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Here’s the biggest reason I love Milwaukee: On Monday, I saw three awesome bands — Dappled Cities, Interpol (see lead singer Paul Banks’ photo above) and the Fratellis — in one night.

I shuttled to and from the Pabst Theater and the Rave to do so, but it wasn’t a hassle at all. No expensive parking to pay, no traffic, no sold-out crowds. Just pure, unadulterated musical bliss.

Dappled Cities (see photo below), whose album “Granddance” is one of the best I’ve heard this year, certainly was charming live. I don’t think Milwaukee crowds are normally that receptive to opening acts (especially since they played at 7:30 p.m.!), but the audience was amped enough to mill around the pit during their 30-minute set.


Afterward, I hustled over to the rave where Interpol was playing. I’ve seen Interpol live SIX times, which was why I chose to cover the Fratellis over Interpol. But Erika Bock (who was supposed to cover the show) wasn’t feeling well, so I figured it was a disservice to not go and see my ex-future husband, Paul Banks.

The thing about Interpol is, even though their sound hasn’t changed much through three albums, the band still produces excellent songs that stick in your head no matter what. They still perform intense live shows. There’s still something about them that gives people butterflies in their stomachs. And the light show at their concerts — which turn the members into dancing silhouettes — just adds to their mystique.

It was hot and muggy at the Rave, and it was so full that it took me a while to navigate through the crowd. The Rave was the smallest venue I’d ever seen Interpol in, so it gave me a goose-bumpy feeling of intense love to see the New Yorkers so close.

I never realized, for example, that Daniel Kessler plays so hard that his eyes are closed most of the time (see photo below). Or that Paul Banks has freckles and wears gold jewelry. Or that on Carlos D., a handlebar mustache is brooding and serious, unlike Colonel Sanders’.


After about 40 minutes and stellar selections from “Our Love to Admire” (they opened with “Pioneer To the Falls”), I figured I was going to get another chance to see Interpol this weekend at Lollapalooza. So I returned to the Pabst — but not before they played “Slow Hands” and “Obstacle 1” — two of my favorites from their previous albums.

While the Interpol crowd was rapt in attention (I saw more than one mouth hanging open throughout the show), by the time I got back to the fourth oldest theater in America, the Fratellis’ set was well into party mode, courtesy of the frat-boy-esque heavy crowd.

I got there at around 10 p.m., when the trio was playing “Henrietta,” their first single. Everyone was bouncing like mad around the pit or their chairs, and a few hooligans stage left would yell out the “doo-doo-doo” riff of the band’s hit, “Chelsea Dagger” IN BETWEEN EVERY SONG.

It got really annoying, especially since they did that during the opening acts’ sets as well. And the Fratellis obviously weren’t going to sing it until the very last possible moment. Still, it was helluva lot of fun til the very end. I was right too– “Chelsea Dagger” was the last song of the band’s encore. Booyah!

The gig 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 30
Genre alt-pop
Where Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St.
How much $10

Here’s another reason you should go to the Pabst tonight: it’s a night where the British Empire rules again. The Fratellis are Scottish, the Switches are from England and Dappled Cities are Australian. So you’re totally justified in calling your mates cause you know this show’s going to be a banger.

Dappled Cities (also known in Sydney as Dappled Cities Fly) has been ruling my iPod for months now. My cousins are Australian so they keep me abreast of good music from Down Under, and as a great publicist said, their latest, “Granddance” is one of the best of the year. The band is on tour now, and is staying stateside til December, said Dave Rennick, co-frontman of the band. (He shares vocal duties with Tim Derricourt.)

Now touring throught the U.S., Rennick (who was easier to understand than Jon Fratelli, by the way), said American geography has yet to have any relevance to him. Still, the reception has been awesome, he said (before the Fratellis they were touring with Canadians Tokyo Police Club). “We definitely got to see the American crowd — now that the album ‘s out, it’s really great and rewarding because people knew our songs and were singing along,” he said.

Dappled Cities’ songs are a mix of bravado, whimsy and dance-pop, drawing comparisons to David Bowie, and the Church. “I always thought we were just your garden variety indie pop band,” Rennick said, drolly. Instead, with it’s upbeat melodies, interchanging vocals and happy hooks, it makes for perfect make-out music, perfect cleaning music and perfect driving music.

It’s also very charming music, a trait that Rennick delivers over the phone easily. He jokes about needing naps and being unable to keep up with tourmates Tokyo Police Club (who are only 20). He names Arcade Fire, the Beach Boys and Roy Orbison as their influences, and even namechecks the Midwest indie scene (i.e., Pavement and the Flaming Lips) for their eclectic sound. Like every garden variety indie pop band, “What we try and do is create something on our own,” Rennick said.

Having two songwriters –and singers — in a band is a bit odd, no? I ask if it’s like being parents, as there’s a definite yin and yang contrast in their music. Rennick laughed. “That’s a good analogy. But as long as I get to wear the pants then it’s OK,” he said. And yes, there is a “competitive edge to get things moving,” he added.

Bonus: Trivia Box!

Rennick named a few of his favorite things because he was being cute. Ahem.

Fave cheese Blue Vein
Fave beer “We don’t drink Tooheys in Australia, you know. Just kidding. Umm…Pabst Blue Ribbon.” Yeah, right. “OK, Cooter Browns. Which I drink a lot.”
Do they watch football? “No. We don’t have football in Australia. We have cricket, rugby and soccer. There’s also a weird sport called Australian football with different rules.”
Fave movie “Godfather 2”
On his playlist “Lucky Man,” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer…oh you don’t know it? Look it up, it’s a banger,” Rennick laughed. “Actually, I’ve got an mp3 player that’s not an iPod. Its one of the dodgy ones so I never know what I’m listening to. You should just make one up for me.”

Lilledeshan Bose