Juiceboxxx takes you to Milwaukee
I won't lie to you people. I grew up in the suburbs. But as a kid, I spent all of my weekends in Milwaukee either playing shows or going to see them. Milwaukee is one of those wasted Rust Belt towns that sometimes feels trapped in the past but still has a ton of charm. It is a truly American city, and I've lived there, on and off, for my entire adult life.
I'm 26 now, and I feel like I've never fully grown up, but that's a different story for a different day. I do, however, have great memories of being a kid playing and watching live music in this city. And that is positive. These 5 spots just scratch the surface of my long history jamming in Milwaukee.
THE BARELY LEGAL HOUSE
Basement shows were a big part of my youth, and back then in Milwaukee there were a ton of them. The Barely Legal House was perhaps the most notorious and legendary of them all – a lot of destruction and insanity happened here. At its peak, there were probably shows here 5 nights a week, everything from pop punk to noise. I remember a particularly sweaty July night in 2004 when Japanther played in the kitchen.
RIVERWEST FILM AND VIDEO
Hands down the best video store in America, and I'm not just saying that. I have yet to find a store anywhere else in the world where you can get a bootleg DVD of the Kim Kardashian sex tape, a rare Warhol VHS, Paper Rad "PJ Vidz", and the newest Hollywood blockbuster all in one fell swoop. For years, I would throw the occasional show here. At eleven at night when the store closed, we would move all the video racks out of the way and jam. VIDEOHIPPOS, coughs, Big Digits and Jonny Corndawg all played memorable sets at the video store after dark.
SHOREWOOD LEGION HALL
In high school, this was the rental hall where we would throw all the big ragers. There was an awesome bar in the basement where old timers would hang out and drink. I remember once putting "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy on the jukebox 20 times in a row. After the shows we would always go across the street to Bakers Square to hang out and eat. Just some kids eating pie after the punk show… honestly, it really doesn't get much more wholesome.
631 E. CENTER STREET
This was a warehouse space above an auto garage that housed some really great art galleries and studios. There was a brief period in 2005 when I promoted a handful of shows there for bands like USAISAMONSTER and Occasional Detroit. Sadly, there was a fire in this space last year that destroyed a lot of art. I heard rumors that before it was an art space some anarchists lived up there and threw gabber raves.
THE GENERAL STORE
An art gallery, store and performance space decorated to look like a papier-mache cave and run by Tyson and Scott Reeder. This place was the shit! I used to throw a monthly teen dance party at The General Store in high school and I can remember how crazy it was for wasted 17 year olds to be dancing so close to some pretty valuable art. The spirit of that party was really important in shaping the music I would make in my late teens and early 20's.