. : : October 4th, 2006 : : .
Although What Made Milwaukee Famous shares a label with favourite bands Nada Surf, Death Cab For Cutie, Rocky Votolato etc. etc, I hadn’t really given the band so much as a cursory listen until the band opened for another favourite, The Long Winters. Coming to town in support of the newly released Putting The Days To Bed, the Long Winters were pulling out all the stops — hours long concerts filled with new hits, old classics, and John Roderick‘s trademark witticisms.
For weeks before the show, I struggled to get my hands on a video camcorder to record the set to digital video, in hopes to mix the results with a soundboard audio feed. Despite my pleading, begging and constant searching, I came up empty handed. So, imagine my surprise when, upon arriving at the show, I noticed a young gentleman setting up a tripod and video camera dead center on the elevated level about the dance floor, directly in front of the soundboard. The coincidence was uncanny. Although I’m normally ridiculously shy and incapable of initiating conversation with strangers, I had to step out of my comfort zone and step up to the plate.
So imagine my surprise when I found out that the gentleman wasn’t exactly a taper, like myself, but was actually touring with opening band What Made Milwaukee Famous as a friend and videographer. I introduced myself, told him what I was doing and my circumstances, and asked if he couldn’t set up a video to tape The Long Winters as well. I offered him money: the cost of the cassette, extra money for his efforts, whatever it would take. Richard, the gentleman’s name, waved me off and said he would gladly do it for the love of the music. So when he asked me to hook into the soundboard and record What Made Milwaukee Famous, who was I to say no?
In a fit of urgency, we approached the sound guy, who tried to help us get the right adapters to hook in while performing the duties he was, you know, actually getting paid to do. Unluckily for us, we were unsuccessful until the band’s set had already started. As such, the first song was lost to faint memories of yester-years. Luckily, the remainder of the set made it to tape, and sounds great. The music was, at the time, all new and fresh, and the band had just the right amount of jangle pop mixed with their synth rock to keep me intrigued. Highlights include Idecide and Hellodrama, although the whole concert is worth a listen.
As it turns out, Richard got a good chunk of the Long Winters set on tape for me, and the footage turned out wonderfully. Hopefully I did him proud with this recording. I did end up running into Richard a couple of more times, and we occasionally keep in touch via e-mail to this day. This recording is a fine reminder of not only a wonderful night but also the kindness of strangers. It’s with great pleasure, dear reader, that I do you a like kindness and post this recording for your perusal and, hopefully, enjoyment. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to go spark up a conversation with the person next to you and your next concert. Who knows? They may just enrich your life in ways unimagined.
This one’s for you, Rich!
02. Mercy Me
03. The Jeopardy of Contentment
04. Selling Yourself Short
06. Sweet Lady
07. Bldg. A Boat From The Boards In Your Eyes
Thanks to What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Long Winters, Lee’s Palace and it’s staff, and Richard Santos. Cheers, all!