If you live in Milwaukee, the “grass is always greener” rule may not apply. After driving around the world in a shitty car playing gigs the past four years, I’ve realized how ridiculously sweet Milwaukee actually is compared to Earth’s other cities. It holds up: classic architecture, big-hearted people, quality music scene, and low douchebag to non-douchebag ratio. Here’s my list of reasons why Milwaukee is the most underrated city in America.
The weather (low douchebags)
You’d think the crap weather is the main reason why people don’t like Milwaukee. THINK AGAIN JABRONIES! Milwaukee’s devastating winters and seven months of dog shit weather are the saving grace of this town. Why? IT KEEPS THE DOUCHEBAGS OUT. If ol’ Milly was sunny all year, the word would get out, all the assholes would move here, and we’d become the next Miami of Ohio, Daytona Beach, Wrigleyville, or mini L.A. Woof. If it weren’t for the harsh winters, we’d all be total babies and club to Rihanna every weekend.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee may be one of Earth’s most prolific scenes for alcoholism. On the plus side, we have some of the best damn beer in the world. It seems nearly every bar has 15-30 beers on tap. Lakefront Brewery and Milwaukee Brewing company anchor some of the key microbreweries. Burnhearts, Wolski’s, and Cactus Club are just a few of the top places to drink for old-timey vibes and time traveling. (Key note: Milwaukee is also the namesake of the best shitty beer in the world, Old Milwaukee.)
Say what you will about the expensive beer and crowds, but Summerfest is Milwaukee’s oldest standing live music tradition, and it’s the mega jam. Yes, intoxicated zombies bump into you and spill your beer countless times per night, but the amount of quality shows in one place is unmatched for any festival ever in my opinion. Summerfest also does a great job to put Milwaukee bands on the map. Keep an eye out for another stacked lineup of rockin’ in 2017.
Milwaukeeans are not soft people. They have a very low tolerance for bullshit. Perhaps the weather has hardened them. Perhaps it is because ol’ Milly is a “workin’ man’s” town. Regardless, Milwaukee has always been a stronghold for good guitar bands. The famous ones that paved the way might include Maritime, Promise Ring, BoDeans, and Violent Femmes. Other newer bands include Direct Hit!, Jaill, Surgeons In Heat, and Midnight Reruns. Rock.
88.9 Radio Milwaukee
After doing extensive traveling and radio listening around the world, I’ve found few stations to be as quality as 88.9 Radio Milwaukee. 88.9 takes risks. They champion new bands, they avoid playing the cliché super hits, and they stand by indie rock and songwriters in a very electro world. Some people may argue that Seattle is the “Michael Jordan” of rock ‘n’ roll cities and Milwaukee is the “Scottie Pippen.” But we all know Scottie Pippen was better than Michael Jordan in the first place.
Turner Hall/Pabst Theater Group
In the past five years, Turner Hall has dominated Milwaukee talent buying. The venue has given Milwaukeeans an enjoyable gig environment with good sound and shows that don’t start late as fuck. Massive love to Turner Hall for bringing so many of my favorite bands over the years.
High LPC (Legends Per Capita)
Legends can hide in the most unsuspecting places. Legends can come in the form of a server, janitor, bus driver, or bartender. Milwaukeeans are good Midwestern people with big hearts. Thus, the nooks and crannies of this town are filled with cool, friendly people to help brighten your day. Milwaukee is one of the least pretentious places I’ve ever been.
Brett Newski will celebrate the release of his latest LP, Land Air Sea Garage, Saturday, November 5 at Cactus Club.