[EDITOR’S NOTE: The images in the gallery are currently overlaying themselves. A fix is currently being worked on. Until then, the pictures can be viewed in static form over at flickr and the kaleidoscopic overlaps will remain in the gallery below.]
There are certain towns in Wisconsin that exist slightly off the beaten Madison-Milwaukee path but retain a sense of industry, rather than the sprawling scenery the state’s often noted for. Wausau is one of those towns. Farther North than most major show destinations, it’s managed to carve out its own little niche in terms of tour stops based on the strength of the venues. One of the city’s most noted non-house venues is the Polack Inn, a bar perfectly suited for DIY level acts.
Last Wednesday it was used to its fullest capabilities hosting We the Heathens and Midnight Reruns. The former acted as local support and played a lengthy well-received set which offered up an inviting blend of traditional Gaelic, folk-punk, and 90’s pop-punk. Each member of the Wausau power trio proved to have very capable control over their respective instruments (guitar, mandolin, and violin) and their audience. A late start saw much of the crowd dispersing after their set- which they’ll likely be kicking themselves for after learning what they missed out on.
Midnight Reruns, now comfortably positioned as one of Wisconin’s best acts (both in studio and live), played a typically incendiary set that featured no less than five new songs. It’s worth pointing out that after the last Midnight Reruns show in Stevens Point, a person close to the band noted that their new songs were “redefining the parameters of rock n’ roll”. That sentiment proved to be more true than expected, as the new songs ably merged distinguishing characteristics from the last handful of decades. A few of the structures were borderline progressive but overall, they gave off of a vibe more vintage 70’s (while remaining impossibly modern) than the 90’s powerpop that seemingly every review wastes no time administering. It’ll be interesting to see how the new material is met once it’s officially released, to say the least.
After a blitz through all that material (which made time to include several songs from their self-titled debut, which should be considered a state classic, and “Too Tall” from their Central Time EP), they packed up. Or, rather, they began to pack up until a friend of the band requested one last song: “Basement Guy”. No one could blame her for the request; any time there’s the potential for that song to be heard, that opportunity’s worth seizing. Her request was graciously obliged (under the warm, well-intentioned reasoning of “Guys, it’s Claire [requesting the song], come on.”) and the performance that followed can be seen below. It’s the first video to be put up under the now-officially-rebranded Heartbreaking Bravery video section and it’s impossible to imagine anything being better for a first entry.
Scan through the photographs and watch the video (select 1080p for best quality) below.