tom smith | make green bay weird | may 2017
The weather in Green Bay is finally starting to resemble spring and that makes me think of more indoor activities. I say this because Green Bay has a bonanza of great original music scheduled in the next three months. Friday, May 5 the Jedi masters of pop punk, the Parasites, make their debut performance at the Lyric Room. The reason this show is happening May 5th is because the Parasites wanted to be in Green Bay for the opening of Bay Beach. That band is rippin' for the Zippin Pippin. Will the Zippin Pippin be in Green Bay punk lore what Coney Island is in the world of the Ramones? The singer of the Parasites, Dave, went through a health scare recently and it is great to see them make this date, play for their legion of fans in Green Bay and also visit Bay Beach. I have never ridden the Zippin Pippin; my favorite ride is the train. Rounding out this bill is Rev. Norb and the Onions, who will be arriving with a fistful of new songs, T.I.G.T. and George's Bush.
That same weekend at the Lyric Room The Legendary Shack Shakers, Jesse Dayton and the Urban Pioneers will perhaps make Sunday, May 7th the most wham bam hootenanny ever on a Sunday night at the Lyric Room. Green Bay will have a short time to collectively catch its rock and roll breath because, and sit down if you haven't heard this already: the one and only The Blasters, one of America's longest running purveyors of pure rock and roll, are making their debut performance in Green Bay Thursday, May 11th at the Lyric Room. Also appearing: the Delta Bombers and Green Bay's very own Muddy Udders, who I can testify in a court of Blasters' law, that they are tickled pink to have the honor and privilege of opening for the Blasters.
The Blasters' tour manager, the one and only Danny Bland, is a certified rock and roll legend and a bona fide rock and roll renaissance man, and you can't teach that. The first time I met Mr. Bland was in good old Green Bay at the City Center Theatre when he was playing in a legendary punk rock band you might have heard of, the Dwarves. This happened not too long after HeWhoCannotBeNamed exited the Dwarves. Ever think that J.K. Rowling was making Dwarves references? Headlining that Dwarves show was the one and only appearance of Flipper in Green Bay. So I have taken it upon myself to declare May 11th Danny Bland Day in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Parade details forthcoming.
Saturday, May 13th I will be in Vancouver, British Columbia, seeing the Smugglers, the Muffs, Chixdiggit! and Needles//Pins but don't let that stop you from seeing the return of Freight Train Rabbit Killer. Everyone who saw their last performance at the Lyric Room can testify that they were mystified and spookified by this band. Their music has been described as post-apocalyptic country folk blues played by the Wyatt Family. No, they do not have a song about Sister Abigail. Opening will be The Foamers?, Harvey Brown, and That Last Sip Of Beer.
Milwaukee's Indonesian Junk will be playing Friday, June 2nd at the Lyric Room, and since it coincides with the birthday of Daniel James's — the band's singer and guitarist — this will be his birthday show. This show has a co-headliner in the recently elevated to St. Louis's number one rock outfit, Bruiser Queen. This bill is a stacked deck because also appearing are Tigernite and Evacuate the Earth, both from Milwaukee. Opening the show will be Manitowoc's Nigel and the Attempted Suicides. Friday, June 16th the Twins from Waterloo, Iowa, return with their Beach Boys/Raspberries power pop harmonies in tow. The rest of this bill is all close friends of the Twins, and those acts are Tim Schweiger and the Middlemen, Beach Patrol and Ian Olvera.
Friday, July 7th is the second most anticipated show of the summer for myself, personally. I used to book shows at the Concert Café here in Green Bay and one of my favorite regional bands I ever booked will be doing a reunion show. That band is the Electric Company, hailing from Oshkosh. They will also be accompanied this evening by film projections, something they would do at the Concert Cafe. This visual bonus fits in perfectly with their psychedelic meets prog meets rock and roll for punk rockers sound. Opening bands are not confirmed yet, except for Jordan Davis of Space Raft who will be putting together a band just for this show (Space Raft are unable to play). Jordan's previous band, the Mystery Girls, shared many a bill with the Electric Company.
