Yep, you heard me right. Heart Breakers is an older neighborhood gentlemen's club and the manager, DJB, formerly ran the Rock Shop here in Milwaukee. I had all sorts of concerns and questions going into this one, but hey, we gave it a shot and had a damned good time. The venue is on the smaller side, but I have to hand it to DJB and the staff at Heart Breakers: It sounded damned good. And when going to a concert that's really all that matters. It was also very nice to get out of the sub-zero temperatures to a hot club for a night of music. Sets were short (four bands on the bill) with each band playing eight or so songs.
First up for the evening is an older Milwaukee band called Moloko Shivers.
Now I first saw Moloko Shivers back in the day on the QFM Rock Stage. Yep, before they went smooth jazz. Last I heard, the band had broken up. Guess I heard wrong. They reunited in 2005 and are back to doing shows, and still putting on a helluva show. Moloko is one of those mainstay Milwaukee bands. Long gone are the bright colored psychadelic costumes and a more relaxed toned down look is in its place. Playing guitar-driven, good old fashioned rock and roll with a dash of funk, a splash of blues and the occasional pinch of southern rock, Moloko still sounded as good as they did back in the day. They are also a band that has a great time performing. Watching them smile through their whole show put a smile on my face as well. Some of their songs were "Lumbersome," "Heavy Lip," "Night Has Drown," as well as the trippy "So Full of It."
2-West (which gets its name from the mental unit in their area hospital) put on a great set. Much more energy than the last show, they did well on the compressed stage. Once again a band having a great time doing what it does best is always a good time. And in typical lead singer fashion, mild distraction was provided by the ambience. They played my favorite of their songs "So It's Like That," which is basically a fuck-you type of tune. Also performed were "Dried" (be sure to check the video out on their myspace page) and "Broke," as well as the tribute to fallen heroes, "Decay." I think they found their groove.
9MM Solution is a band with a gimmick. I swear when I saw them all dressed up, I thought they were going start off with a Scatterbrain song, and unfortunately I had the song "Don't Call Me Dude" stuck in my head for weeks. They were angry, brutal and edging on hardcore sounds at times, but the thing that had me excited was seeing a 5-string bass. They played mostly songs off their 2006 release One Shot One Kill, however a few tunes came into the mix. I really enjoyed "Suicide Letter," an ALMOST ballad about "Killing off that part of yourself that you hate to become better." They were recently signed by Mortal Records, and I expect to see them far more as soon as they line up a new drummer to replace the soon-departing Ed.
There is a heaviness to this band, however a helluva lot of melody as well. A great way to get a feel for their differences is listen to "Visualize to Terrorize" and then go and listen to "Hate This Place." Two completely different sounds, yet the mesh well with each other. The actual coolest part of their set was in the middle a young man named Mark proposed to his lady love Christa. In the middle of a concert. In the middle of a strip club. How freaking cool is that! BTW She said yes!
Driven closed the show up for the night. They are at times than the other, but there is a cool ass funk undertone to everything they play. "FunkNBrutal" was just a cool song with a little infecto groovalistic feel. The even tossed in a lovely ballad with a delicate and sweet sounding guitar that was purely emotional. They pulled from many different influences such as hard core, funk, even old skater ST punk. The biggest drawback for me is the vocalist admitted several times he had a few too many during the wait. Although the only effect I could see was the need for a bit longer pauses between songs.
I really like seeing that technical talent and the attempt at a different sound is growing on Milwaukee's music scene. This evening was well worth venturing out in -10 degree weather.