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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014

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Gretchen and the Pickpockets is a family affair.
Gretchen and the Pickpockets is a family affair.

Gretchen and the Pickpockets on tap at Jazz Estate

Tossing the van keys in the trash at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere is just one of the notches in the "first national tour" belt of Gretchen and the Pickpockets. While it may not be the typical tour debauchery of bygone days, it’s just one anecdote this band is collecting along the way.

The Jazz Estate will host the up and coming group on Thursday, July 3 at 9:30 p.m. The band was chosen as New England’s no. 1 best new band by the Hard Rock Café’s Battle of the Bands. Its unique blend of rock, pop, jazz and Motown will provide a Summerfest alternative for those looking for a musical option outside of the Big Gig.

Wallet chains can safely be removed. Vocalist Gretchen Klempa and her bassist brother, Mike, hail from Pick Pocket Woods, N.H., hence the group’s name. They both attended the University of New Hampshire where they met and formed the rest of the group two years ago. 

The sibling element doesn’t necessarily make for a Partridge Family experience on the road. Guitarist Richie Smith had a messy run in with some dog waste departing from his house to the tour van, but the band sees these sorts of little mishaps as "a good omen."

According to Matt Turner, manager of The Jazz Estate, audiences can expect to be wowed by the show, which is in support of the Pickpockets' recently released self-titled debut LP, out now.

Turner continues, "We are excited to be adding to the music in Milwaukee during Summerfest time! It's also our weekly "Jazz In The Dark" Thursdays, partnering with Lakefront Brewery, so the first 15 paid get a free Riverwest Stein."

The band has become accustomed to packed houses in venues both big and small but they are especially looking forward to the intimate environment The Jazz Estate offers because, "engaging and connecting with the crowd lets us give a unique, energetic and memorable performance every time we play."

The tour will be the band’s premiere beyond the borders of New England. Mike Klempa says they are especially excited to delve into Milwaukee’s notorious beer and cheese scene.

"If there is such a thing as overdosing on cheese, I think it will happen to us."  

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