Yet another great night of rock and roll at Linneman’s on Friday when some of the Midwest’s finest musicians showed us what they can do. The intensity that started with the first song lasted straight through the night, and I know I wasn’t the only one who’s musical needs were satisfied.
Chicago’s Archie Powell & the Exports started the night off with a bang and they maintained their high energy throughout their entire set. It didn’t take long for the room to fill, and with the caliber of music that AP&E bring to the table, the fact that this was just the first band showed us what kind of night we were about to enjoy. Chicago isn’t far, and it would be well worth the drive to see Archie Powell & the Exports if you can’t wait for them to come back to Milwaukee.
Next up was Trapper Schoepp & the Shades who were recent winners at the 88.9 music awards. This was the first time I got to see them live, so I was really looking forward to it. Sometimes with a larger outfit (they’re a five-piece with three guitarists), harmonies run the risk of sounding muddled. This is certainly not the case with Trapper Schoepp & the Shades. Each member knows exactly where they fit; knowing just when to pull back or add a little something extra. Their sound is laid back without feeling sleepy and there’s just a “feel good” vibe surrounding the whole band and their music. Archie Powell & the Exports were the sprinters at the beginning of the race, passing it off to Trapper Schoepp & the Shades who found a good stride and maintained a good musical momentum.
The Ragadors were the perfect way to end the night. Their set was a mixture of songs from their album “Black Inky Swells”, some covers and a few new songs that I hope will soon be part of a new album. While maintaining the essence of the Ragadors’ sound, the new songs aren’t quite as bluesy; they include more harmonies and a slightly more up tempo vibe. This little taste of what’s to come makes me very curious as to the direction they will take with the next album. Probably my favorite part of their set was their cover of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. You could almost feel the collective excitement in the crowd after the first few licks. When Ben puts down his guitar his voice shines even more, and this song couldn’t have complimented his vocals better. And there is never a dull moment when Kevin has his guitar in hand, and this show was no exception. Just when you think he couldn’t possibly impress you any more, he goes ahead and does it anyway. A great venue, a night of great music, what more can I say? If I had to describe in one word what my favorite thing about Milwaukee is, the answer would be easy: music.