For reason even the band itself can’t fully grasp, The Midwest Beat is big in Italy. In fact, the decade-old Milwaukee/Madison folk-rock act says its material seems to go over better with European listeners than it does with audiences stateside. The veteran band’s cross-continental appeal has earned them a spot on Italian-based Wild Honey Records (which co-released The Midwest Beat’s damn fine 2014 album, Free Of Being, with Milwaukee’s own Dusty Medical Records) and yielded two successful European tours. The first tour went so well, actually, that singer/guitarist Kyle Denton met his fiancée at one of the band’s shows.
After Saturday night’s Cocoon Room show, The Midwest Beat will prepare to head to Europe again to play close to 20 shows throughout Italy, Germany, and Switzerland in belated support of its almost nine-month-old record. Aside from local gigs and sporadic Midwestern shows on weekends, this will be the first time the band will be touring on this release.
“If we can organize three weeks of the year to tour, we choose to tour in a place that really takes care of us,” Denton says. “You get amazing food, you get amazing places to stay, and get to see really cool things. It’s like a once in a lifetime experience, and we’ll be doing it for the third time.”
Fittingly, as The Midwest Beat prepares for its European vacation, the band decided to release a video for a song inspired by events from the last time they were across the pond. Drummer/videographer Christopher Capelle suscinctly sums it up, saying, “It’s a compilation of all the videos we’ve taken in the Alps from the last tour spliced together.”
Denton has a more thorough explanation of the song’s inspiration.
“We were playing a show in Switzerland, and in Switzerland there’s a border, so it isn’t part of the European Union. When you leave Switzerland, we’re told we shouldn’t have any drugs in the car. Basically, we were told to burn up our supply that night.”
The product of that, uh, controlled burn is a hazy ode to the continent that’s growing more familiar to The Midwest Beat with each new release and a trippy vacation video, complete with an illustrated band to boot. Before Midwest Beat leaves the U.S. check out this video, then see them play on Saturday, May 9 at Cocoon Room in support of Vacation (Ohio), Mexican Knives (Michigan), Tenement, and Fox Face. The (all-ages) show begins at 7 p.m. and costs $6.