Review: Freaks Come Out Fest (5/9)

Glvis performs at Freaks Come Out at Borg Ward. He made his name serenading Pizza Shuttle, until customers began to complain. Some say he’s “the Milwaukee version of Wesley Willis.”

Words and video by Brian Whitney

This past weekend saw the debut of The Freaks Come Out Fest at Milwaukee’s DIY institution, the Borg Ward. The back to back nights of so-called “outsider music” was curated by Dear Astronaut guitarist Nathan Riddle, and designed to showcase acts that represented the fringe element of both the Milwaukee music scene as well as the scene-at-large; two acts from Saturday night’s performance were quite successful at illustrating what exists beyond the average musician.

The first of these performers was Minneapolis’ BoUnCeR fIgHtEr, a five piece band whose punk/folk/country stylings were reminiscent of the young Velvet Underground, in no small part due to the stark, minimal viola playing of Anders Hinders and primal, tom-heavy drumming of Evan Malone and Graham Faulkner. Most importantly, while the band was a mix of multiple genres, they mixed the sounds homogeneously to create their own sound, rather than simply pasting punk and folk music together in an ill-fitting quilt. They apparently will be back in town late July, so keep your ear to the ground for specifics.

The second performer who repped the fringe successfully could (sort of) be described as “the Milwaukee version of Wesley Willis.” His name was Glvis, and he is apparently a Pizza Shuttle employee who used to perform there certain nights until he was asked to stop due to customer complaints (there doesn’t appear to be any ill will, as he dedicated his cover of Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone” to a fellow Shuttle employee.) Glvis’ shtick is simple: he strums an open acoustic guitar at roughly the same tempo for every song, while singing about a variety of topics, usually centered around either day to day life, romantic entanglements, or religion. His covers were executed in the same fashion, inevitably making the songs difficult to recognize but no less enjoyable. Whether he intended to or not, Glvis managed to plant a smile on the face of every person in the room, and could, potentially, end up making a Willis-ian rise to the top of the fringe.

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One Response to “Review: Freaks Come Out Fest (5/9)”

  1. Ben Turk Says:

    Glvis planted an ironic smile on the faces of people who were laughing at him. The rest of us were in the other room wondering how far away we need to go to escape scenes infected with this kind of bullshit.

    Bouncer Fighter did kick ass.

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