Archive for the ‘Milwaukee’ Category

Father Phoenix Set to Fly Out of Milwaukee

December 23, 2009

After the recent release of a new EP, local psych rockers Father Phoenix are calling it quits with singer/vocalist Kris Maedke-Russell heading out to Georgia, leaving behind not only one band, but two, (Maedke-Russell is also bassist for Call Me Lightning).

Maedke-Russell will be replaced in the latter group, but the disbandment of Father Phoenix is a solid, and unfortunately so. Fan-belt was pretty stoked to hear their new material last summer (read *here*) after featuring them in our ‘Localized’ segment earlier in the year, and is hoping that despite the distance, they’ll manage a reunion here and there as most local disbanded bands eventually do.

Since it’s not goodbye quite yet, catch them one, last time at Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth) at 10 p.m. tonight as they open for Call Me Lightning.


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


Locust Street Festival Video Preview

June 11, 2009

The Championship: “Ferris Wheel” / Lakefront Brewery stage 

The Trusty Knife: “It’s All Built In” / Linneman’s stage

Masonry: “Sacrificing Cilia” / Lakefront Brewery stage

Litmus Vinyl: untitled / Linneman’s stage

On the fence about who to go see at Locust Street Festival this Sunday? Perhaps the above videos will help to narrow it down. See The Championship before they release their long-awaited EP, a guaranteed solid performance from The Trusty Knife, the post-rock assault of Masonry and the impromptu spirit of Litmus Vinyl.

Check out the full lineup and schedule of events *here* for the yearly festival that features food, crafts music and some of Milwaukee’s finest beverages.

Solo Night at Cactus Club

May 14, 2009


photo by CJ Foeckler

photo of Mark Waldoch by CJ Foeckler

Words by Erin Wolf


Solo nights are notorious for pandering to the musical wallflowers and those looking for their shot to jump in and get used to the sunburn-inducing lights of the stage and the likewise burning eyes of a real, live audience. Obviously, all musicians must start somewhere, but it’s a rush when one chances to see a dynamic musical moment; that diamond in the rough performance out of numbers of uninspired musical diaries. Thankfully, when the Cactus Club decided to take a stab at its own solo, singer/songwriter night, it already had a roster of that diamond in the rough talent to go on. Pulling from several of the city’s most stellar acts, Cactus Club initiates its first solo night of a series monthly stints. Mark Waldoch of the Celebrated Workingman, Mike Skorcz of John the Savage, Quinn Scharber of Quinn Scharber and the… and Brian Rogers of White Problems/Wilmot Proviso are just a few of the musicians set to take on reinventing the old standby of the solo performance. Organizer Anthony Hanratty gives Fan-belt the details.


Interview: Backyard Tire Fire

December 27, 2008

Photo from My Old Kentucky Blog
Interview by Tim Cigleske

You just can’t separate some bands from their birthplace. Think Seattle and Nirvana. New York and the Velvet Underground. London and the Sex Pistols. So it is with Backyard Tire Fire and… Bloomington, Illinois.

Though not the first place you think of for rocking, you feel like you grew up in their hometown by the time you’re done listening. Their new album “The Places We Lived” has a sense of place that Wisconsinites should also be able to identify.

“We’re regular, hard working Midwesterners that make interesting rock & roll records,” says vocalist Ed Anderson.

Anderson spoke with Fan-Belt before their show with Rusted Root on Monday, December 29, at the Rave …

Fan-Belt: All I know about your hometown of Bloomington, Illinois, is that it has a Culver’s. What is the most awesome thing about it? Educate our readers.

Ed Anderson: It’s also the home of Beer Nuts. It’s small but big enough to not feel like a one-horse town. Three major interstates run right through the middle of Bloomington and it’s an affordable place to live. It’s also home to Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University. The most awesome thing about Bloomington? The corn fields that surround us in the summer time.

: I think your description “workingman authenticity and indie-rock eccentricity” — from your bio — will resonate with our Milwaukee readers. Can you explain what you mean by that?

EA: My brother (Matt Anderson, our bass player) and I grew up in a blue collar family where our father was a plumber and instilled a hard work ethic in us. We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty and to bust our asses. I think that comes out in the tunes. That said, we’re also not afraid to take chances in the studio and to try things in an unconventional manner.

F-B: You’ve maintained “loyalty to analog recording by cutting everything to tape.” That seems crazy in this day and age. Why did you decide this?

EA: We are lucky enough to have a friend in town that owns an analog studio (Tony SanFilippo at Oxide Lounge Recording) that gives us a decent deal. He’s co-produced all of our stuff and puts a lot of thought and care into making the best possible recordings. Working with him on tape has always been a no-brainer to us. This is not to say we’re never going to work with anyone else and all of our future records will be cut to tape, but thus far that’s the way we’ve always done it.

: The listener really gets the sense that “The idea of ‘home’ is at the core of this record.” Was that planned for this record or did it just sort of happen?

EA: It just sort of happened. I think we felt that theme developing during the recording process and simply let it happen. I wrote a bundle of tunes and most of them had something to do with home. Leaving home. Longing for home. Returning home. Wasn’t on purpose, but I’m very pleased with the end result.

F-B: To me, it seems like bands that have a strong sense of regional identity are thriving — from The Hold Steady to Kings of Leon. Is that helping you? Do you think we’re seeing a trend, and if so why?

EA: I really don’t know. I’ve stopped trying to put any rhyme or reason to any of this. Somebody decides you’re “cool” and it’s like a switch gets flipped and everybody jumps on board. I just keep trying to write songs, play good shows, and make interesting records. Most everything else is out of my hands and always has been. It’s good to be proud of where you are from and I think that certainly shines through in our music. Hopefully folks can identify with that regardless of their geographical location.

F-B: I also have to ask about your beer preference, since you’re playing in Milwaukee. I hear you’re PBR drinkers. What are you favorites?

EA: I dig PBR. Budweiser is usually the beer of choice though. As long as we’re not paying for it, most anything will do. We’re not picky.