Like a Tom Waits/Lou Reed/Mrs Butterworth Love Child

Last Saturday night (July 19) we went to a concert at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee -- it was our first visit to that theater, and we really enjoyed the architecture and decor. Very grande olde theatre style. Here's a photo of me in the balcony, and next to that is a photo of the glam rock chandelier that lights up the main theater. (I have to say, this beats the glam rock chandelier in our dining room by a long margin.) These photos were taken with my iPhone, so they aren't as crisp as our usual digital camera shots, but I've got to say, they're not bad for a camera phone with no flash, taken indoors in a dimly lit theater.

The opening act was The Watson Twins, identical twin sisters originally from Kentucky who are now indie rock / alt country darlings due to their guitar sharing, harmonizing, and slightly spooky stage presence. (Twins. Go figure.) We first heard The Watson Twins on "Rabbit Fur Coat," by Jenny Lewis. On stage the twins gave a good show, but due to a combination of slightly bad sound levels and their apparent natural tendency to mumble, we had a hard time making out the lyrics.

Next up, the main act: Singer-songwriter and guitarist M. Ward.

Trying to describe his voice coherently is best left to the professionals. To my ear, he sounds like a Tom Waits/Lou Reed/Mrs Butterworth love child. The music was excellent, but we found Ward's showmanship to be a little unpolished. We've been spoiled by the outgoing crowd interaction style of bands like Travis and Pet Shop Boys. Don't get me wrong -- M. Ward puts on a good concert, but it's not as engaging on a person-to-person level as some we've seen.

As we left the concert hall, we emerged into a bank of fog that had settled over Milwaukee for the night. Our walk back to the parking structure was quiet, as we passed strangely silent throngs of wedding revelers and what appeared to be a late-night Cub Scout urban walkabout. We're not quite sure what badge they were going for, but we saluted them anyway.

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