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Drugs Dragons w/ Head On Electric and Cyborg Fortress @ Cactus Club

Nov. 28, 2011
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Throwing a show on a holiday is always a bit of a crapshoot. On the one hand, people tend to get sluggish on food and drink and end up dozing contentedly in front of the TV, but on the other, prolonged, close quarters contact with family can sometimes have you planning an escape strategy. Either way though, it's always nice to have the option, in case relocating to the bar should become a necessity, whether out of frustration or in the interest of carrying on the fun. Of course, it all comes down to who's playing, and the decent Thanksgiving turnout at the Cactus Club Thursday was no doubt inspired by a lineup featuring a trio of some of Milwaukee's best rock acts.

Getting things going was the electronic duo Cyborg Fortress, who play in front of a wall of speakers and amplifiers that resembles, well, a fortress. Sometimes acts that rely solely on synths and effects pedals have a tendency to get lost in knob-twiddling minutiae, but Cyborg Fortress has a knack for blending brains and beats that keeps things in sharp focus.

Following them was Head On Electric, who in addition to having clearly absorbed some of the best bits of 1990s rock, also inject some smart psychedelic flourishes that enliven the entire sound. They strike a nice balance between easily accessible and enjoyably engaging that should keep new fans coming back.

Wrapping up the night was Drugs Dragons, who manage to be sludgy without being slow—heavy but still fleet enough to be really rocking. Their take on garage punk is fantastically sloppy, but it's all pinned to song craft that is anything but. Their recordings have been seeing some real positive attention lately, but they're also a kicking live band, with the earworm title track of their recent Milorganight EP coming off particularly strong.


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