The Dusty Medical Fifth Anniversary, Part Deux
Dear Fan-belt reader: I AM BROKE. This past weekend has been a long, fun filled one, and now my wallet is paying the price. From Wednesday through Saturday, there was a revolving door of really fantastic music, and I’m truly sorry if you missed any of it: Jeff the Brotherhood and Quest for Fire at the Borg Ward, followed with Quintron and Miss Pussycat at Cactus Club on Wednesday (Ivy, I’m still so sorry about squishing your toes with my fervent dance moves), Head on Electric/Woven Bones/Bass Drum of Death (John Barrett has so much soul for someone so young!) at Frank’s Power Plant on Thursday, and, of course, the Dusty Medical Anniversary on Friday and Saturday and Club Garibaldi. Whew! Good music, beautiful weather, beautiful friends, all reminders of why summer time in Milwaukee is better than pretty much most things.
Friday night was a fantastic start to the weekend and things only got better. Before the second night of the festivities, I spent the afternoon at the Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg with my dear friend Liana (it was great, although, frankly, I expected more strawberries; either way I recommend it!), and caught up on True Blood (blood gelato???). Somehow, though I had no actual engagements, I still managed to be late. (Note: I am forever running late.) Sadly, I missed Sticks n Stones, and got there in the middle of Plexi 3‘s last set for an indefinite period of time. Dressed like they just came from a 60s prom, Wendy Norton, Adam Widener, and Ryan King were rocking out on stage. They’ve got the polished, pop sensibilities of a girl group, yet you can still hear a genuine rawness from their garage rock roots. Always high energy and fun to see live, Plexi 3 will be missed, but stay tuned for future projects from them, including Ramma Lamma, whose first show is coming up with King Louie in a couple weeks.
Next up was Midwest Beat. This band is so wonderful, and it’s always a pleasure to see them. The band members (Matt Joyce, Logan Kayne, Chris Capelle, and most recently Kyle Denton) are all on the same level, playing succinctly with one another, not just at the same time. You can see their oneness in their tight performance, and hear it especially in their great harmonizing, with Matt, Kyle and Logan all taking turns on lead and backup vocals. Their harmonies are delightful throwbacks to retro pop goodness, layered over the jangly twang of their guitars which are delicately laced with bits of psychedelia. The Midwest Beat is always upbeat and seemingly happy to be playing, which carries over to the audience, even during songs of sadness or heartbreak, such as “Belladonna.” My favorite Midwest Beat song, though, is and always will be “Need You Badly.” In fact, I just bought the song on itunes to hold me over till I get paid and have enough money to buy At the Gates, The Midwest Beat’s full length album that just came out on Dusty Medical. The band played a wide variety of new and old songs (including the aforementioned ones) and even one written by Ryan Adams (not to be confused with Ryan Adams of thee Ryan Adams fame, but rather of Jaill and Goodnight Loving fame), to whom Kyle paid homage to before playing the song.
France Has the Bomb was next. Truth be told, I’m not super into this band. They’re not bad, by any means, and I can appreciate what they do, but it just doesn’t do anything for me. Admittedly I’ve never really listened to their recordings, but nothing I’ve heard during their live performances made me think “Ooooh I need to find that song!” They do the whole garage rock thing, but it’s a little lackluster, especially after several nights of somewhat similar bands. After Midwest Beat I actually popped over to Cactus Club for a drink and some one on one conversation with my darling friend Megan. We got back during the middle of their set, and, though I watched a little bit, I decided to grab another beer and chat at the bar for a while longer.
The Goodnight Loving were headlining that evening. How do I explain how good this band is? The Goodnight Loving are old souls. They exude wise naivete, melding together the perfect mix of psychedelia, Americana/folk, and intelligent pop. I have listened to their new album, The Goodnight Loving Supper Club, at least a dozen times in the last few days (particular songs even more frequently), and if you get a chance, seriously, do purchase it. And all of their other records. I swear, at one point during their set, I looked around and most everyone was smiling. Andy Kavanaugh, Colin Swinney, and Andy Harris all take turns on lead vocals, and about halfway through the set Andy and Colin swapped their bass and guitar (respectively). Their set included favorites such as “Deadfish on the Bank,” “Train Hopping Man,” and some new ones off their latest, including “Ramble Jamble,” which, honestly, I cannot stop listening to (that and “Into a Grape” are infectious, haunting almost, in the best way possible). The set was wonderful. They were feeling it, the audience was feeling it, and the energy was amazing. Like I said, there was a lot of smiling, and though there was dancing, too, there was a calm in the crowd, an unspoken agreement to really appreciate every song.
After the Goodnight Loving’s set, there was still a good chunk of time left till bar time, so the Get Drunk DJs did their thang, and Club Garibaldi turned into a dance party. For any of you who left immediately after the show, I’m sorry. It was the perfect way to end the night, especially if you felt any remorse about missing the Get Down.
All in all the Dusty Medical Fifth Anniversary was a success and a blast, so here’s hoping for a sixth anniversary fest.