It started as a mini-series last year November, promising only four shows. Those four shows came and went and now "Underground" at the InterContinental Hotel, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave., continues to provide "Music for the Masses."
Paired with 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, the "Underground" series started back up in January with three more shows still to come this winter. Could there be more? We’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, head to the InterContinental between 9:30 and 11 p.m. tonight to hear Margaret Stutt -- aka Pezzettino -- play her pop accordion originals. Mike Wisth plays Jan. 29 and Everett Thomas Feb. 5.
Recently, I caught up with Cassy Scrima of the Intercontinental, to find out what each Friday night entails.
Maureen Post: "How long did you initially plan to run the "Underground" series?"
Cassy Scrima: "We started "UnderGround" at InterContinental on Nov. 6, 2009, with the plan to have four concerts and gauge the public's interest in the series. Our guests and the public received the events so well that we decided to continue hosting the music series."
MP: So the response has been that good?
CS: We've been very happy with the positive response about "UnderGround." Out-of-town guests get a taste of Milwaukee music, and our local patrons enjoy a relaxed, stylish spot in the city to enjoy extremely talented musicians. The shows are all free -- we want anyone to be able to enjoy these great events and explore our hotel and everything is has to offer.
MP: What made you decide to extend the series after the holidays?
CS: We're very busy during the holidays with parties and other events, and so is most of Milwaukee. So it was a good time to break from the "UnderGround" shows. After the holidays when the hustle and bustle had eased, it felt like a great time to start up again. It's something that we'd like to keep doing.
MP: How have you chosen musicians for the series?
CS: We ask our friends, co-workers and the community what local music they're listening to currently. We check out local concerts, look for new and upcoming talent as well as well-known Milwaukee musicians. This city has a great music scene. Every year, there is new music being made and new faces on the scene. And we're open to showcasing all kinds of great music here. The space we're playing in doesn't necessarily accommodate a full, plugged in rock band, but more of a laid back, stripped down acoustic type of set-up so we also take that into consideration.
MP: What made you decide to collaborate with 88.9 Radio Milwaukee?
CS: 88.9 Radio Milwaukee has been an active contributor to our community since they developed. Because of their connection to the community and their love of nurturing great music in Milwaukee, we felt like it was a good fit for the music series. It's a very positive thing when you can involve more organizations within the community to help each other out. More people get to hear about what shows are coming up at "UnderGround" and we get to showcase RadioMilwaukee to the audience.
MP: Why is the Intercontinental the ideal location for acoustic live music?
CS: CLEAR, the lobby cocktail bar at InterContinental, has a very fun, creative, vibrant atmosphere that is perfect for displaying all aspects of the arts. Our guests get to relax in a comfortable setting, sip cocktails and enjoy small plate menu options. The musicians get to play music to a great crowd of people. The music flows fantastically throughout the whole lobby level. We often have other events throughout the hotel that attract both local and out-of-town guests so there are quite a diverse variety of listeners. And with our clientele, you might just pull up a seat next to a music legend, listening to the sounds of the world's next up and coming icon.
MP: How long can we expect the series to continue?
CS: We hope to continue hosting "UnderGround" at InterContinental as long as there is interest and people are excited about it. We love doing it -- giving the community an affordable, fun evening event to enjoy. Check back at InterContinentalMilwaukee.com/UnderGround for updates on upcoming shows.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.
After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined OnMilwaukee.com as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.
Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.