PBR and Detroit Cobras in Bay View

Jul. 25, 2008
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Full disclosure: Iím one of those guys, one of those obnoxiously proud Bay View residents. I support the neighborhoodís businesses, eat at its restaurants, spend many weekends in a continuous loop from the Palomino, Cactus Club and Burnhearts, and have frequent conversations with friends about why they should move here. Iím never so delusional as to argue that Bay View is Milwaukeeís next East Sideitís appeal isnít as wide and itís pockets arenít as deep as that neighborhoodbut for a certain sect of Milwaukeeans, particularly twenty and thirtysomethings looking for a safe, affordable place to settle down near a lively arts and bar scene, Bay View offers everything you need.

Itís with that disclaimer that Iíll beam about the neighborhoodís Pabst Blue Ribbon Street Party today, one of the most fun of the cityís many outdoor festivals Iíve attended this year, and a low-key alternative to the increasingly business-driven Brady Street Festival. It was every bit as no-frills as youíd expect from the sponsor, little more than a music stage and beer tent (there was also a crafts stand and a food booth, along with some simple party games), but the crowd was friendly and festive, and the music was a blast. John the Savage did a typically cacophonous set, the Rusty Psí amiable, ďadultĒ hip-hop was a perfect match for the sunny day, and between sets DJ Madhatter killed with a mix tailored for the crowdís tastes, leaning as heavily on alternative acts like Janeís Addiction and The Ramones as staples like Jay-Z and James Brown.

Proudly slathered in PBR stickers, The Detroit Cobras were a fitting headliner. Like the neighborhood for which they performed, the Detroit garage-rock cover band is unpretentious and fun-loving, and they revere an earlier, un-ironic period of rock íní roll (Bay View is, after all, the center of Milwaukeeís straight-faced rockabilly scene.) With good-natured rowdiness, the Cobras covered songs like ďThe TwistĒ and plenty of rarities from that era for a crowd that, while tattooed, trendy and young, was never so self-conscious as to disguise their blue-collar roots. Can of beer in one hand, and often a dog leash in the other, they took in the dayís simple pleasures, partying like true Milwaukeeans.

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