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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Maritime @ Turner Hall

Saturday, May 3, 2008

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It is safe to say that anyone who keeps in touch with the ever-growing Milwaukee music scene has, at the very least, heard of Maritime. The group’s critically acclaimed 2007 release, Heresy and the Hotel Choir, was subject to significant local radio airplay and accompanying press coverage, including an impressive 7.1 rating from the usually persnickety Pitchfork Media. The bloggers have also taken notice, posting everything from validating praises to creepy confessionals about their “bro love” for singer Davey von Bohlen. Oh yeah, there’s also that whole Promise Ring thing…

Recently returning from a successful run of Japanese tour dates with Jimmy Eat World in March, Maritime was welcomed back home by a warm audience of fans, friends and family at the historic Turner Hall Ballroom. Looking more than happy to reciprocate the audience’s enthusiastic greeting, von Bohlen struck the opening chords to Heresy’s “Guns of Navarone” to kick off the nearly 75-minute set.

About halfway through the show, drummer Dan Didier kicked into the drum intro of “For Science Fiction,” arguably Maritime’s best-known pseudo single, and continued to prove why he is a cut above the rest (and why geniuses like Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse have hired him for work in the past). Guitarist Dan Hinz and bassist Justin Klug also held their own throughout other set highlights, including songs from both 2006’s We, the Vehicles and 2004’s Glass Floor such as “Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts,” “Tearing Up the Oxygen” and “German Engineering.”

Being a quintessential working–class band is hard. It requires thick skin and a draining productivity ethic. But this is nothing new for veterans like Maritime—it’s more like a hauntingly familiar reality. Selling 500,000 albums may be a lofty goal for von Bohlen and company right now, but accepting the title of “local heroes” would probably mean a lot more to them anyway, and they’ve already earned that honor.