Slowly making a respectable return to the Milwaukee music venue scene, Hotel Foster took over a spot that at one point housed The Globe East and celebrated its second year of operation with Foster Fest. The fest brought some really great acts through over the weekend, including Har Mar Superstar and Jaill, with Generationals closing the celebrations on Sunday. It doesn’t take long to come to the realization that Hotel Foster is still a great place to see a show
After a few albums filled with studio maestros and pop aficionados, the Louisiana quartet known as Brass Bed, found themselves comfortable in a branded image of pop-infused fuzz rock. With a noticeable live energy and shows becoming faster, the group developed a disconnect between the stage and studio resulting in their their third studio album, The Secret Will Keep You. With only a few listens to the new album and unfamiliar with any older material, I was swept away with an explosive performance from the group on Sunday night.
I admit that I am fairly new to the group and with only a few listens under my belt I was unfamiliar with the majority of the set, which is somewhat irrelevant when you have the pleasure of witnessing a phenomenal live band like Brass Bed. Whereas some bands maintain a high level of energy, they often have difficulty maintaining any sense of quality, which proved untrue for Brass Bed. Not only do the guys know their craft, often trading instruments between songs, they have the ability to put on a flawless performance.
Their general attitude was positive overall, joking with the audience as those in attendance yelled for more. The set ended with the lyrics “I’d rather take a bullet/I’ve been thinkin’,” from “A Bullet for You,” slightly after a mesmerizing jam filled with distortion and wailing guitars. There is a clear connection between the sounds heard on the albums and their ability to add just that little bit extra live proves them to be a band worth checking out.
Sometimes with opening bands, you never know what to expect, but with Brass Beds starting things off right we patiently waited for the New Orleans duo. Made up of Grand Widmer and Ted Joyner, the Generationals have been captivating the ears of many since 2009’s Con Law and 2011’s Actor Castor and now more than ever with 2013’s Heza, which the guys are currently on tour in support of.
With a small light setup in front of American flags and deer antlers hanging off the wall, the duo took the stage at around 11. Accompanied by two additionals members on drums and bass they dove into the hour long set with an array of songs, many which I didn’t recognize from previous albums. As I mentioned above for the opening act Brass Bed, it doesn’t make a difference whether you know the songs or not when you are dealing with some live acts. Similar to a Dr. Dog show, the Generationals have the ability to hold your your attention throughout, hoping that it will never end.
The guys played a considerable amount of songs from Heza, such as, “Spinoza” an immediate crowd pleaser which resembles something from the late 80’s with it’s upbeat melody. “You Got Me,” briefly slowed things down a bit, tapping into the group’s more electronic side of things, while “Put a Light On” did the opposite (a personal favorite). At one point the duo showed us a glimpse of 1950’s doo-woop with contemporary tones as the duo sang, “When you wear your black sunglasses/Nobody Could change your mind” from Con Law’s “Change your Mind.”
The night was absolutely perfect from the venue to the performance. Together Brass Bed and Generationals make for a perfect concert bill and while I can only speak for myself, there is a strong chance most in attendance left feeling privileged to have witnessed two phenomenal bands in a fun, intimate environment. With the two acts on the rise I highly recommend checking them out live or at the very least giving Brass Bed’s The Secret Will Keep and Generationals Heza a listen… or six.