Seizure Chicken Fall Festival (Night One)

Tue Nov 22 2011

The City Of Festivals kicked it up a notch this year, particularly on the local music front. Not only did we have a bigger-than-ever WMSE Radio Summer Camp, we’ve got Riverwest Fest coming up in a few weeks, and last weekend was the Seizure Chicken Fall Festival, whose title you really shouldn’t be scratching your head about if you live in Milwaukee. The local blog certainly does enough for the scene to warrant a two-night celebration, and this one was as eclectic as the musical tastes of the folks who write its content. I only made it to Friday night, but it was a weird group of bands for sure. Starting things off was this young group of upstart East-Siders known as Kane Place Record Club, and things seemed a tad askew from the get-go. Maybe the crowd was too Bay-View-aloofster, or maybe the dudes in the band just weren’t drunk enough yet, but their hyper vintage rock and roll cocktail usually stirs up a fury of energy, and while they played with enthusiasm, things were not jiving. Towards the end of the set, the bass player was having issues with equipment; we could hear him for the most part, but he apparently couldn’t hear himself or something, and his fiddling with wires and knobs eventually got so distracting that it was impossible to get into the spirit of the music. Fuck it; I like volatility, and I appreciate the risks this band takes in cobbling together its combustible sound, and while this wasn’t one of KPRC’s best shows, I know I’ll see ‘em again and be thoroughly entertained.

Next up was Chicago’s Secret Colours, down one strike already for using a pretentious foreign spelling. Bands who can’t really play their instruments often resort to jangly shoegaze, but with this band it was painful at times. Uninterested in the crowd and universally skinny-jeaned, these guys could scarcely keep a beat. Frontman Tommy Evans in particular seemed lost a few times, but the three guitarists rarely came together in time. There were a couple of mildly unboring songs, but overall the set was a real downer. Hats off to the kids from KPRC for gettin’ down front and center to a band that seemingly couldn’t care less; a hospitable gesture lost on the obviously non-MKE people who stuck out like a sore thumb even though stylistically they were pretty similar to the headliners.

Castle Thunder managed to resurrect some of the energy that had been lost. This is very obviously the Corey Gorman show, and he’s got some damn catchy guitar riffs and a forceful singing voice, although it’s not particularly mellifluous. Faux Fir’s Ryan Rupprecht definitely made his presence known on keys, injecting some much-needed electricity and style into the proceedings. Overall the set was a bit sloppy, and some of the songs need work in order to take flight, but there’s a lot of potential for this fledgling band, and the live performance undeniably generated some buzz for Castle Thunder’s forthcoming debut EP, Wolf In Sheepskin, which should be available soon.

It always blows me away how people clear out early at Milwaukee club shows; the crowd had thinned by the time Brief Candles came onstage, even though they were virtually guaranteed to be the highlight of the night. If you haven’t heard the band’s long-awaited new album, Fractured Days, go to RushMor immediately and buy it. It doesn’t really matter if you like Sonic Youth or sugary pop music or punk rock or earsplitting shoegaze or whatever—this band will impress you. Tonight’s was a…brief but blisteringly loud and passionate performance. As for those of us who get off on the tweaking to perfection of electric guitar strings and their associated effects and feedback, we just basked in the rise and fall of those monstrous waves of piercing sound, band and audience alike, and it was a wonderful end to night one of this little festival.

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