I once wrote “Galactic Cannibal is a band one has to see live to believe.” I know – fucking YAWN, right? One of the beautiful things about starting your own site with your friends is that you make up the rules. One of those rules is that I can say whatever I feel. Galactic Cannibal is a fucking mess of a band. But I mean that in the best way possible. The first time I saw them, I was in shock at their exaggerated and lively stage performance. They’re not a technical band; no one is stressing out that the last song wasn’t played just as it was on the record. They are fun. They are loud. They are fucking great. So when I heard that they would be reuniting for a pre-Dummerfest show in Milwaukee, I started planning my trip.
Flash forward to Friday, June 23rd at Triple Zero in Milwaukee. I had shown up early, bummed around with Brian and Erich of PEARS, watched Jarret eat some take-out Pad Thai, and gathered my friends to trek to the nearest bar for a quick drink before the show started. We were on track to Mamie’s Tavern (thanks Yelp) but first found an open door with an Old Style sign proudly hanging above. To those of you not from or who haven’t visited the Midwest, that is the Midwestern symbol for BAR. To my delight, the word UNICORN was painted on a wooden plank under the beer sign. We don’t need Mamie’s; we had found Gene’s Unicorn Bar!
We walked in and the first person in our seven person party spun around and warned us, “They’re playing ‘Hotel California’.” The bar was partially filled with about fifteen patrons… all staring at us, blank faced. The group slowly made our way into the middle of the bar when suddenly, a woman verbally welcomed us and all of the patrons began to cheer and clap! We had suddenly all become Norms of the divey Milwaukee version of Cheers! Seven drinks came to $16 and this is the story of how we all missed the first band of the evening, Pay Up. I’m usually a huge stickler for covering every band at a show. But some experiences are just to good to pass up.
We did make it back in time for Galactic Cannibal. Although it had been around three years since the band last played, they were just as energetic, manic, and bizarre as ever. Peter Woods wrapped the mic chord around his face and screamed as he rolled around on the floor. Andy Slania and Nick Woods thrashed back and forth as the played bass and shredded guitar respectively. And it was all held together by Ryan Bollis’ drumming. The majority of the room where fans, although there were a few fresh and shocked faces. But everyone seemed to be either singing or nodding their heads by the end of the set, which included Peter falling to the ground, posing for the camera, and having Mountain Dew poured into his mouth by a crowd member.
The last band of the evening was the unstoppable PEARS. Over the last five or so years, I’ve seen this band play every size venue from a coffee shop to huge, outdoor festivals. They always play with the same vigor and showmanship despite the venue size or crowd. Of course, tonight was no different. But what made this show even more special was that the band decided that they would be playing their first LP, Go To Prison, from front to back. This is the time of year that many festivals and bands have been releasing their full-album set plans for the upcoming months. But, to me, they can all fuck right off now because NOTHING this year will mean more to me than PEARS’ surprise from this night. It was halfway through their set that I realized that Galactic Cannibal and PEARS have a number of things in common. They both have talented guitarists shredding song after song. They both are back by two drummers who never walk away from a set not dripping with sweat and exhausted. They both contain bassists that know how to mix melody into their punk without stepping too far over that line. And lastly, they are fronted by two of the most animated singers who give everything to their performances.
But enough with the words. Here are photos from the night!