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.
Jenny Besetzt does not shy away from a cathartic release. Just listen to the title tracks from their two full-length records—Only and Tender Madness—and it’s clear that the lean economy of their post-punk underpinnings is bursting with a poignant vulnerability. Maybe it’s the history of Romanticism encoded in vocalist John Wollaber’s DNA—he was born in Germany to an opera singer—that explains the band’s affinity to soften the sharper edges of their sound with cavernous vocals and dreamy synth arrangements. Live the band has honed their ability to shatter an audience with a devastating turn of phrase or instrumental climax, creating space for vocalist John Wollaber’s thundering voice to resonate. The rhythm section of bassist Nathan Price and drummer Thomas McNeely pushes and pulls with serpentine momentum through the delicate currents of Sara Bell's synthesizers. And their ability to convey the frustrations of trying to understand ourselves and the world around us has never hit harder. As the world continues to search for answers to the confusing and uncertain times in which we live, Jenny Besetzt takes us on a much-needed trip inwards—a path they walk with both vigor and grace.