Nightmare Boyzzz w/ Space Wolves, Tim Schweiger and the Middle Men and Beach Patrol @ Quarter’s Rock ’n’ Roll Palace
Nov. 20, 2013
It’s fantastic when renowned international
headliners include Milwaukee as part of their tour schedule, as Nick Cave
recently announced he would to a flurry of justifiable excitement, but having a
healthy music scene isn’t all about hosting the big names. Just as important
are the small clubs and independent promoters who consistently bring in quality
out-of-town bands who aren’t as well known, including Quarters, which, thanks
largely to the efforts of Hey Tonight Productions, welcomes so many that they
sometimes, like Wednesday night, outnumber the local acts.
First up was Green Bay trio Beach Patrol, who take retro corn-fed Midwestern power-pop and run it through the pop punk wringer, adding in some bluesy classic rock riffing for good measure. It’s a volatile formula, and the shifting ratios of those elements seemed to determine the band’s appeal on a song by song basis, sometimes resulting in a bit of convincing Replacement-style college rock, sometimes in unfortunately generic rock music, which, if a little flavorless, wasn’t really disagreeable in any sense of the word.
Speaking of The Replacements, Beach Patrol returned to the stage to serve as backing band for their recent tour mate Tim Schweiger, who plays with ‘Mats bassist Tommy Stinson, not to mention power pop gods Paul Collins Beat and local Americana outfit the Midwest Beat, in addition to his rotating cast of “Middle Men.” Schweiger’s an accomplished songwriter as well, and here those tunes, ranging from almost wistful alt-country to upbeat, belted-out heartland rock, were mostly confidently well-crafted, though occasionally showed a tad too much sentimentality.
Next was the second of the night’s three touring bands, Buffalo duo Space Wolves. The stripped down nature of their set, utilizing just guitar, drums and a crackly homemade microphone fashioned out of an old telephone receiver, combined with their fondness for hooky ’60s guitar-pop, all condensed into one or two minute blasts, bespeaks a fondness for The Ramones, especially on the catchy coke-fueled love song “Halfsies on a Rock,” but there’s also a jangly lilt more evident on recordings like the new Space Wolves IV.
Capping off the bill was the final out-of-town act, Nightmare Boyzzz, a likably scuzzy, subtly psychedelic garage punk band out of Huntsville, Alabama. Their fondness for partying is evident on their upcoming Bad Patterns LP, boasting song titles like “Bender” and “Puke My Life Up”, but they were also just noticeably drunk, in a jovial, talkative sort of way, not that that prevented them from delivering a high-volume, satisfyingly fun set of blistering rock ‘n’ roll. Good thing they had a place to play.