Well another great weekend has come and gone again! This Saturday was pretty unique with Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, and the “Supermoon”, bringing all the crazies out to Stonefly Brewery for some local Milwaukee music. Do414.com organized Milwaukee bands Calliope and Ivy Spokes to play with The Small Cities from the Twin Cities for a night of rock’n'roll. All three bands left some pretty big shoes to fill when it comes to entertainment and we have no doubt we’ll be hearing more from all of them.
If you are a regular Local Playlist blog reader, you would know that Calliope earned the position of Featured Talent of the month of April and they deserved it. The best way to describe their sound to put it most simply is progressive oldies with a flavor of the psychedelic. “La Catalina” features mystical spoken word from Al Kraemer combined with the gritty electric guitar sounds of Victor Buell, the song made you feel like you time traveled to a Doors concert in the 70’s, all from the comfort of Milwaukee. On bass, John was consumed with his instrument in almost a meditative state. At one point Jeremy Rogers of Do414 turned to me and said ”He is such a good bassist.” I quickly agreed, nodding my head to the music. Calliope did a fun and unique cover of Acapulco Gold as well as paid tribute to Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys who passed away on May 4th by covering (You Gotta) Fight For Your To Party! Go to their Facebook page or Localplaylist’s YouTube channel to see a clip of the band nailing this classic song. Towards the end of the set, the band called local musician & friend Jack Tell on stage to hold up a Sponge Bob Square Pants pinata for audience members to take a swing at in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Check out Calliope on Facebook for up and coming show dates and make sure you check out this unique Milwaukee band.
The Small Cities, all dressed in plaid, (except for the drummer who apparently didn’t get the memo) from Twin Cities MN, took the stage next. With a tough act to follow, the guys definitely rocked out and set themselves apart from Calliope with their more modern, indie-rock which infuses just the right amount of pop while still remaining “alternative” enough for this Riverwest crowd. Some of their songs were a little more laid-back a la Jimmy Eat World but most of the set had an upbeat tone to it, reminiscent of early Kings of Leon. This four-piece is made up of Leif Bjornson and Wes Burdine both on vocals & guitar, Jimmy Osterholt on bass and David Osborn on drums, contributing heavily to vocals as well. Their set ended all too early but I hope this talented group makes it back to Milwaukee sometime soon because everyone at Stonefly thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Check out their website for music, videos, shows & more!
To cap off the night was the headliner, Ivy Spokes, a trio made up of Brandon Arndt on lead vocals, synth, keys and guitar, Hans Blanc on drums and Phil Cowen on bass. This trio continued the rock’n’roll theme of the night but with a dance-y flair that fit perfectly for the end of the night spot. Their most poppy song, “Shake it Off” on their Chaos To Cosmos Ep is simple but super catchy I feel like it will fit well on the radio and become a top single. Take a minute next time you are on a computer to check out their Facebook page for their EP and upcoming show dates!
Edited & Co-Written by Anne Conway