Archive for June, 2009

Moving At the Speed of Darkness

June 26, 2009


photo courtesy of the band

photo courtesy of The Championship

Words by Erin Wolf

“Love, shine on me, shine on me, and set us all free,” raised voices in song introduce listeners to the newest batch of songs from Milwaukee’s The Championship, who since 2005, have been forging their deep and twang-filled country songs in the fires and trials of life. This time around, the emphasis is on love and hope, although the title of their new EP might not make it seem like so. Traveling at the Speed of Darkness might sound like the next memorable quip from your new, favorite comic book hero, but to The Championship it’s all about understanding complexity. Singer Joe Crockett offers his explanation in time for the EP’s release this Saturday at the Cactus Club.

The Championship, “The Sword”


TGIT: Our Weekend Picks

June 25, 2009


photo courtesy of Google

photo courtesy of Google

Thursday, June 25th

Summerfest: day one @ Maier Festival Park (through July 5th)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know. Summerfest is being crammed down Milwaukee’s throats and for some, it means a bad case of indigestion. Maybe acid reflux. Still, some are reveling in the fact that today is the start of the 700 + band lineup over the next eleven days. Check out the local sounds of The Invaders, Cougar Den, Fresh Cut Collective and Testa Rosa at the well-stocked Cascio Interstate Groove Garage with WMSE and the Shepherd Express or one of the many nationals such as KISS, Rodrigo y Gabriela the Meat Puppets or Lupe Fiasco. Even if you’re not into the music the day of your attendance, at least the fireworks will put that sparkle in your eye.


photo of Shellac courtesy of Google

photo of Shellac courtesy of Google

 Friday, July 26th

Shellac + Three Second Kiss, Bear Claw @ Club Garibaldi’s, 2501 S. Superior, 8 p.m.

Minimalist rock’s favorite bitter pill and engineering guru Steve Albini will spend Friday night on the stage of Club Garibaldi in Milwaukee, dousing his audience with shards of guitars and gnarled, meaty lyrics while drummer Todd Trainer provides the controlled variable percussion of Shellac. Best consider trading your ear plugs for gauze pads, because Shellac does not play nice. 2007’s Excellent Italian Greyhound is evidence of the band not planning to sugar-coat their music anytime soon. Also, get there early, as half the tickets were pre-sales and space is limited.


flier courtesy of MySpace

flier courtesy of MySpace

Saturday, June 27th

Masonry + Bored Straight, Armada, Parrhesia @ The Borg Ward (823 W. National), 7 p.m.

For those looking to get exercise their inner aggro without getting arrested, the Borg Ward offers enough in hardcore, fastcore and heavy post-punk to loosen the worst hot weather-addled nerves. Sweat it off while Milwaukee’s Bored Straight pays homage to Black Flag and Parrhesia (Chicago) tears it up, claiming they [play as though] “stuck in a whirlwind of shit”; maybe a shitstorm of pummeling guitars and crash cymbals? Masonry rounds out the bill with their brainy guitar/bass/drums instrumental catharsis, sans vocals. Heavy and layered, Masonry is captivating, live.

Introducing: Volcano Choir

June 24, 2009
Photo by Cameron Wittig

Photo by Cameron Wittig

Milwaukee’s Collections of Colonies of Bees have long been making a name for themselves in their hometown, while creating a strong following overseas in Japan. Introducing Volcano Choir (Justin Vernon + Coco Bees) might give the rest of the world a little more familiarization with what Milwaukee and Japan already knows is a good thing.

Although the official album Unmap won’t come to fruition until Fall, Jagjaguwar Records is already busy building it up and making sure fans can easily navigate their way to absorb the latest collaboration between Vernon and his Milwaukee friends. Expect the sound of experimentation. Here’s what the label has to say:

“Volcano Choir is the assembly of Wisconsinites Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Jim Schoenecker, Daniel Spack, Justin Vernon and Thomas Wincek.

“One might find these old friends also frequenting records and stages under the monikers Collections of Colonies of Bees and Bon Iver. The Volcano Choir collaboration predates the meteoric rise of Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver project, with original songwriting dating back to the summer of 2005 — right around the time the Bees first toured with Vernon’s previous band DeYarmond Edison.

“Jagjaguwar will release the first project by Volcano Choir, Unmap, on September 22nd (21st in the UK), worldwide.”

Track listing for Unmap:

1. Husks and Shells

2. Seeplymouth

3. Island, IS

4. Dote

5. And Gather

6. Mbira in the Morass

7. Cool Knowledge

8. Still

9. Youlogy

How good does ripping off scalpers feel?

June 22, 2009

I just returned home from a three day, two-city run with Phish. I think I left my brain in Noblesville, Ind. somewhere. Anyway, when tickets went on sale through LiveNation in January, they went for $50, amounting to $62 after service charges. After going 0-for-5 using the busted-ass LiveNation lottery system, I decided to head to Deer Creek anyway, planning to buy an extra in the parking lot. I would do the same thing for the Sunday Alpine Valley show (I had a media pass for Saturday, read my review here.)

Long story short, I was expecting to pay AT LEAST face value for tickets. But the lot was so saturated with extra tickets, I was able to score mine for $30 and $25 — less than half of face value. I heard that extras selling for as little as $10. Incredible. So much for “winning the lottery.”

So how did this happen? Why the artificial demand when the tickets went on sale? I can only think that people over-ordered tickets thinking they could turn a profit in the parking lot. Does the glut of extras implicitly call out LiveNation giving lottery preference to big-order applicants? I can only speculate at this point, but remain curious as to why the scalping system failed so horribly on Phish tour.

But I won’t complain about my end result: I got into two shows for half price. After getting the shaft in the lotto, I can’t help but to feel good about karma biting scalpers in the ass for once. Thanks for buying half my ticket, guys. It was totally phriendly of you. Y’all must be carrying the wrong crystals for scamming Phish heads.

-Adam Lovinus

Von Soulstice

June 19, 2009
photo by John Nikolai

photo by John Nikolai

The band that pissed off Jack White will be headlining Milwaukee’s Summer Soulstice Festival on Saturday. Von Bondies singer/guitarist Jason Stollsteimer’s famous altercation with the Stripes’ frontman back in 2003 might have gotten the band more fame than his music, but the Detroit foursome’s single “C’mon C’mon” gave the power chord loving garage group enough staying power since its release in 2004 to gain a solid fan base. Their newly-made lineup and five-years-in-the-making, characteristically raucous new release Love, Hate and Then There’s You shows the band hasn’t been quite as reclusive as the press would have it. They make the trip across the pond of Michigan to tear up North Avenue’s summer block party at the West stage in a battle for the time slots with Milwaukee’s pop darlings Fever Marlene who position themselves on the East stage. Who would win in a bar brawl?

2009 Summer Soulstice lineup @ E. North Avenue, between Prospect/Oakland

East stage:

2:30 p.m. 2nd Thought

4:00 p.m. The Buskers

5:30 p.m. Juniper Tar

7:30 p.m. Ike Reilly Assassination

9:30 p.m. Fever Marlene

West stage:

3:00 p.m. Jake Jendusa & the Dead Men

4:30 p.m. Loose Cannons

6:00 p.m. The Lackloves

8:00 p.m. Invade Rome

9:30 p.m. The Von Bondies