Wild Kingdom is one of those Milwaukee bands of yesteryear that local music fans continue to bring up with regularity to this day. Even though they broke up in the mid-’90s (with much of the band subsequently forming Citizen King and briefly experiencing mainstream success thanks to “Better Days”), the band’s reputation lives on through its rowdy live performances and its innovative sound that brought them this close to breaking out. Sadly, most Milwaukeeans under the age of 40 probably never had an opportunity to see Wild Kingdom play live. And videos of the band performing are few and far between. Until now, that is.
Recently, Dan Backhaus—a Milwaukee expat who manages Abby Jeanne and GGOOLLDD—got his hands on a dubbed copy of a video he shot in December 1992, which features a full Wild Kingdom performance at Shank Hall. The then-16-year-old Backhaus was able to capture some great footage from the front row as the band performed 16 songs over the course of a 73-minute set. There’s pyrotechnics, ample energy from both the band and the audience, and a great extended glimpse of one of the city’s most iconic acts of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
If you never had the chance to see Wild Kingdom back in the day (or if you did but you’d like to see them again), check out the full video below.
Backhaus was also able to unearth an old VHS recording of a Shank Hall show by The Pacers in 1993. The video of the seminal Cream City ska band—which features a young Andy Noble of Strange Town, Kings Go Forth, The Get Down, and We Buy Records notoriety on bass—offers footage of The Pacers’ soundcheck and concert, and it has a runtime of almost an hour.
Take a trip down memory lane, see what the local music scene was like 30 years ago, and check out this show by The Pacers below.