Road Blog: Thursday July 14, 2016 - Milwaukee, WI
July 14, 2016
We left home around 1pm with hopes of smooth passage around the southern tip of Lake Michigan and up through the heart of Chicago on our way to Milwaukee. Everything was ok until we approached the I90 Skyway into the city and, as usual, it took us 2 hours to get through the quagmire. We eventually came out on the other side, on I94 north of the city, and crossed the Wisconsin border.
Milwaukee has always held a special place for me. In my late teens my friends and I would drive down from Marquette, Michigan to see punk shows here, as it was a good couple hours closer than Detroit for us. It’s always had a northern sort of vibe to me and always feels familiar and friendly when I come back. This was the Tucos second show here, but I also played here on a solo-acoustic tour in 2010, and a couple times with SlugBug back in the 90s.
We checked in at Frank’s Power Plant – our venue, a dive bar in the up-and-coming Bay View neighborhood. There was an early show wrapping up so we went to grab some dinner at a hipster bistro up the street. Walking in we ran into John and Bruce from New Rocket Union – a band from Minneapolis who was also on the show with us. We hadn’t met in person and this was a great random coincidence! We had dinner together and it was really cool to hang out for a bit before the show.
Frank’s Power Plant is a cool dive bar with a band room and a bar room on separate sides. There’s a small stage and plenty of room to watch the bands. It’s nice and dark, smells like booze, and has a good Midwest vibe going on. The bartender is a salty British dude named Matt the Rat who was super cool to us and loved pouring whiskey and serving up Iron Maiden Trooper Ale.
1st up was Chris Head and the Honchos – a 3-piece from Milwaukee. They had a great, dialed in sound with smart songs, great guitar tone, and bass lines that toggled between Mike Watt and John Entwistle. They reminded me of Alex Chilton at times.
Next up were our new pals from Minneapolis – New Rocket Union. They’re a 2 piece, guitar and drums. They were shot out of a cannon – cramming a hell of a lot of songs into a 40 minute set, one after another, Ramones style. They were tight as hell and super energetic. Keeping with the Alex Chilton theme, they covered The Letter. We are glad to know these guys and we’ll be crossing paths again for sure.
We hit 3rd and played what we felt was a pretty good set in front of a small but appreciative audience. Dive bars are certainly our comfort zone and we felt right at home at Frank’s. My amp is working great since the power tubes were replaced a couple weeks back, and it was a super fun set.
The Atomic Spins (from Milwaukee) closed up the night. Super nice dudes, road dogs like us, with some Michigan connections. These guys were tight and rocking too – great songs, great dual guitars, and tight. We hit it off well last night and I know it’s not the last we’ll see of them!
We sold a little merch, mingled with the other bands and some locals a bit, and loaded out. I was the designated driver so I corralled the troops and got us back onto I94 and back to our AirBB without incident. This morning we’re having some coffee while Patty and Gabe nurse low-grade hangovers, and we’re getting ready for the drive across Wisconsin to Rochester, MN where we’ll play tonight.