Brian Whitney
This Way For the Gas

The Infinite Nature of Punk

By - May 13th, 2010 02:24 am
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There are certain things in life that we can count on to be constants, even beyond the basic “death and taxes” Ben Franklin described. One inevitability in the world of punk rock is the life cycle of the “basement venue”, which, for the purposes of this discussion refers to any venue of questionable legality. Start small, with shows mainly consisting of friend’s bands; wait for word to get out; watch word eventually get to the wrong people; fight the law and watch the law win. The scenario that has played itself out dozens of times in every local scene has now befallen the Eagle’s Nest, the venue located in the basement space of what used to be Jackpot in Riverwest. Details are spotty, but apparently some of Milwaukee’s finest broke up a show over the weekend, perhaps spelling the end of the Eagle’s Nest as a viable show space.

Luckily for us in Milwaukee, there are a number of traditional venues that continue to not only function but book the kind of quality bands that many bars generally don’t. This Friday, Frank’s Power Plant offers up such a show, and you’d be a fool to miss it. The local acts are Sleazybeats, who are well on their way towards perfecting a mix of Jam-esque mod guitars and 70s proto-punk, and Crappy Dracula, one of the few local bands that are literally above criticism in the eyes of this reviewer. First and foremost, they’re fucking funny, and that is far from a given in the world of music. Their humor usually overshadows the fact that they’re a hell of a band as well, and have the range to pull off Flipper, Guided By Voices and Leonard Cohen covers without sounding contrived. The band likes to refer to themselves as “intentionally stupid”, but you and I are too smart to fall for that, right? These men are geniuses.

Rounding out the bill are two touring bands, The Most Beautiful Losers, from Canton, Ohio, a band that seems to confuse The Replacements’ intangibles with their songs (take a listen to the not-entirely-subtle lyrics to the first song on their Myspace page and you’ll see what I mean), and The Vignettes, a Minneapolis-based female duo whose recordings ooze lo-fi charm (despite the fact that lo-fi recordings have become another on a laundry list of shitty trends, there are still decent practitioners, and this band seems like one of them.) There’s also a video of them covering “Stand By Me” from a Y-Not III show back in February (by our pals High Frequency Media! –ed.) that they pull off despite being seemingly unenthused about playing it (I suppose it’s possible that the drummer always wears a scornful expression on her face), giving in to the badgering of an audience member.


As for the Eagle’s Nest, word has it that they are attempting to get the necessary permits to go legit. Regardless of whether they succeed or not, the shows will go on. New illicit venues will rise and fall, and in the meantime, there are still plenty of quality shows to go around. Friday nights will continue to be Friday nights, starting with this one and forever onwards.


Categories: Other-views, Preview, Rock

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