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  • Brümeister 4:10 am on March 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brümeister, , Pandemic, , Quarantined, RonaDays   

    Revelation w/ Cheese 

    The Corona Wars.
    Inspired by the ammo runs at gun stores.

    All you heavily armed folks from the WOW counties are now designated as the WOW County Raiders (after the Lemoyne Raiders not the Vegas Raiders).
    We are the MKE Rainbow Punch. Our logo is a big fist painted with a swirl of skin tones.
    Our first skirmish will be over the overturned cheese truck on I43.
    Unless they clean it up.

    Our leader will be Milverine.

    Yours is Glenn Grothman.

    Our greatest battle will be on the site of the old Lawsonian Institute near Foxconn after a series of flanking maneuvers brought our armies south.
    Whereuopn our chants led by Coo Coo Cal and Mario summon the cloud form of Emil Seidel to battle a giant Voltron version of Joe McCarthy piloted by Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, and Scott Walker.

    Walker refuses to wear the federally mandated seat belt and falls out of the giant robot’s ear ending that part of the fight. Still the battle is not going well as the Rainbow Punch suffers under the blockade around the city. All hope is lost for the Punch when the suddenly the ghostly figures of the Wisconsin’s fallen soldiers since 1848 appear riding a ghost train from Madison led pulled by Fred Risser on a magically restored/converted Allis Chalmers tractor named Fighting Bob. The Iron Brigade walk through the hail of WOW Raider bullets and bayonet half the Raiders sparing only the ones that weren’t wearing confederate flag. And the angry spirits of our departed World War 2 soldiers destroy the Raiders wearing Nazi or other white power emblems. With it’s main force depleted the Raiders retreat north figuring to shelter at Lambeau field but the elite Gold Package troops hem them in. The last of the Raiders retreat to their capitol at Holy Hill where they pray for guidance and intercession from Father Groppi who instructs them to surrender to the State Poet Laureate.

    A celebration of peace occurs on Vel Phillips Avenue. Thus a new festival is born to the state of Wisconsin.

    Walking through the mists of a city in quarantine. This vision came in the fog of March, translated in ashes on the East Side, while Motörhead was on shuffle.
  • Brümeister 2:43 am on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Twenty Twenty: The Year of Hindsight and Vision. 

    World War One battlefield as seen today.

    We have entered a NEW YEAR! There have been looks back galore recently. Year end lists, best of the decade lists, 30 year anniversaries, golden jubilees
    and centennials and for all those lists and markers there are rebuttals and protests. Amendments and arguments. What keeps them relevant is the how we use the past. That’s been a working theme for our band since its inception. I’d love to tell you we are cranking away at the next album but the old difficulties rear their heads. Scheduling conflicts, new creative interests, and good old writers block all contribute in their own fashion. I’m hopeful that we will make our way to see fit to start the next big project this year and that it will be on par with our last two releases.
    In the meanwhile I have to ask myself: what am I doing to contribute?

    PolkaHipHop’s my contribution This is not despite the immanent threats of war, climate change, genocide, nuclear holocaust, racial tension, political indifference, and even reckless driving… no it is because of them. The creative expression utilized in this project varies in its aims depending upon the factors in the lives of each member.
    Speaking for myself, the struggle to make art has felt like a losing effort as the grinding indifference of economics overpowers the optimism of the “starving artist”. Hunger or deprivation of any of those basic needs forces the hand eventually and soon you find yourself splitting your week between three jobs. The grind is exhausting. You tell yourself if there is one thing I will allow myself it is to make time for X project. But when that X is reliant upon coordination of time between people also under the same burden of constant work and family needs well then you watch it all drift away into the promise of the future. That’s why bands monetize themselves and focus so hard on branding. It creates a sustainable work/life environment.
    We’ve had so much support here in the last 8 years that we didn’t think we’d get that we put our aspirations out in front and shared them with you all on each release by naming the next project. So what will The Wild Wiemar be? Well, personally, my ideas keep shifting around.
    On the one hand, I’d like to see more collaborations with other artists in the city to create some new sounds. It is a record after all, and we can do whatever we want to there. On the other hand it may not be the best idea to try to work with a bunch of new people when the core group is struggling to meet up! Practical vs impractical etc…

    As far as what I’m thinking…well we have a lot of lyrical content right now. For sound we’ve talked in the past about mixing more influences into the sound than just the two genres. NTSC has always been a big advocate for ska and introduced me to some ska that I actually like. Spade ONE, KC 2 tha Beat, and Bass Face Mike Ritter have been discussing mixing up something dnb style Some of the things I’ve been listening to have been more on the low-fi end of the spectrum but how would that translate lyrically? There’s a lot to answer for but that is just the hip hop element? We gotta bring the Polka! We are after all the Best Polka Band in Wisconsin, right?

    Our next show is Jan. 26, 3:30pm at Cafe Lulu in Milwaukee’s Bayview neighborhood.

  • Brümeister 1:11 am on November 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Best Of Milwaukee, , CSPAN 2, , , , , , Rebel Music Stage, , , Shepherd Express, , , ,   

    The Greatest War, A Nice Award, & A Pretty Good Year 


    And we are going to be in Madison on Monday night in The Greatest War at Shannon Hall!!!

    It’s Saturday and I finally published a blog about this year’s pursuits relative to the the band but I feel like I short changed anyone that is used to long meandering blogs from me…and I have no idea if such a person exists or if anyone reads these for the most part but they can be excruciatingly difficult to churn out when you are trying to stay topic oriented. So with that in mind bear with me through some run-on sentences and questionable grammar. 

    I love that we are doing this again this year. I still can’t believe we performed in front of a crowd of that size and that we were also a part of something so special AND now we get to do it again.

