Thursday night debuted the first part of the Sound Swap series put on by Local Playlist and Chrome Attic of Chicago. The two groups exchange bands from either city to bring new names to each metropolis and it’s audience. Hosted at Yield Bar on Milwaukee’s beautiful East Side, Sound Swap kicked off the weekend early, with a lineup that included three bands. Two groups, Derek Nelson & The Musicians and Chaperone, traveled from Chicago, to open for a Milwaukee headliner. This edition featured The Celebrated Workingman, a finalist in 88 Nine Radio Milwaukee’s Music Awards earlier this month.
Derek Nelson and his five musicians took the stage first and, together, they took the crowd by storm with the first powerful drum beats and crystal clear female accompaniment. Derek’s vocals complemented exceptional lyrics and harmony as they unveiled many of their new releases. Every band member had their own niche and provided the audience with a wonderful live music experience. You can listen to their album on their website, but hearing this band live is quite a treat. With an Americana sound that came complete with the addition of a slide guitar, ukulele and mandolin. At the show, Nelson commented, “You have to be careful about being so nice to us, we might be tempted to move here, and then you’d be stuck with us.” If Derek Nelson & The Musicians did decide to move to Milwaukee, Local Playlist would welcome them with open arms, knowing that they would add a lot to the local music scene.
After a brief switch over, the Sound Swap continued and Chaperone took the stage next. Fast-paced, electric sounds rocked the audience as they moved quickly from one song to the next. This band was animated from the start, which is usually an indication of good times to be had. Most of the movement was coming from the bassist as he wiggled to the beat all over stage but the entire band’s aggressive movements complimented the sound they created. Lead singer Shaun Michael Paul was drenched at the conclusion on this cool Milwaukee night, proof that the band put their all into the short but sweet set. Maybe some of the Badger and Golden Eagle fans that came to Yield on Thursday might have been a little disappointed by the outcome of the game they came to watch but after the show they left with a new band or two to listen to. Chaperone impressed us here in Milwaukee and gained new fans that will continue to move and thrash to their waves of sound.
The headliner, Milwaukee’s own The Celebrated Workingman, capped off the evening’s event and they were worth the wait. Yield Bar’s stage, back dropped by posters and pictures of many iconic rockers early in their careers, left me wondering where these artists might be in ten years. Frontman Mark Waldoch has an undeniable and unique commanding stage presence that engages the crowd. His range of vocals, whether melodically belted out, or in a beautiful clear and rhythmic whisper, never disappoints. Ryan Gardiner, a phenomenal musician, normally plays lead guitar for his other projects Ikarus Down and The Last Rhino, but he stepped out of the comfort zone and learned bass this past summer in order to play with this great group. Ryan’s presence on stage may bring Celebrated Workingman to a different level but each musician adds a swath to the band’s tapestry. One of the bands to watch this year, I have no doubt they’ll do great things. All in all, the Milwaukee edition of the Sound Swap began with amazing performances, and The Celebrated Workingman were the exclamation mark to complete the sentence.
Saturday, March 24 concludes this first exchange at The Crown Tap Room in The Windy City. The collaboration between the two cities will hopefully bring some much needed spotlight to Milwaukee. Said Mark Glatzel, of Milwaukee’s award winning I’m Not A Pilot (a spectator for a change), “There’s a lot going on in Milwaukee’s music scene right now.” Clearly, Local Playlist is once again in the middle of it all, excited for what’s next. Keep your eyes open for the next edition of Sound Swap!
Written by Richard Young
Edited by Anne Conway and Danielle Hanson