The Midwest was been riddled with amazingly stacked free shows as of late. First there was Garrett Dale and Damien Christian at Gman. Then there was Decent Criminal with Hi Ho and Braver Days at Emporium. And to close out the weekend, there was a free Direct Hit! show… in Milwaukee. While I would drive (and totally have before) a mere 90 miles from Chicago into Wisconsin solely to see DH!, I was even more stoked because Kevin and his girlfriend Kaylin – having recently moved from the West Coast – had never been to Milwaukee proper before. We planned and executed an epic day full of Mars Cheese Castle visiting, dive bar hopping, spy bar exploring, Bronze Fonzing, and more before heading over to Puddler’s Hall for show.
Local Hardcore band Beggar opened the show. From what I can tell (and have heard), the band is relatively new. So much so that I cannot seem to find a Bandcamp or Facebook page for them. I came out of the bar area so see the singer on the ground screaming his guts out. Full of energy, fast and fierce, their set lasted only a few minutes but was epic none the less. I can’t wait to see… as soon as I can find them online.
Every single time I see a band play (practically) back to back shows while they’re on tour, I get tricked into thinking I know what’s going to happen. They’re going to play this song and then that one. Maybe they will mix up the stage banter a bit. What I always get blindsided by is the element of the crowd; that always changes the mix. Tonight, it was an all ages show. And these kids had a hell of a lot more to offer up than the Chicago crowd did. The amount of energy in the room was palpable and Decent Criminal seemed to be thriving on it, as their set seemed tighter and louder. And that’s saying something when you’re talking about a band that always seems to be playing their hearts and guts out.
The exhaustion of our amazing day trip was starting to wear on me. But that didn’t last long. Direct Hit! took to the stage and the tiny, packed room exploded with both sound and action. There were arms flailing all over as the band rocketed into “Paid in Brains.” The set was rich with ‘hits’ and the audience seemed to know every single word. Perhaps it was the magnetism of the crowd, or perhaps it was the pint glass full of Tito’s that I had been sipping, but I decided to pull this ‘slide and photograph’ move across the front of the stage that I was rather proud of. And, being 31, my body definitely didn’t reprimand me with a terrible dark purple bruise covering most of my left kneecap mere hours later. Definitely not. I could go on and on about Direct Hit! But if you’ve seen them live, you know and understand that there’s just no real way to verbally convey their onstage presence. So I’ll just let the photo gallery hopefully speak for itself: