For nearly twenty years, Milwaukee’s Cactus Club has been among the finest live music venues in the Midwest, featuring such acts as The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Death Cab for Cutie, The Sword, High On Fire, The Faint, Bright Eyes, Eyedea & Abilities, Red Fang, Sylvan Esso, Redd Kross, Sharon Van Etten, Polica, Russian Circles, King Tuff, and countless other national, international, and local bands.
While the more obvious side of punk rock tends to be its discontent, Huntington Station, New York band Iron Chic use their melodic punk to evoke the genre's sense of community and oneness. Forming the band in 2008, singer Jason Lubrano, guitarists Phil Douglas and Robert McCallister, bassist Mike Bruno, and drummer Gordon Lafler cultivated a driving and infectious sound packed with so many singalong choruses and whoa-oh-ohs that it's hard not to want to dive in and be a part of the action. Pair a sound like that with songs whose lyrics tackle the disappointment, angst, and uncertainty of life and you have a virtual maelstrom of emotive and engaging punk reminiscent of bands like the Bouncing Souls. Iron Chic made their full-length debut in 2010 with Not Like This before eventually signing with Bridge Nine Records, which released their sophomore album, The Constant One, in 2013. A darker tone imbued their third album, much of which was written following the January 2016 death of guitarist McCallister. Released in October 2017 via SideOneDummy, You Can't Stay Here dealt with issues of mortality, anxiety, and ultimately, perseverance.
Dusk is an alt-country band from Appleton, Wisconsin that write dynamic pop music with a heavy dose of New Orleans' soul and front-porch Americana exuberance.