At the Bay View Brew Haus Friday: John the Savage Joins Up With Two Heavy Hitters

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Words by Erin Wolf

All musicians are natural-born storytellers, but some possess a bit more oomph than others. John the Savage is more than capable of swirling their stories energetically in a wash of chaos and cacophony, and stand up, fair enough, to seasoned veterans of the same ilk. The Milwaukee band opens up for the soulful William Elliott Whitmore and Philly’s Hoots & Hellmouth Friday at the Bay View Brew Haus.
John the Savage, “Irukandji”

On John the Savage’s latest release, the Fuck It EP, the band picks up where it left off with their first full-length [Kitchen Voodoo], the momentum keeping pace with similarly whirlwind operations such as Arcade Fire and Gogol Bordello. The first track, “Irukandji” starts off with a smartly-paced two-step, accordion and snare leading singer Mike Skorcz into a gusty ballad punctuated with glockenspiel and ghoulish moans. After the build-up, the following track “Amnesty” slows down the pace slightly with its almost cowboy-lullaby qualities.

The band continues the old West tone  in “Vultures”, its saloon-piano solo sad and clanking alongside Skorcz’s raspy vocals. The song isn’t necessarily about the old West vultures sweeping and circling a dry and dusty desert — the ‘vultures’ sung about by Skorcz are mere money-seekers and soul suckin’ jerks. Maybe then, the title ‘Fuck It‘ is appropriate and valid, rather than just being a tacked-on, flippant moniker? If John the Savage’s Kitchen Voodoo was a murder story, discordant with the themes of wrong-doers, inflicted scandals and imminent ill-endings, then Fuck It is the aftermath of sad defeats, the bones of the previous release’s heroes/heroines picked apart, with only the ghosts left to redefine the life of songs for the dead and unavenged. 

John the Savage opens for Hoots & Hellmouth and William Elliott Whitmore at Bay View Brew Haus. 10 p.m. 21+

Editor’s Note: William Elliott Whitmore will no longer be performing at the Bay View Brew Haus this evening due to illness. John the Savage and Hoots & Hellmouth will still be performing, and a discounted price at the door will be in effect. Whitmore plans to return to Milwaukee sometime in the next few months…

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