Any event organizer worth their salt knows that chaos, randomness, and uncertainty are their enemies. But what if an event not only celebrates chaos, randomness, and uncertainly, but is practically built around them? Enter All Messed Up, the annual “random band experiment” set to celebrate its 12th installment this weekend—Friday, February 16, and Saturday, February 17—at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn. Once again, things are going to get weird.

“This year’s shows will be some of the most intersectional diverse bands we’ve ever had,” says longtime participant and second-time organizer Jessica Kroha-Anderson. “I’m beyond excited for the showcase.”

So here’s the deal: Back in December 2023, 64 folks gathered at Linneman’s and were randomly paired into 16 bands of four members each. No musical experience was required. Then, each of the newly formed groups were given two months to come up with 20 minutes of original music and one cover song. This weekend, the 16 groups will perform over the course of two nights, eight bands per night.

Tony Schwader—he of local punk legends Holy Shit!—organized the first All Messed Up in 2010. Though the event has remained remarkably consistent in its concept and execution over the years (there were no AMUs in 2021 and 2022, due to the pandemic), the 2024 installment does boast some notable stats. Kroha-Anderson is the first woman to run the show. More than half of this year’s participants are first-timers. Last year’s post-COVID return shows were so successful—boasting AMU’s biggest overall attendance ever—that the event was able to fund a scholarship for Ladies Rock MKE. Oh, and this time around, each band must use props or costumes that somehow relate to their name or music.

“AMU is in my opinion one of the best-kept secrets in Milwaukee, and much more than just ‘shows,'” says Kroha-Anderson. “It’s a people experience and experiment, chaos, community, and all the best kinds of creative and weird I can think of.”

Both AMU shows are only $5 each, and begin at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7.) Want to find a lineup of who’s playing when? Click HERE. Want to find an ABSOLUTELY DEFINITIVE ranking of all 16 band names by how funny they are? Just look below. See you this weekend! Good luck, everyone!

16. J3D

15. Kalospia


13. Due Tomorrow

12. Mystery Planet

11. The Lucky 13

10. Sungazer

9. Cryptids


7. Brown Water Rations

6. The Cheeseheads And Mary Jane

5. Schroedinger’s Pizza Place

4. Bathrobes ‘n’ Boxers

3. Sweaty Mannequin

2. The Bag Lickers

1. Slutty Shel Silverstein

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.