The Uptowner, a 58-year-old corner bar in Riverwest, seems an unlikely venue for an impromptu noise show on a Saturday night. Peter J. Woods sets up his gear, synthesizers, effect pedals and an electric violin on a card table while a small group of people gather in front of him and a couple of guys shoot pool directly behind him.
Then the noise starts.
Johnny Winter slowly walked onstage, joining his band as they warmed the crowd up. He looked like a Texas blues specter, dressed in black, his cowboy hat shadowing his eyes, his face framed by long, white hair, his arms covered with fade...
Shoppers paying the $1.50 entrance fee to 7 Mile Fair were unknowingly paying admission to a concert at an unlikely venue for two local bands, The Trusty Knife and Crappy Dracula. The Trusty Knife has created a local buzz with their unique indie rock, while Crappy Dracula is known for their strange sense of humor and has often been compared to the Dead Milkmen and Flipper. The bands set up under a small makeshift stage in an outdoor stretch between the two main buildings of the fair . . .
Alongside the sounds of copy machines churning out paper and staplers crunching zines together, the first Milwaukee Zine Fest will feature three free music shows with 18 local and touring bands. The majority are punk bands, rounded out by some acoustic, hip-hop and indie rock groups. Zine fest coordinator Jessica Bublitz and Corey Baumann, of local band Louis Tully, organized the shows.
“Almost all the bands had an immediate interest,” Bublitz says. “We’re hoping this gives people attending from . . .
The band name We’rewolves resulted from a misunderstanding between the group’s members, Eliah Koerner (vocals, keyboard), Dan Perlstein (drums) and Ryan “Smitty” Smith (bass).
“I said, ‘Let’s call ourselves The Vampires,’” Perlstein recalled. “And Smitty said, ‘How about werewolves?’ and I thought he said ‘we’rewolves,’ like ‘we are wolves.’”
The contraction was subsequently expanded into a song in which the group chants “We are all wolves!” over and over.
I interviewed the band before a recent show at Mad Planet. It was raining, and they stood huddled under . . .
"The route was kept secret until all the riders were present and ready to start. The rules were laid out and checkpoint procedures explained at a riders’ meeting. Then the race began with a “Le Mans start,” which means all the riders ran to their bikes, started them and roared off to glory! Unless they had a bulky kick start, vintage mount…"
That’s an account of the first Milwaukee to Minneapolis Tourist Trophy café race (M2MTT) in 1998 by Gary Charpentier, written for the Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly.
The M2MTT traditionally takes place the first Saturday after the Fourth of July and has developed a devoted, secretive following.
A sonic screech sounds as Holy Shit! rips into their 12-minute set in the basement of a Riverwest punk house called Mint Mint Chocopocalypse. About 30 or 40 people huddle around the band, and once they get going it becomes hard to separate the band and the audience.
The basement is lit by a single bare bulb. The singer flails wildly, his hair flying back and forth. There is a problem with the microphone and it constantly cuts out, leaving the image of a mute wild man screaming his head off. The music plays at breakneck speed, with one song instantly bleeding into the next.
On April 23, the Echo Base Collective prepared for what they thought would be a quiet Wednesday night of folk and performance groups. The 20 people who showed up had just heard a New York spoken word group, Batter Recharger, and were waiting to hear a Chicago band and the local group Dharma Bumz. Members of Dharma were loading equipment through a garage door on the side of the building when two police officers appeared.
“I told them they should talk to Dave,” said Keith Armstrong, singer for the Dharma Bumz, referring to Dave Casillas, the organizer of Echo Base. “They said they already had and were already in the building.”
Milwaukee has an adventurous new flavor for its palate: its own underground restaurant. That’s about as much as I can tell you. The crew behind the venture has asked me to withhold who they are, when their next event is, location(s) and even the name their secret café goes by. I can tell you, however, that the name is a reference to Emma Goldman’s journals. They’ll be referred to here as “Café X.”
Underground restaurants have sprung up worldwide and, in the United States, range from the Blind Pig outside of San Francisco to the NY Bite Club in the heart of New York City. Blind Pig offers a different theme for each opening and one of the locations they use is a two-car garage furnished with booths that were thrown out from