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Milwaukee – Saturday, 1.29


Woke up around 10:30 to a great waffle breakfast with some ham and potatoes on the side, thanks Mom!  I talked with my dad for awhile, then went up to visit my friend Ken to claim my fantasy football prize money that he’d forgotten to bring to the show at Mickey’s.  I picked up some excellent cheese curds at Cheeser’s in historic downtown Stoughton and then got a rotisserie chicken for a quick late lunch with Grandma and Dad before I picked up Gerald and we headed to Milwaukee.  Gerald just needed to catch the AmTrak to Chicago, but it was great to get so much time hanging out.  After I dropped Gerald off, I called my friend Sean and picked him up from his work.  No offense to Greg or Gerald or my parents, but Sean was the best host of the whole trip.  He’s a spice mixer by trade, and he’s also very into tea.  Like, really good tea.  When we got to his house he brewed some sencha that was virtually neon green as he poured it out.  His girlfriend Abbie was really great too, we all had a good time talking and deciding where to eat, which turned out to be Sean taking me out for pho with the two of them and D.J.  Such great food, and they all assured me that the turnout in Milwaukee would be the best yet.  D.J. did an interview with me and Hannah that ran in The A.V. Club there, and the Shepherd Express ran a blurb about it too, so I was optimistic.  I got an even better feeling when we got to the Cactus Club, since Alex the soundman was really organized and took about 20 minutes to get all the levels right.

We got started singing a little before 10, I think, and bar time wasn’t until 2:30, so we sang all the way.  It was every bit as fantastic as Sean and D.J. promised, over 90 people came out to sing, and most of them got a chance.  One cool thing about this crowd was that they were really organized with an “on-deck circle” usually ready to go as soon as each song was done.  I did sing Coma In Algiers’ “Hey Mom” to start it off, but my voice was absolutely useless.  So many amazing performances:  D.J. killed “Final Solution” by Pere Ubu; Vince dominated the entire room on Nick Cave’s “Papa Won’t Leave You Henry” and later “Loose” by The Stooges; Megan sang “Girl Anachronism” by Dresden Dolls; Michael on “Great Cop” by Fugazi; Aaron had the stones to sing “The Sweat Descends” by Les Savy Fav and totally nailed it; Bix owned a few songs, particularly “A Picture Postcard” by Milwaukee’s own The Promise Ring; Sarah U. rocked “Gloria” by Patti Smith and “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill; Dixie displayed her beautiful pipes on “Letter From An Occupant” by New Pornographers; Hannah sprawled all over the place for Black Flag’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme”; Evan kicking ass on “Bed For The Scraping” by Fugazi; and Jacob, Bix, Mike and at least two other people causing all kinds of havoc for “New Noise” by the Refused at just about the end of the night, right before we ended with D.J. and Josh singing Guided By Voices’ “Game Of Pricks.”  Yep, it was the best show of the trip, and Sean solidified Milwaukee’s #1 ranking by taking me out again for brunch at The Palomino after playing some great records by Mono, Jawbox, Deerhoof and Enon while I woke up and played a little Super Mario Bros.  The ride home was thankfully very uneventful, and I got to just crank some great music and dream of doing it all again as soon as possible.  Will fly instead of taking the long drives next time though.

Song of the day: Cock Sparrer “Where Are They Now”

Listened to Shock Troops twice on the way home, wish my voice could have hit any of the notes, but it sounded so good!

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