Home / Concert Reviews / White, Wrench, Conservatory w/ IfIHadAHiFi @ Cactus Club
Monday, Feb. 15, 2010

White, Wrench, Conservatory w/ IfIHadAHiFi @ Cactus Club

Feb. 14, 2010

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Being surrounded by friends is the best way to go out, and Milwaukee’s White, Wrench, Conservatory (WWC), playing their last show five years to the date after their first gig at UW-Milwaukee’s 8th Note café, couldn’t have had a better send-off for their final live performance. The group dug into their older material and even introduced a couple of new songs to the crowd of good friends, old fans and family members.

WWC were supported on the bill by longtime local friends in music Quinn Scharber, Brief Candles and IfIHadAHiFi. When it came time for their set, IfIHadAHiFi paced the stage for sound check for a few minutes, testing their squeals and crashes. Moments later, WWC’s vocalist/keyboardist Dixie Jacobs jumped onto the stage to introduce the spazz-rock group’s set, and she and the band launched energetically into “Success! Success! Success!,” the song from the band’s album Fame By Proxy on which Jacobs had lent her voice. It was a perfect demonstration of the tight bond between WWC and their Milwaukee music friends.

When WWC took the stage, the crowd was half-hyped-up from IfIHadAHiFi’s set and half-subdued at the prospect of seeing their friends play one last time, but the band wasted no time with sentimentality. They eased into their first song, “[It Was a Case of] Accidental Death,” with no dramatic pauses or somber facial expressions. Jacobs, confidently poised behind her keyboard, layered her expressive voice over the wash of guitar that Matt Slater charmed from an array of pedals at his feet as Joph Bravo nonchalantly tugged his bass strings. Impressive was the ringing but fuzzed out guitar tones, echoed earlier by local audio counterparts Brief Candles, but WWC’s brand of dense noise stood out with its vocals. WWC’s songs sparkled with a lively sincerity that’s generally (and often purposely) lacking of the genre.

The crowd at the Cactus Club stood stage front, singing along throughout WWC’s set, seemingly erasing the stage-line between band and audience. As Jacobs sang out the first lines of one of their final songs, “Marianne Faithfull,” the fans took over on backups, singing the chorus—the stuff last-rites shows are made of.

WWC’s last call, although putting to rest an epoch in local pop, also brought promises of music to come. WWC’s fans should get ready to follow the band’s future projects, as music, by nature, is never completely erasable; it simply morphs and builds. In this sense, there really is no such thing as goodbye, is there?