Kelly Hogan is one of the busiest working musicians around and on Sunday night, she reminded The Pabst Pub audience of why she is so in-demand with a marvelous performance that showcased all of her talents.
Hogan has worked alongside a laundry list of indie rock superstars over her career and may be best recognized lately for her work as part of Neko Case’s backing band. It is easy to see why Hogan would serve as a collaborator with so many people. Not only does she harness an immense amount of talent, but she also has a very likeable personality.
After explaining that she was wearing pants that she bought from a discount website where returns weren’t allowed, Hogan made it clear that the pants were not terribly comfortable. After each song, she would hike them up and readjust and even was provided with suggestions from the audience on ways to make the pants fit better.
Hogan – who also played at the Cactus Club back in January – also made a point to reiterate how much she enjoyed being able to perform on Sunday night. "I love Milwaukee so much so I’m going to start playing before I start making out with all you guys."
Since the Atlanta-born Hogan resides in Evansville, she was able to weave in some humorous references to Wisconsin that added an extra layer of enjoyment. For example, Hogan told an hilarious anecdote about being judged while shopping at Piggly Wiggly since she was wearing a tucked-in shirt, as if that was a snobbish thing to do.
There haven’t been too many shows in the side Pabst Pub, but Hogan’s performance served as a great showcase of why it works as an alternate intimate venue. The sound quality matched the level that is expected at the family of performance halls. The only problem was from a pocket of the audience in the back who treated the concert more as a social event instead of a performance.
Since The Pabst Pub is such an immediate space, there were individuals who were seated in the very front who came back to remind this group to quiet down. At the same time, this intimacy also led to genuine interaction between the crowd and the performer such as the aforementioned pants solution suggestions and a moment where the songwriting skills of David Mead were simultaneously praised by Hogan and an audience member.
Sunday night’s show consisted of songs from her 2012 release "I Like to Keep Myself in Pain," as well as a number of covers. Hogan’s most recent album is really great and it was wonderful to hear that there was no drop-off from her recorded songs and her live versions of songs like "Haunted," "We Can’t Have Nice Things" and "Dusty Groove."
While there certainly could have been a bigger crowd, Hogan still put on a fantastic show and hopefully will return to Milwaukee soon…whenever she gets back from her continued travels all around the country.
The opening act for the evening was Milwaukee’s Jayme Dawicki, who was joined by her sister Tracy on vocals. With their parents in the crowd, the Dawicki sisters harmonized in that special way that only gifted sibling singers can. Dawicki’s opening set featured songs from her most recent album "Love Love" as well as her prior record "Shatter Queen."
Her song "72 ½ Toyota Truck" has received a fair amount of airplay on local radio and Dawicki provided an interesting story about the song's origins. However, the highlight of her set was her song "Crush," as it best captured her songwriting talents combined with the passion in her voice.