We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: 2014 is/was Milwaukee music’s finest year in recent memory. Before this especially fruitful annal in local music, we’d probably point to the early-to-mid 2000s as the last epoch that could at least rival the great things happening as we speak. Those golden years yielded Decibully’s prime on the Polyvinyl Records roster, Call Me Lightning truly hitting its stride (and regularly playing shows!), The Promise Ring was passing the baton to Maritime, the BoDeans had only been irrelevant for 10 years, and Fox’s The O.C. was playing tunes from the likes of Sincebyman and Temper Temper (who, with Call Me Lightning, were all making waves on Revelation Records).
Outside of unkempt MySpace pages and used CD store gems, very few relics from that stacked era of Milwaukee music remain. Thankfully, Temper Temper guitarist/keyboardist TJay Christenson recently uploaded his former band’s 2005 appearance on the short-lived MCM 14 cable access show “Cactus Nights” to YouTube this week. Now, nine years and a day removed from the gig at the titular Bay View club (though they almost certainly played after midnight, making it EXACTLY nine years), the act of former local note still holds up. Between rectangular wipes and reminders that we’re watching MCM 14, Temper Temper—which boasts current and former members of Space Raft, Decibully, Moon Curse, Centipedes, Managra, and Hero Of A Hundred Fights—goes on an emphatic journey through the majority of its still-great self-titled debut (and final) album. Some non-musical highlights of the 28-plus-minute performance include: people smoking inside Cactus Club (remember that?), an 18-year-old Christen Hansen (of Whips and Hot Coffin) in the front row…and a white basketball jersey, floppy dude hair galore, and enough crowdsurfing to make everyone watching feel as if their best days have long elapsed. Some lowlights: they didn’t play “Delicate Pimp.”
It’s been long enough. We hereby demand a Temper Temper reunion next Milwaukee Day or Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party…or at least a few more “Cactus Nights” episode leaks.