Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Concert Coverage - White Arrows & Beat Connection at Cactus Club

A couple of up-and-coming bright spots in the indie music world came through Milwaukee on Saturday, in the form of two bands: White Arrows and Beat Connection.

Cactus Club is always a pleasurable place to see a show, with a mellow, dive-bar environment coupled with a great venue room that features great sound. Saturday was no different, highlight by two bands that knew what they were doing on stage. Neither band featured too much stage presence or crowd interaction, but that will come with time and granted, there weren't a whole lot of people there to interact with. This is always a shame, especially when three bands are playing music that begs to be danced to (Teen Daze opened the show, and definitely worth checking out).

Touring to promote their debut LP, Dry Land Is Not A Myth which was mistakenly left off of my "Best Of" list for the year thus far. This mistake will not be repeated later this year; the album is a fantastic debut for the California-native band.

White Arrows' sound on the album translated incredibly well to their live set, with lead singer Mickey Church's vocals shining through a great backing quartet. I was incredibly impressed with the lead guitarist's ability, occasionally switching instruments and shredding whatever he touched.

The group has an eclectic yet familiar sound, at one point sounding like a male-lead Crystal Castles, another couple of songs sounding very power-pop influenced (i.e. Reptar, Passion Pit), then switching to a boy band-inspired TV on the Radio group a few songs later. A few tracks from the new album were recognizable and really got my attention: The opening track to both the set and album, "Roll Forever" was great, and "Coming or Going" and "Get Gone" are both outstanding songs.

Beat Connection was next, and had a tough act to follow. As more people filed in, the crowd was a little more responsive to what was being laid out in front of them atop a 2-foot-elevated stage.

Out on tour with a new album to promote (The Palace Garden), Beat Connection was a little more straight forward and less abstract sounding than White Arrows, but still put on a good show. Sounding more like a Tanlines-esque group that's been caught in space instead of a beach, Beat Connection actually put on a great show, creating an infective sound with great drum samples and synth sections. The songs "Palace Garden, 4 am" and "Saola" both stand out, and if you're looking for an introduction to the group, check these out first.

To finish the show, Beat Connection brought out members of White Arrows and Teen Daze to cover The Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place," which was a very fitting selection for a few bands that are heavily inspired by Byrne and company.

Overall the show is definitely worth checking out, and you're running out of time to do so. See these bands before they make it "big" and you end up kicking yourself for it next year. The remaining tour dates can be found below, as well as two official videos, one for each band.

July 17 - Hi Dive, Denver, CO
July 18 - Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT
July 19 - The Reef, Boise, ID
July 21 Capitol Hill Block Party, Seattle, WA
July 22 - The Electric Owl, Vancouver, BC

Beat Connection - "Silver Screen" (from the Surf Noir EP)

White Arrows - "Get Gone"

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