Earlier this year, a bunch of local indies in different sectors – 1840 Brewing Company, Cactus Club, Lakefront Brewery, Pabst Theater Group and Colectivo Coffee – got together to find ways to support small live music venues in Milwaukee suffering at the hands of the pandemic, when events were completely shut down.
Venues with a capacity of 300 or less can take part.
The result is LIVE Again MKE, which, in the words of a statement issued Wednesday, has, “a common goal: to support the re-emergence of our local independent venues after the long silence of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Component Brewing has also since signed on, and the collective is working with venues like Club Garibaldi, The Mad Planet, Company Brewing, Sam’s Place Jazz Cafe, Circle A, Caroline’s Jazz Club, X-Ray Arcade and, of course, the Cactus Club and The Pabst's Turner Hall andThe Back Room venues.
Organizers say the initiative could potentially assist as many as 25 area venues.
“This is an existential crisis because our indie clubs are critical to our local scene and also to those smaller artists on the rise,” says Gary Witt of The Pabst Theater Group.
“If these clubs close, there is no next Springsteen, Elton John or Lady Gaga.”
LIVE Again MKE will launch with a Beer Drive-Through at Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave., from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14.
LIVE Again MKE is encouraging area beverage makers to take part by creating their own special LIVE Again drink, be it beer, coffee, soda, cider, spirits, etc.
This first event will feature 1840 Brewing Company, Colectivo Coffee, Component Brewing, Explorium Brew Pub and Lakefront Brewery.
You can get a $50 pack that includes one LIVE Again beer from each brewery and a pound of LIVE Again coffee in a LIVE Again tote bag.
One-hundred percent of the profits will benefit the venues taking part in the initiative.
You can buy in advance – a good idea since packs are limited to just 500 – at liveagainmke.com. You can also make a donation at the same website.
More events will be announced soon, hopefully with more area brewers and beverage makers signed on to help. Interested makers should email LiveAgainMKE@gmail.com or use the contact form the website linked above.
"The entire team at 1840 Brewing Co is as passionate about live music as we are about craft beer,” says 1840 Brewing’s Kyle Vetter.
“Working on a project to help ensure Milwaukee Indie Venues can continue to provide us with amazing live events is a huge honor."
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.