New Year’s Eve is always one of the biggest party nights of the season and this year was especially fun for any music lover in Milwaukee. With local bands dominating different venues around town, it was a testament to the fact that the music scene in Milwaukee is on the rise. As musician Ryan Gardiner (of Ikarus Down, The Celebrated Workingman & Last Rhino) stated on Facebook, “Is there any local band not playing on NYE 2012?”. Many of the events were reasonably priced too, a change from the normally high cover charges we’re all used to on NYE. Here’s a taste of what Milwaukee had to offer this year;
Fatty Acids, Surgeons in Heat & Coo Woo @ Tonic Tavern– $5
Ikarus Down @ The Intercontinental Hotel – Free show
Delta Routine & the Wildbirds @ Yield Bar –$5 (included champagne toast)
Shoot Down the Moon, 10 Paces Fire & Awkward Terrible @ BBC –Free show
Fresh Cut Collective, DJ Madhatter & Joe Wray @ The Eisner Museum – $75 Cover (included open bar & food)
Do414.com’s White Trashed New Year’s feat. Dude x 2, Rio Turbo & DJ Samsquamch @ Cactus Club – $5
Dead Man’s Carnival @ The Miramar Theatre
Evan Christian @ Blu
DJs Asher Diamond and Why B @ Hotel Foster -$5
As you can imagine, it was quite the quandary to decide where to go on such an epic night, however one Milwaukee musician made it easy for me. Kevin Topel, lead guitarist of The Delta Routine, recently announced that he was leaving the band to concentrate his talents more on his other band, The Ragadors. When I heard that NYE would be his last performance in the group, I knew my choice was made. The Delta Routine started my whole obsession with live, local music about 4 years ago and Kevin has become a good friend since joining the band in 2009. Band members come and go but when you know them personally, it makes a “last show” something you don’t want to miss. Whether others felt the same way or just wanted to see two amazing bands, Yield was packed to the max on Saturday, having a line for the first time I can remember. The stage & drumset were adorned with white Christmas lights and an American flag served as a backdrop, adding a proper NYE flair to the night.
Delta Routine kicked off the night debuting a new song, “Waste Your Time”, a dance-y, upbeat number with a bit of an edge to get the crowd on their feet. Lead singer Nick Amadeus sounded great as always, screaming lyrics at just the right time, in just the right tone of raspy. Kevin displayed his usual star power on lead guitar, making complicated riffs look easy. Drummer Kyle Ciske was so enmeshed in the music that he didn’t even notice when friends tried to distract him outside of the window he was right next to. Also, it was a welcome surprise to see Evan Paydon on bass as he was originally supposed to be playing a gig in Chicago but made it at the last minute. All in all, a bittersweet yet wonderful performance by the Delta Routine. Before his official departure, the band will put out one more EP featuring Kevin on lead guitar, to be released in about a month. Stay tuned for more details on that!
After midnight and champagne had been distributed to audience-members, The Wildbirds hopped up on stage and performed a rousing set. Maybe it was the holiday spirit or the bubbly but the band seemed especially energetic on Saturday, playing one of their best shows I’ve seen. Their blend of 60s-esque rock and guitar-heavy melodies got everyone’s feet stamping and butts shaking. The Wildbirds are hard to pinpoint with a specific genre or style but it doesn’t matter because they’re talented, have fun & rock out. Check out their next show at this Friday as their country alter-ego “Hugh Bob & The Hustle” at the Cactus Club. Show starts at 9pm and they play with Hayward Williams, Tim Schweiger & The Middlemen.
If this show was any indication of how 2012 is going to be, I can’t wait to see what fun this year brings!