Milwaukee's near-legendary trio The Danglers celebrates lucky 13 on Valentine's Day weekend with a trio of gigs at Circle A, 932 E. Chambers St., in Riverwest.
The band plays at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11-13 and promises a different set list each night -- each band member gets a night -- and special guests. The evenings will be recorded and The Danglers will play a mix of new and old material as well as stuff that's never been played live before.
Violinist and vocalist Jason Loveall, drummer John Sparrow and upright bassist and vocalist David Gelting create a sound that is difficult to describe, though it contains elements of progressive rock, jazz, acid rock, fusion, metal and more.
The band's members have -- over the years -- also worked with a variety of diverse musicians, including avant garde jazzman Fred Anderson, Irish rockers The Tossers (they share a stage together for St. Patrick's Day at Turner Hall this year!) and hometown favorites like Violent Femmes and Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds.
Though the band's members have been busy with varied projects, they've always stayed connected and working together, says Sparrow.
"The band has been getting together once a week religiously for the past few years," he tells me. "We have been multi-track recording every rehearsal for the past four years, as well. So we have been recording new material, improv jams, experimentation, etc.
"The band's allure has always been the improv spirit displayed during the live show, so that element is finally being captured on tape in an honest manner. We have been mixing all the recorded songs and improvs, (we) continue to write new material and plan future "events" not just gigs or shows."
Sparrow says the band hasn't really felt pressure to do much of anything and that has helped them be musically fertile and, therefore, trend-proof.
"Fortunately, we have been afforded the luxury of doing what we want at our own pace," says Sparrow. "Our sound and style is so unique that we are not in jeopardy of going out of style or missing the boat on a given scene."
Some other gigs in town this week include:
I was disappointed that The Godfathers canceled a previous Milwaukee appearance, because I had hoped to see a friend who was the band's guitarist. The good news, Godfathers fans, is that Peter and Chris Coyne, guitarist Del Bartle and drummer Grant Nicholas play at Club Garibaldi in Bay View on Friday, Feb. 11. The band news for me is that the inimitable Kris Dollimore will not be there.
Chicago roots-rock group YellowHammers plays at Linneman's Riverwest Inn on Saturday, Feb. 12. The band is traveling the Midwest in support of its self-titled fourth disc.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.