Ever since The Globe’s last days and the end of the era of the Bay View and Shorewood legion halls doubling as makeshift venues, Milwaukee has struggled to foster and maintain an all-ages music scene. Within the last nine months, the already depleted population of places catering to underage bands and music fans became even more endangered when three of the city’s longest-running and/or most active all-ages venues were forced to close their doors. After about two years (on and off) on Locust Street, Cocoon Room called it a day last July. Borg Ward‘s unheard-of run of eight years in Walker’s Point came to an abrupt and tragic end in February, only to be followed into the abyss by the young-but-bustling Lucky Cat in Riverwest less than a month later.
Host Tyler Maas was invited to the soon-to-be-vacated Lucky Cat by Eric Apnea (Holy Shit!), a former booker at Cocoon Room who currently lives in the Lucky Cat space. Kelsey Kaufmann (Gallery Night, Youth Crush), a lifelong proponent of all-ages venues, joined in on the conversation. Together, the trio delved into the broad topic by comparing the state of all-ages music in Milwaukee today to that of yesteryear, discussing the importance of all-ages venues as a whole, laying out the limited businesses that can serve young crowds (some better than others), and suggesting lasting ways the city can address this growing artistic abscess. Along the way, Apnea and Kaufmann re-lived the role that all-inclusive sites played in their adolescence and musical development. Meanwhile, Tyler fought against the distraction of a frequently chirping smoke detector.
As always, this episode is brought to you by our friends at Ale Asylum. Music in this episode comes courtesy of Piles (“Blue Glue”) and Appleseeds (“2-4-10”). Subscribe to On The Record via iTunes or Stitcher (for free!).