Saturday was a busy day and night with events scattered all over town. After the WI Avenue bridge celebration, I headed over to Mad Planet to warm my feet up with some dancing. Mad Planet is one of those well known venues that has a lot of history, with many great bands passing through over the years. Do414.com organized the show on this particular night so not surprisingly there was a decent crowd by the time I walked in at 10:30pm.
Empires is a Chicago-based grungy-indie rock band who has been busy touring with national acts, recording & releasing their 2nd full length album and almost landing the cover of Rolling Stone recently. I had a chance on Tuesday to chat with lead singer Sean Van Vleet, in preparation for their upcoming show at Mad Planet on Saturday with local acts Ikarus Down and Fossils. The show was arranged by Jeremy Rogers of Do414 so it’s bound to be a fun night filled with great music. Sean & I talked for nearly a half hour about the exciting journey his band is on but more significantly to me, just music in general. It’s a sign of talent & character when a musician, let alone a frontman, talks to blogger he doesn’t know from Adam like an old friend he’s catching up with. City rivalry aside, you gotta love that Midwestern camaraderie.
Imagine your ideal dinner party. A great group of friends come together; each one a talented chef and everyone contributes their favorite dish. All the distinct flavors come together to create a delicious meal that everyone devours. Now apply this scenario to music and that’s what we fans got to indulge in when Kane Place Record Club, Fresh Cut Collective and French Horn Rebellion played at Mad Planet. From the up and coming to the well established to the hometown return, our musical taste buds were completely satiated by this fabulous combination of artists.
Kane Place Record Club kicked off the night and since this was my first time seeing them, I prepared like I usually do by previewing their music throughout the week (their EP is available to download for free, by the way). As much as I enjoyed their songs, I was blown away by their great high energy live performance. This six piece outfit knows how to showcase their individual talents while simultaneously providing a cohesive sound that really got the audience moving. They have an indie/pop/soul vibe that hinted at everything from Ray Charles to doo wop and even a little bit of ska. I know I’ll be looking out for their future shows, so stay tuned to Local Playlist and make sure you check them out.
At this point the energy was high and the crowd was primed and ready for more, and Fresh Cut Collective knew how to deliver. After missing their last few shows I was more than ready to see them perform live again. They began their set covering a bit of “Feel Me Flow”, a Naughty by Nature song that I haven’t heard in years but perfectly suited the fun vibe of the evening. Hands were up and bodies were grooving as they progressed into their own material. Their always infectious beats combined with Kiran’s rhymes and the whole band’s charisma immediately draw you in, and it’s awesome to watch such talented individuals perform as such a cohesive unit. With a new album in the works, hot off the press t-shirts and a great video for their hit “Let Go” (you can see it here on local playlist or download it for free), there are great things for Fresh Cut Collective on the horizon, and we fans can reap the benefits every time we get to experience shows like this.
Fog machines, laser lights, keyboards, mad mixed beats and a French horn? That’s exactly what we got when French Horn Rebellion took to the stage. Milwaukee natives now doing their thing in New York, they brought their “basement dance party” grooves back to their hometown to finish out the evening. With the energy that Kane Place Record Club and Fresh Cut Collective already stirred up, the bar had been set pretty high for this final act, but French Horn Rebellion had no trouble keeping the mojo going. These brothers continued the trend of the evening by delivering a continuous flow original and highly danceable music.
While I never need to be reminded of all the fantastic local music we have here, nights like this really make me proud to be a part of the Milwaukee music scene, even if just as a fan. When you have groups of talented artists that are passionate about what they do and what they treat their fans to, a fantastic evening of music is inevitable. Be on the lookout for these bands fellow music lovers, then come to a show and just try not to dance. I dare you.