Linnemann’s is one of my favorite places to see live music, it’s one of those comfortable neighborhood bars with cheap drinks and good company. And more importantly, Jim Linnemann has great taste in music, treats bands & customers well and even handles the soundboard himself with excellent quality. You always know you’ll have a good time and with a lineup like last Friday, I was even more excited to head to Locust & Weil than usual.
Since we arrived early the bar wasn’t too busy and the crowd in front of the stage not too big and Tiger Mouth, a local rock band, kicked off the night. Made up of lead singer Brad Lee Curtis, guitarist Greg Mitchell, Spencer Powers on drums and Ryan Blundon on bass, Tiger Mouth has a loud, classic rock style that gets in your face. A fairly new group, Friday was one of their first times playing out and while the members still need to fine-tune that comfortability that only comes with time and experience, their musical talent is obvious and their sound enjoyable. They have a stage presence (and confidence) that gets in your face and I’m looking forward to see them grow as a band. See their next show at BBC’s Upstairs stage this Friday if you’re curious yourself!
Following Tiger Mouth was Noah Sugarman, a solo musician who hails from Cincinatti, Ohio originally but has been playing music all over the country for a while now. He was accompanied by the drummer from his full band, 500 Miles to Memphis, and played an invigorating, funky set infused with bluesgrass and soul. While I unfortunately missed most of his set while I was hanging out in the green room with some friends in the next two bands, what I heard from there was great. And when we came upstairs, the crowd was much larger and everyone was dancing along to Noah’s music. While a two-piece can sometimes sound a little hollow, these two guys pulled it off without a hitch. I’m truly sorry I missed a good chunk of their set so hopefully they’ll make it back to Milwaukee soon.
Shoot Down the Moon was up next, with a late start that only meant Linnemann’s was packed and everyone was a little bit drunker. One of the main reasons I was there, Shoot Down the Moon is made up of some great musicians who I’m lucky enough to have recently become friends with. Their music style spans several genres of rock from classic-ish to alternative to folk, blending them together into their own unique sound. Their last album is mostly made up of relaxed, “stoner rock” tunes with catchy melodies that will get stuck in your head for days (in a good way). Their next album is recorded and will be released in the next couple months and Friday they played a mix of songs both new and old. The newer tracks are a bit louder & more complicated musically while still maintaining that laid back overtone that Shoot Down the Moon has perfected. And don’t take laid back to mean that their music isn’t loud because even if the song starts out slow, you know that eventually the guitars will come in hard & heavy. The band consists of vocalist/guitarists Jake McDonald and Matt Flanagan (aka Fizz), guitarist Justin Cohen, drummer Zak Ihlenfeld and bass player Jon Taglienti. Jake & Fizz share the role of “lead singer”, splitting the songs equally, something not typically seen. Their voices are different yet both still have a dreamy quality to their style so it works, even if they switch mid-song. That “sharing is caring” vibe carries over to their entire sound. Each band member is dynamic & talented, yet it never seems like they’re fighting for the spotlight. That sort of understanding only comes from playing with musicians (and best friends in their case) long enough that they know how to play off each other well enough so that everyone gets a chance to shine. Their music hits that perfect balance between jam band & alternative rock, between making you want to head bang & contemplate life & love. And the crowd did on Friday, with a large group of fans who were in front of the stage all night, singing along to each song & headbanging to every note. If you have not seen this amazing group yet, they’ll be playing Friday at the Riverwest Public House with Temple & Good Grief AND Saturday at Localplaylist’s official launch party at Tonic Tavern, alongside Ikarus Down & much, much more!! It’s a free show, see our calendar or Facebook page for more details!
Last but most certainly not least was one of Milwaukee’s favorite pop-rock bands, The Delta Routine. The crowd was amped up by this point, ready to keep dancing and knew what they were in for. Delta has been around for quite a few years now and while they’ve had a few lineup changes over time, they’re another one of those bands where the friendship is obvious as is the musical bond. This show was a special treat as the band featured not one but two guest musicians. Lead guitarist Kevin Topel recently departed as an active member of the band but played Friday, while the band’s producer, Mike Hoffmann filled in for bassist Evan Paydon. Lead singer & guitarist Nick Amadeus was on point as always, filling up the room with his instantly recognizable & raspy voice that switches seamlessly from sweet ballads to full out rock tunes. Drummer Kyle Ciske provided the rhythm section along with Mike, the two playing together naturally enough as if Mike actually was his normal band counterpart. Delta Routine is upbeat and pop enough to be on the radio, without losing their rock’n’roll roots. Whether they’re playing one of their originals or a cover of “Twist & Shout”, it’s always quality musicianship that gets everyone on their feet and grooving. Before Kevin officially left the band, they recorded an EP that will be released shortly & all of the songs are sure to be hits. Look for more information on that coming soon. Also, the band is up for several awards at the upcoming 88.9 Radio Milwaukee Music Awards so be sure to vote at radiomilwaukee.org and also check out their performance at the awards show March 6th at Turner Hall! And don’t miss Nick & Kevin playing a special acoustic set at our launch party this Saturday, it’s going to be a great time!
One last comment and I swear I’m done, but I just wanted to give a shoutout to the wonderful community vibe going on in the Milwaukee local music scene. I saw members from several other bands (I’m Not A Pilot, Kane Place Record Club, Undercover Organism & Boy Blue to name a few) out on Friday, supporting their fellow musicians and friends. It’s so refreshing to know that people realize this isn’t a competition but a movement, for both Milwaukee and music in general. Keep up the good work, kids!