I attended my first MKE Psych Fest this year, and it delivered. I was astounded by the turnout and the quality of the people who were there throughout the weekend. I only made it there two days, but next year I will plan for the four day span (which includes an early show on Saturday). The only thing I dig more than getting psyched is getting psyched by 5:30pm!
I went to the Thursday night show, in particular, to see the band Loop from the UK. I can’t say I was hip to this band from the start. I stopped at RushMor a few weeks before the festival, and Dan said they were great. After giving a few of their albums a proper listen, the decision was made for itself. The night began with the Dead Gurus out of our neighboring Minneapolis. I was wildly entertained during their performance, the stage presence was phenomenal. The songs seemed to bleed in and then abruptly renew with each track. The Dead Gurus were followed by Moss Folk out of Milwaukee. Moss Folk includes Andrew James Shelp who organized the whole shing ding. Damn impressive, sir! I was a bit confused at the beginning of their set, but by minute three I was totally into their groove. Finally, it was time for Loop. You could tell the crowd was getting as excited as a six year old who is about to receive that magical happy meal toy that will complete their collection of plastic molded objects. The entire set was amazing. These guys have perfected their craft. There was a literal wall of sound coming at you and I was definitely reminded of it the next morning with my subsequent ringing ears. But shit, that’s what we are doing this for: those reminders that make your next day not quite as mundane ’cause you got to see fucking Loop from the UK last night at the Cactus Club.
Saturday Early Show
I had to work Saturday so I got to Cactus Club later. Unfortunately I missed Space Raft, but anyone who is interested can check them out Saturday May 10, 2014 at Cactus Club for their Debut Album Release Show. The first band I saw on stage was Brujas Del Sol out of Columbus, Ohio. They definitely set a high bar for the afternoon. These guys all knew how to use their instruments extremely well and put every note on display for the crowd. From my perspective, it seemed the performance was concise and flawless. The set list was diverse enough to keep the crowd going and after each song it seemed like the fans were more entranced and showed more appreciation as the set progressed . The second band to take the stage was Golden Donna out of Milwaukee, unfortunately I missed this one. I could explain, but what’s the point. My bad. The third band was Dirty Dancing. Dirty Dancing was definitely had an energetic set. They had great stage presence, which is hard to achieve at 7pm with most of the crowd just standing there observing. These guys seem to know how to build up a song and display it (and the lead singer’s rad dance moves) during their shows. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the band members were from MKE, Minneapolis, and Austin. This is going to be a fun band to watch develop their sound. If you have not checked them out, I would suggest you do so in the future.
Overall the best element of Psych Fest MKE was the atmosphere. It was great to see a respectable turnout and everyone there was pleasant to take in a show with. Even the artist who made the artwork for the Psych Fest poster (shown above) was a blast to talk to. The staff at Cactus Club truly did an amazing job hosting the event. These guys deserve their own round of applause! The bands were diverse and gave their fans everything they had, which is all that can be expected. I apologize that detail is bit thin, but in my defense I was getting psyched. I am already looking forward to getting psyched next year, but before I get too excited, I want to show gratitude toward everyone who made the event possible. It is only fans who can put Milwaukee on the map for music. If we participate then the artists, shows, and sound will follow. If we continue to build on the foundation that Shelp established, who knows who will be performing at next years Psych Fest!