Day nine. Nine for nine. I can do the rest of this in my sleep.
Tonight was the official record release party for Whiskey Of The Damned’s new disc, “Bedevil The Railroads”
This article spends some time talking to the leader of the band, and talks about his band and his work in running the Rebel Stage, which is the most consistently entertaining location at Summerfest. It’s where we saw a traditional Irish band playing versions of pop and rock hits. It’s where we saw the November Criminals, a polka/hip-hop band. It’s where I first saw Whiskey of The Damned several years ago.
There wasn’t a lot going on for a Friday; an afternoon Pat McCurdy show, and we’ve seen Pat so many times… and some decent looking Emerging Artists, but we got occupied doing other things, and got down to the Fest a bit before WOTD was scheduled. The Rebel Stage, as expected, was pretty damn full. Also, I SUSPECT the band was doing a certain amount of pre-gaming. Shocking, I know.
This band reminds me of those old days when I moved to Milwaukee, and awesome energetic and amazing bands were playing out everywhere and starting up all the time. Eoin (pronounced owen) is an Irish immigrant from a musical family, and he took guitar lessons from Van Fucking Morrison. He plays punky irish music (or irish punk)
As ever, this band pulls out all the stops whether they are playing for 20 people in a dive or 2000 people on a festival stage. They love the music more than anything and it comes across in their manic abandon. They shout, they scream, they sing; they switch instruments and run out into the crowd to play. They wander through the audience playing half-barrels with drumsticks, and they play instruments while keg-rolling on those barrels.
This gig may have started a little slow or perhaps we only felt that way because it was so packed we couldn’t see the band. But soon that no longer mattered; especially when Marco, the violin player, jumped up on our table to play a solo.
After that it was balls-to-the-wall and protect the children and faint of heart. Wait; that was hardly the call, because the emcee, merch dude and band-drink-server was a twelve year old kid and as for the faint of heart? I was there…
The played well beyond their allotted time, and as Eoin said, “It’s my fucking stage!” and was there anyone who would argue? There was not, not even the next band. The entire set was filled with raucous noise, with spit and vigor and joy and abandon and whiskey. They sold CDs (including to one of my staid architect buddies) and there were two cute young girls who had been wandering around with placards offering the opportunity to pet band member’s beards; when that did not seem to be raising any money, they changed to selling kisses. THAT seemed to be going better.
At the end of the night, they had rocked the fuck out of us, and Eoin climbed up on the tent and stage dived into the crowd in a rowdy display of enthusiasm and trust:
It was, overall, a rollicking celebration of music and creativity and energy and community; congratulating the band on their burgeoning success and the increasingly notable levels of this scruffy, non-subsidized local and original music stage at the World’s Largest Music Festival.
On any random day, all else being equal this is the best place to find me. Plus, the local Lakefront Brewery stand is like a dozen paces from the stage.