Before the headliner took the stage, however, Milwaukee’s own Fellow Kinsman opened up the night, filling the Bay View venue’s back room to the brink of capacity. The group’s winning blend of surf, indie, and alternative rock got bodies moving and heads bopping. They were later succeeded by Toronto psych band Hot Garbage, who got the crowd even more fired up with tricked-out vocals, doom-y guitar riffs, and powerful percussion before giving way to the main act.
Originally hailing from Indiana and now based in California, Frankie And The Witch Fingers (a quartet composed of Dylan Sizemore, guitar/vocals; Josh Menashe, guitar; Nikki Pickle, bass; and Shaughnessy Starr, drums) kept the crowd slamdancing, headbanging, and just plain rocking out in their return to Cactus Club following more than a nine-month Milwaukee absence. (“That actually got me invigorated,” an audience member remarked at one point in the set.)
Punky rockers like “Work” and “Sweet Freak” were reminiscent of new wave bands like Devo and Oingo Boingo, while jams like “Pleasure,” “Cavehead,” and “Realization” echoed ’70s funk and prog rock, and served to showcase Menashe’s blistering guitar work and Starr’s thunderous drums.
“How the fuck y’all doing, Milwaukee?” the extremely animated Sizemore greeted the audience. He was met by fists pumped in the air and enthusiastic applause.
The band’s—as well as the packed crowd’s—energy didn’t seem to flag for a second during the one-hour set. Frankie And The Witch Fingers’ members, especially Sizemore, whipped their hair back and forth and jumped around on stage throughout.
“Thanks for sweating it out with us, y’all,” said the frontman to the appreciative audience. Indeed, the lively show was quite a workout for both band and everyone in attendance.
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