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Terrior Bute @ Riverwest Fest

Friday, Aug. 13, 2010

Aug. 17, 2010
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Riverwest has long been one of the city’s most diverse and artistically active neighborhoods, with a thriving music scene that flourishes in part because of the neighborhood’s unique makeup, and partly in spite of it. There are certainly places for bands to play in the relatively small area between Capitol Drive and North Avenue and the Milwaukee River and Holton Street (Linneman’s, Stonefly, Mad Planet, The Uptowner, Circle A, etc.) but not a single all-ages venue for young acts to hone their sound and gain exposure. House shows have long filled the gap, but are, by their very nature, only as reliable and consistent as the as the people who host them (and also, technically illegal).

In an attempt to remedy this lack, the good people from the Jackpot Gallery (825 E. Center) organized Riverwest Fest, a two-day affair featuring over 30 bands performing at a variety of venues throughout the area, hoping to raise funds to legitimatize the Eagle’s Nest (the music / performance part of the gallery space). It’s an admirable and rather improbable venture (for those freethinker’s among you who enjoy supporting admirable and rather improbable ventures, more info is available at eaglesnestriverwest.tumblr.com) but regardless of the way things ultimately turn out, the organizers have at least succeeded in putting on some good shows and drawing a lot of attention to the neighborhood’s eclectic scene.

Originally from Wauwatosa, Terrior Bute are not really a Riverwest band, but can count many longstanding fans and friends among the area’s residents. Approaching Club Timbuktu, which usually features dancehall, roots reggae and jazz, for the band’s 9 p.m. slot, it was clear by the throng of people smoking and chatting outside that many of those fans and friends had come to show their support. Inside, concertgoers mingled with a handful of regulars while the band set up.

As the show got under way, the club’s dance floor filled (though it never seemed to achieve the same density as the crowd milling outside) and the walls reverberated with blaring synthesizers and pounding drums. The trio’s sound, bereft of guitars, could be described as techno-punk, a more party-friendly take on Suicide or The Screamers, but it offers a myriad of pleasures that’s sometimes hard to pin down. Imagine a combination of Devo (to whom the band drew many comparisons early on) and the tense, kick-out-the-jams-motherfucker energy of the MC5.

There was an appropriate weirdness to watching the band do its thing as the club’s lasers and vibe lights played across the tropical décor, and though it was all over some scant 15 to 20 minutes later there was not a dissatisfied word to be heard. It was the kind of show that should inspire newcomers to seek out Terrior Bute gigs in the future, and with any luck, some of those gigs will be at the Eagle’s Nest.


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