Cactus Club rocks Bay View
Tucked away on Milwaukee's near south side is one of the city's best rock and roll clubs.
Once a bar frequented by boating regulars from the South Shore marina, the Cactus Club was bought by one-time employee Eric Uecke and slowly turned into a jumping nightspot for alternative rockers of all stripes.
During Uecke's tenure as a bartender at the Cactus Club, numerous Milwaukee musicians began to converge there, fondly dubbing it "the clubhouse" and retiring there after rehearsals and gigs at local clubs.
Once Uecke took the helm, the back room was opened up for performances by local, national, and now international acts.
Constant upgrades to the sound system and the room mean the Cactus Club is always improving.
And Uecke's got his finger on the pulse of what's happening in music, bringing in gritty rockers like Royal Trux, alt.country bands like The Mekons and the Sadies, legends -- on near-legends -- such as Andre Williams and Wesley Willis, and internationally-known acts like Scotland's Idlewild and Italy's Uzeda.
Without the Cactus Club, much of this music would simply bypass Milwaukee as clubs like The Rave and Shank Hall are often too big for these great, but lesser-known, bands. Uecke also books many local bands into the Cactus Club.
Pop in on any given night and clustered around the bar -- and sometimes popping bottle caps and draining beer taps behind the bar -- is a random sampling of some of Milwaukee's underground musical movers and shakers, including members of bands like Die Kreuzen, Couch Flambeau, E*I*E*I*O, and others.
This corner tavern -- at the locus of Russell Avenue and Wentworth Avenue, just across the Hoan Bridge -- is unassuming, outside and in, and has a neighborhood feel, with dim lights, constant chatter, and a jukebox loaded with rock and roll gems.
Concerts take place almost every night of the week and cover charges are low ($4-$8, generally). And this is a place to feel "in the know." The small back room makes for intimate events with bands and audiences barely separated.
The Cactus Club is located at 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., on the corner of Russell Avenue.
From downtown, take 794 east over the Hoan Bridge and follow the signs to the intersection of Russell and Superior Streets. Continue west through the traffic light (when it's green, of course) and the Cactus Club in on the next corner on the right side. For information, call them at (414) 482-0160. The Cactus Club opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Couch Flambeau is my cousin, Jay's band. They have been rocking the cactus for ever. Great to see this mention. Even though it was 9 years ago. ;)
1 comment about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.