Home / Music / Concert Reviews / Pablove Benefit Concert @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Pablove Benefit Concert @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Jan. 18, 2014

Jan. 20, 2014
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Photo credit: Benjamin Wick
It’s official: the 1990s are now officially a part of our collective past, an era that is now seen primarily through the hazy lens of nostalgia. Particularly in the realm of alternative rock (a phrase that came of age during the ’90s), genres and artists that once seemed remarkably transient are now seen as seminal cultural touchstones—for both those that lived through the decade and those too young to remember staying up late to catch the latest installation of “120 Minutes.”

As in past years, nostalgia was a crucial component of Saturday night’s Pablove Benefit Concert, a yearly event that aides the fight against childhood cancer, often reunites bands that played vital roles in the evolution of Milwaukee’s music scene. Yet even opening act Vic and Gab was not immune to looking backward, as this of-the-now Milwaukee act (their “Let You Down” was RadioMilwaukee’s song of the year for 2013) delivered a set that drew heavily from their debut album Love of Mine and evoked such ’90s luminaries as 10,000 Maniacs, Mazzy Star, and Belly. Though their sometimes too-safe alternative rock could stand to get a bit dirtier, sisters Victoriah and Hannah Gabriela Banuelos have beautiful voices that work well together, and Victoriah’s guitar playing is reminiscent of a young The Edge.

While Vic and Gab received a strong response from the near capacity crowd, the majority of those in attendance were there to see sets by two favorites from the ’90s or just after: The Benjamins and Alligator Gun. In the aftermath of the power-pop tsunami that they barely missed, The Benjamins’ material sounded too familiar and derivative. The guitar-driven angst rock of Alligator Gun, on the other hand, has aged much better. Drawing from their extensive catalogue, Alligator Gun offered up a propulsive set that highlighted the influence of the 1980s on those that came of age in the ’90s (a cover of Husker Du’s “Don’t Want to Know if You Are Lonely” loudly made this point). Songs such as “Dogs Hold Grudges” (from their 1993 debut album, Shirk), “Countdown by Fives” (from 1995’s OneHundredPercentFreak) and “Wink” (from their last studio album, Over and Out) reminded the listener of the timeless power of the indie rock equation of loud guitars plus a broken heart. And as the crowd screamed along to set closer “Delaware” it was clear that some things are indeed worth remembering.


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