Since the topic of bands that used to play the Concert Café was broached, I feel this is the perfect time to inform you of a show this summer that will have a number of bands that used to play there. Another reason this event is near and dear to my heart is because this will be my 50th birthday party. An event of this magnitude I needed help on, so I teamed up with Tom Johnson and we present to you Timebomb Tom's 50th Birthday Bash Sunday, July 23rd at Badger State Brewing Company. My birthday show will start at 2 p.m. and the headliner will be going on at 11 p.m. There will be 11 bands. The reason there's 11 is because this birthday bash doesn't go to 10 bands; it goes to 11 bands. No truth to the rumor that it's 11 bands to represent the number of world titles Bill Russel won with the Boston Celtics. At press time nine of the 11 bands have been confirmed. The confirmed lineup is the New Bomb Turks, this band from Columbus Ohio who has recorded for Crypt Records, Epitaph Records, Gearhead Records and many others were perennial favorites at the Concert Café. They were even part of the last show ever at the Concert Café/Rock & Roll High School. The New Bomb Turks are, without a doubt, one of the greatest bands to come out of the '90s garage punk scene. We also have the Humpers, another band that can lay claim to the title of one of the greatest bands to come out of the '90s garage punk scene. The Humpers and the New Bomb Turks were label mates together on Epitaph, but this will be the first time ever they play together in Green Bay. The Humpers also played the Concert Café many times including flying into Green Bay once to play what, at that time, was their last show ever. If this was the '60s, this would be like having the Who and the Rolling Stones on the same bill. Green Bay's very own Boris the Sprinkler will be reuniting for this show. The lineup for Boris the Sprinkler will be Rev. Norb, Paul #1, Ric Six and Paul #2. Beer City Records and Skateboards recording artists Deathwish will be playing. Their singer, Eric Hammers, lives across the street from me. I would list Eric's previous bands that played the Café, but that would cause me to far exceed my word limit on this article. Born Loose will be playing. This band features Larry May, former singer of the Candy Snatchers, who played numerous times at the Concert Café. They will also be playing some Candy Snatchers songs I've been informed. Michigan's very own Choke Chains are on the bill. Members of this band played the Concert Café in Bantam Rooster and the Chinese Millionaires. Glam rock sensations Cozy from Minneapolis represent fresh, non-Concert Café blood to this lineup, most likely one of only two bands playing that have no connection to the Concert Café. The other two local bands on the show will be Perfume and George's Bush. Tickets to this event will be available at the Exclusive Company Green Bay by the time you read this.
Badger State Brewing Company is doing their part to make Green Bay weird with the second super cool event they'll be having there in less than a week, because on Saturday, July 29th Badger State Brewing Company and KRUZ 106.7 present the Badger State Block Party 2017, an all-day outdoor festival featuring craft beer, food trucks, music, and block party fun. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Bay Area Humane Society. There will be live music from noon to 9 p.m.-ish. The lineup of bands has not been announced yet, but I got a peek at it and trust me, it is top notch. I must admit, I'm very excited about their lineup of food trucks. Mmm … food trucks. Their all-star lineup of food trucks is The Booyah Shed, Peace Love & BBQ, Pay It Forward Ethiopia, Egg Roll Plus and Maldonado's. Other block party events include the KRUZ Frozen T-Shirt Contest, KRUZ Trivia Contest, a Homebrewing Competition, Henna tattoos and face painting, a puppy play pen sponsored by The Bay Area Humane Society, lawn games, 50/50 Raffle and more. Jim's Music will be sponsoring the backline for this show. This should be a great day of live music, food and fun and hey, it's outdoors. Imagine that, I guess like Tim Curry, I will be working on my tan.
Live, long and hope to see you all at live music this summer.
--Banner photo of New Bomb Turks by Erica Hardesty.
Since 1984, when he first began selling records at Galaxy of Sound inside the Port Plaza Mall, Tom Smith has been part of the Green Bay music scene. Promoting his first show in 1986 and hitting his stride with the Concert Café (1995-2001), Smith continues to promote shows in Green Bay. He first honed his journalistic chops while serving as a student DJ at WGBW, interviewing such icons as Motörhead and the Ramones. Today you can find him championing live music and managing The Exclusive Company in Green Bay.