Wooden Robot and The Demix each represent very different limbs of their headliner’s overall body of sound. But the biggest thing they have in common with the Secret Chiefs is not sound aesthetic, so much as individuality.

The Demix is a one-man crew that builds through destruction. On his MySpace page, he claims his music sounds like “a nightmare,” but I only wish my nightmares had this good a soundtrack. It’s proof positive that sampling is an artform in the hands of the right person, and will probably sound amazing at the volume playing Turner Hall allows.

Wooden Robot, on the other hand, is a multi-member crew that doesn’t build through destruction. They do, however, make their own kind of music. It’s not one particular thing, or even a mash-up of a few things. It just sounds natural and different and genuine. Which is all you need to make a good anything. For me, the best thing about them is how each song sounds like it has a history to it, the same way that, when you listen to old folk songs from other cultures, you know they’ve been around for hundreds of years.

There’s an excellent piece in this week’s Shepherd Express about them, which includes information about their forthcoming album. (Can I get a collective “hooray?”)

Initially, I hoped to end this post with video clips of Wooden Robot and The Demix. Sadly, Wooden Robot removed theirs from their MySpace page, and The Demix clips don’t have the best sound quality. Perhaps this should be motivation for someone to videotape the both of them. If not for the benefit of all mankind, then for me, since I won’t be able to catch any of it in person.

For more information on the PBR Street party, click here. And for more information on the Secret Chiefs 3 show featuring Wooden Robot and The Demix, click here.

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