Home / Music / Concert Reviews / Greatest Lakes w/ Zoo Animal @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn

Greatest Lakes w/ Zoo Animal @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn

Oct. 25, 2013

Oct. 28, 2013
Google plus Linkedin Pinterest
greatest lakes milwaukee band
Greatest Lakes

Nothing on Zoo Animal’s 2012 release, Departure, could have prepared listeners for an incredibly economical and powerful set of classic guitar rock-inspired tunes. The recording is a new direction for the band opting for simplicity and spaciousness over the regimented chaos of their live set and earlier material. What’s probably most striking for new listeners is Holly Newsom’s deep, rich voice, which calls to mind a more focused, early Cat Power with less dark, inward lyrical reflections and more outward thinking, positive observations. This performance saw the band in optimal performing condition after returning from a 10-day East Coast tour, incorporating post-rock melodic flourishes and bombastic drumming seamlessly into not so much a cohesive set, but one that was capable of drawing listeners into each song individually occasionally jarring peripheral listeners with lines like “You have to be awake to love someone,” and “There is no evil.”

Local headliners Greatest Lakes have added an additional guitarist and a good deal of new material to their set. The effect is one of further fullness and continuity of the group’s charm—which lies in their ability to cull the warmest and most comforting aspects of ’70s acts like Crosby, Still, Nash and sometimes Young into something so complete in its execution that it appeals both the sentimentality of people who heard it on the radio the first time around, kids who grew up hearing their parents listen to it and kids who are just getting into it now. It would be hard to talk honestly about Greatest Lakes without mentioning the modern torchbearers of ’70s-style light rock, Fleet Foxes. There are earmarks of influence from the swirling, cyclical melodies and harmonies down to even the song titles from the group’s 2011 Sun 7-inch. That aside, Greatest Lakes have staked out their own territory capturing a spacier, modern version of palatable west-coast folk rock. The band closed the night with what appeared to be a somewhat expected encore of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia.”

Between Vic and Gab and Boy Blue at Freak Fest in Madison, Sat. Nite Duet’s album release show with Jaill at the Polish Falcon and the many other great small-venue and house shows this Halloween weekend, Milwaukee music fans had a lot of great performances to choose from. Considering the dissimilarity between the group’s styles, Catching Zoo Animal and Greatest Lakes at Linneman’s was an unexpectedly great night. According to Greatest Lakes’ website, the group is in the process of recording an album, though there is no scheduled release date yet. Zoo Animal is presumably back home in Minneapolis hopefully working on new material. Newsom said that the band as we saw it at Linneman’s on Friday night is as-of-yet undocumented.


Do you believe President Obama is politicizing tragedies when he brings up gun control in the aftermath of mass shootings?

Getting poll results. Please wait...