Bands on a boat! This has crossed many a Milwaukee music lover’s mind this summer, as the Milwaukee Boat Line has successfully welcomed many a band to play aboard the Voyageur and Iroquois boats for their summer concert cruises, which have the bands testing both their musical chops and sealegs. This Thursday, July 22nd youthful blues-rockers the Wildbirds take their turn aboard the Iroquois, bringing with them new tunes to hand off to their fans in the form of an EP, Sunshine Blues.
Milwaukee Boat Line gives us a little background on the quartet, “Dedicated touring unit the Wildbirds started off in 2005 in a secluded hunting cabin in deepest Wisconsin. There, members Nicholas Stuart (lead vocals, guitar), Matthew Reetz (guitar), Hugh Masterson (bass), and Jon Jon Fries (drums) conjured up some freewheeling rock songs and sent the rough tracks out to labels, just to see if anyone would bite — Universal Republic did, in 2006. Producer Greg Fidelman (U2, Green Day, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and engineer Greg Gordon (Oasis, Hot Hot Heat, Jet) were brought on board to put the polish on the Wildbirds’ debut release, Golden Daze, and by 2007 the record was completed and out. Converting a short bus into a biodiesel-burning, rolling hotel, the lads set out on three massive tours of the U.S.”
The band has recently swapped musicians, core members Nicholas Stuart (vocals, guitar) and Hugh Masterson (bass) adding Quinn Scharber (guitar) and Bradley Kruse on drums, their sound a bit more mellowed and matured, with hints of T. Rex, the Zombies and straight-up country twang underlying their more straightforward rocker musical pasts, which included loads of Kings of Leon comparisons. “Like a Cigarette” contains a lazy swagger and the fuzzed out guitars a la Marc Bolan and 60’s style piano adds a little sparkle to the simplistic pop of “There’s Nobody Like You and Me”. Check out some tracks below, then check the band out live and on the water tomorrow for a 9 p.m. show. 18+
“Like a Cigarette”
“There’s Nobody Like You and Me”
*Update from the band re: the heavy rain/flooding in downtown Milwaukee: “The river has flooded to the sidewalks downtown so we have been forced to delay the boat show. The show will be rescheduled for another date which is yet to be determined. Instead we will be doing a free show at Yield [1932 E. Kenilworth] tonight around 9:30. We’ll have our new E.P. with us which will be available for purchase. Hope you all can still make it!”*