Decibully: Farewell Show, Cactus Club, 4-2-11

Posted 04/05/2011 by cal

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With almost no warning and little fanfare, last Saturday brought what may have been the final Decibully show ever.  After ten-plus years and four albums (a fifth, self-titled full-length hit the interwaves today), you might’ve expected some sort of big announcement or bigger party for one of Milwaukee’s most beloved acts, but for whatever reasons, the band chose to sneak up on us like one of its trademark dynamic roars, then fade suddenly into our memories.

There was a taste of somber air in Joe Crockett’s opening solo set; his captivating voice nails you in the heartstring no matter the setting, but this brief acoustic set may have been more moving than any Championship show I’ve seen.  He tried out a couple of tunes that he and the band are working on for the next album and played plenty of staples flawlessly, but that barely-accompanied voice was the star.  The crowd was reverent, and Crockett didn’t speak much, but the emotion was palpable; if there’s a torch burning in the Milwaukee folk rock scene, it may have been passed Saturday night.

Cactus was packed to the gills all night; maybe the band was determined to end it all here and knew that a lot of press would cause an intolerable traffic jam.  Whatever the case, Decibully did not disappoint.  It was a weirdly typical show; some killer new tunes and a few oldies dusted off for the occasion, but no tearful displays, no cracked-voice speeches, just William Seidel’s brief acknowledgement that “this is the last Decibully show you will ever see.”  I couldn’t have been the only one who choked up a little at the blunt finality of it…

The thing is, Decibully is almost always amazing live, so all I can tell you is that Decibully was amazing once again.  I’ve seen the band play better shows, but not by much.  The kicker was when, following a heart-wrenching “Broken Glass”, Seidel invited everyone who’s ever played in the band onstage for the grand finale, "Megan & Magill".  It was all smiles and celebration for a few short minutes, and suddenly it was over; not even 1 a.m. yet.  I won’t lie: I wanted more, but that’s just because I’m a fan who wasn’t at all prepared for this.  The band delivered everything one could reasonably expect, except to keep being a band somehow.  Thanks for all the music, guys; you will be missed.

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