words by Dan Oberbruner
If there’s any truth to the idea that Midwestern emo and hardcore is catching its second wind, tonight’s show at Cactus Club is going to serve as something of an introduction for those who weren’t there the first time around and as a reminder for those who forgot what was so exciting about having punk music that the rust belt could actually relate to. Prolific headliner Joan of Arc formed after the dissolution of the extremely influential Cap’n Jazz reworking the lyrical sentimentality of the band into a slower, more experimental project that often relies on sparse, acoustic arrangements and electronic manipulation to achieve a sensitive psychedelic sound. This year’s Testimonium Songs is one of the group’s most challenging releases featuring lengthy compositions and extended stretches of seemingly free-form sound passages.
Local openers Temple and Absolutely are perhaps Milwaukee’s best and most capable devotees to the manic enthusiasm and spastic compositions of early Midwestern emo and hardcore bands. Both barrel through technically complex, discordant songs with lyrics and song titles that read like something between super confessional diary entries and cynical scene commentary, both of which often get lost in the mayhem of the songs’ energy. As an added bonus, this show was rumored to be Absolutely’s last — which has since turned out to be circumstantially not the case. So for those of you who haven’t had a chance to catch one of the group’s popular live performances, you’re in luck. Though it’s likely that the possibility of never playing again is going to have some sort of impact on tonight’s performance, in particular.
Temple, Absolutely and Joan Of Arc play the Cactus Club tonight.