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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two Sides of Waukesha

Bone Shaker does hard rock, Francesca folk

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  For many people, metal-influenced hard-rock belongs to the past. But Waukesha’s Bone Shaker is looking to bring it back. In the tradition of ’80s icons like Iron Maiden, the band has recultivated a sound that metal maniacs still crave.

  After two years and two releases, the band has managed to land on some big stages with the scene’s heavy hitters. Performances opening for groups such as MetalChurch have put them in front of large crowds, which has helped to grow their following. Band members say that sticking to the old-school formula found in the recordings of favorites like Maiden, Priest and Dio will be their ticket to acceptance from this sometimes fickle fan base.

  Their 2007 release Bang…You’re Dead (Turkey Vulture Records) is a testament to that credo. The disc provides track after track of head-banging pleasure for those who still wear the leather proudly. The group is in constant overdrive mode, keeping their touring schedule full while also finding studio time to work on their next record.

Cup of Francesca: On the opposite end of the spectrum (yet from the same community) is singer/songwriter Francesca. Over the last two years, she has become a local favorite in the West Side’s coffeehouses and a welcome addition to many a Gallery Night. While her style could easily be pegged as folk, her ability to step out of that traditional role keeps her interesting.

  Her song “Sweet Little Secret” is a delightful track with pop sensibility and a gorgeous, full arrangement, taking what might be considered a “ditty” to a place where “big” songs reside. What remains constant in Francesca’s music is her voice. Strong and rich with just enough grit and full vibrato, this is a voice that sweetly speaks on many levels.

  Francesca performs every month at the Steaming Cup in Waukesha.