To anyone familiar with the concept of an in-store, they might guess that they were in for a visit to their local record store to stand amongst piles of vinyl, CDs and posters, to watch a pre-venue show set. Generally, this would be the case, but with record stores and their collective resources a bit more few and far in between, music nerds are getting creative with the stripped down show concept;. So it goes with William (BJ) Seidel, of Burnhearts Bar in Bay View — owner of Burnhearts, Seidel has decided to take the intimately winning qualities of a typical record store in-store and fashion a new version.
Presented as Burnhearts’ Happy Hour Sessions, Seidel will welcome musicians to perform early sets in the cozy environs of the bar, where patrons can catch some music early on a school night, get a chance to see a band they dig, twice, and take in some music in a smaller, more subdued setting with all the whistles and bells of a normal happy hour. And the best part? Seidel has just begun.
The sessions, presented along with WMSE, start off with Athens, Georgia folky twang-rockers, Futurebirds, who will hit up the Cactus Club for a show with Jonny Corndawg and Chaperone later in the evening. For those unfamiliar, Futurebirds’ recent release Hampton’s Lullaby is a drawled-out and sweet take on modern roots rock and the band’s live performances have gotten rave reviews for their personable atmosphere. Listen to the first track off of Hampton’s Lullaby, below, and read up on what Seidel says is the first happy hour session of many to come…
Futurebirds, “Johnny Utah”
Where did the inspiration come from?
The idea is based on “in-store” performances – when a band shows up early into a city and plays a teaser set at a local record store to promote their headlining gig at a rock club later that night…as we all know, outside of Record Store Day, this just doesn’t happen as often as it did back in the 1990’s when stores like [Milwaukee’s] Atomic Records were at their peak. As a traveling musician myself, I have always enjoyed the pre-show warm-up as a way to acclimate to a new city. In addition, I think it’s mentally healthy for a band to chill out after a long drive before the the dreaded load-in.
What bands do you plan on inviting for future performances?
We’ve hooked up with WMSE, local promoters and indie-blogs to get the word out to bands that might be interested. In addition to the live performance, we intend to broadcast the sessions at a later date on WMSE and stream them via the blogs, so I guess any band that is looking for a little extra promotion will be considered.
Where did you find out about Futurebirds?
Will it be primarily national bands? What about local bands?
I think it would be awesome to have local bands! I just don’t want bands to think we are booking shows here – we are merely doing a short set pre-show teaser during our happy hour…
Where will the bands be set up?
In the front of the bar, on the floor, amongst the bar stools, on top of beer cases. It’s gonna be a real low-key vibe. An amp, a microphone and a box of percussion. All the band needs is some songs, a guitar and a punctual arrival and we’ll provide the rest.
How often this will happen?
When the fit is right. Once or twice a month, maybe. I don’t ever want it to be a unfun. We are by no means a club, and I would never want it to feel that way.
The Burnhearts session will be a free, happy hour showcase starting at 6 p.m., sharp. Burnhearts is located at 2599 S. Logan Avenue in Bay View. Futurebirds play a 21+ show at Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth) at 9 p.m. with Jonny Corndawg and Chaperone.