    Left to Right: KC 2 Tha Beat, Brümeister, BassFace, SpadeONE, NTSC

    Personally, I have felt a bit lost with our project of late. As a band we aren’t together as often as we need to be to get the creative juices flowing. Part of that is just the grind of capitalism. I have so many part time jobs I don’t know whether I’m coming or going and I am well aware that our Wild Wiemar project has been simmering on low for some time. And while I am proud of The Black Hand EP  there is part of me that think we could have done more. But trying to get 5 souls together at any given time is a nearly monumental task. 

    The crowd assembling as we took the stage at the Milwaukee Polka Riot 2019!

    It’s hard to stay ultra positive about every aspect of life let alone one’s own creative endeavors. The desire to compare one’s success to other and despair at one’s own shortcomings is ever present. BUT when something happens, no matter how subtle it is, and it can be seen in a positive light then you have to elevate that moment.  One such moment was indeed the Milwaukee Polka Riot 2019 . However there were a few things that made the night a little more difficult than any of us had intended. As we were on stage the merch tent was robbed. None of us have spoken about it and since it is now November and to my knowledge, as of this writing, the thief has not been found out or returned the money from two months ago we are unlikely to get any of it back. That person didn’t just us they robbed the festival. They stole money from touring bands and they stole money from local acts. It’s not enough for me to condemn it here but because we have all sat so long in silence and had no progress this year will forever have a stain on it. BUT live an learn. Next year will simply require more vigilance and hopefully greater investment from Milwaukee as a city as well as area businesses so that we are able to grow the festival to the point where something like this never happens again. 

    Despite that what I believe came out of having an overall successful 3rd

    Brümeister with Frank Chandek and Spade ONE at Crusherfest!

    year was that we are now seeing a cultural resurgence of polka. How do I know this? Well, twice have your November Criminals been nominated in the Best Rap/Hip-Hop category in the Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee awards. While some speculate as to the authenticity of the vote (is it democratic or is it like the Democratic Party in 2016?) I like to think it is genuine. How much fun would it really be to conduct such an award every year just to give it to Webster X anyways (he’s really good actually). AND not only were we nominated as rappers twice in the past but last year KC 2 Tha Beat our own Kevin Christensen was nominated for Best Hip Hop Producer! In our case, given our experimental nature it really did feel nice to be nominated. PLUS it’s not like there was an Alternative Polka category for us…then suddenly, this year, not only is there a Polka Category but BEHOLD WE ARE NOMINATED!

    Spade ONE, JJ McAulliffe, Brümeister

    My conclusion is that we have played some part in bringing back to life a genre of music with roots in this city and this state that are so much a part of it’s cultural identity that what had been, like the Grammy Awards, a dead genre lumped in with world music and folk, but through the popularity of Oktoberfests and our own Milwaukee Polka Riot. And it’s funny because while nearly every show we have played has been an outdoor festival with the exception of a few like at McAuliffe’s  and the upcoming Greatest War show; this year we also played the fewest shows we’ve ever played that I can remember! 
    Which means that everyone who saw us probably did so at Summerfest, Eken Park in Madison, Riverwest Oktoberfest, Crusherfest, or The Milwaukee Polka Riot!

    And all that ultimately means is that we’re becoming better at selecting when we play and where. We won a WAMI for Best Polka Band which

    Friend of the band Agent Green and Spade ONE at Summerfest with the Best Polka Band WAMI

    meant a great deal to us even though we were so convinced we wouldn’t win that we didn’t show up to the awards! 2020 has a chance to be a tremendous year for us if we play our cards right. Milwaukee this year is going to play a crucial role in the nation’s future and in reality it already has. Look at how we’ve brought Polka and Hip Hop together afterall! It couldn’t have happened anywhere else.  


  • Brümeister 10:59 pm on November 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Eken Park Fest, , , , , ,   

    From Crusherfest to Summerfest to Polka Riot with Madison in between! 

    A new statue has been erected in South Milwaukee and a new kind of folk hero is being embraced. Last year I was able to interview Chris Smith on There Goes The Neighborhood, my weekly community radio program, on his efforts to raise money to erect a statue of Da Crusher in South Milwaukee. Chris is the city attorney for South Milwaukee and a huge pro wrestling fan. Like many Wisconsinites and citizens of Greater Milwaukee the reality of a bronze statue honoring the fictional Arthur Fonzarelli  seemed to miss the mark. Not that Fonzie isn’t cool in his own way but it has been universally understood that he is a completely fictional character.

    Summerfest on The Rebel Music Stage this year was blast as we were able to take our WAMI along with us and show off to everyone else riding the storm out in the Johnson Controls pavilion! By the time the rain let up we had a few new friends and managed to stay drier than last year believe it or not! Shout out to our own Spade ONE and our pal Mistaloo Meff for crushing it during the afternoon and props to We Are One for closing out Hip Hop day with a bruising set!

    Eken Park Fest was a blast and it was so refreshing to be back in Madison. Particularly refreshing because of the water available! We are hoping to make it back again for a big set and look forward to being a part of The Greatest War at Shannon Hall!

  • Brümeister 9:10 pm on February 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    About Last Year And What Comes Next: Looking back on 2018 and ahead to 2019: Part 3: The Greatest War and the Last First Friday. 

    How about this new wordpress format hey? Readers may not know but bloggers you know what I mean….

    So if you read part one and two you know the Milwaukee Polka Riot was every bit as epic as anything we’d done up to that point and then we followed it up by opening for Brave Combo, who are as epic a band as any we’ve encountered. We managed to release our EP The Black Hand.
    We achieved more things in the 2018 than we had imagined when we first formed and started writing music. Then we took part in something that much like our participation in Dontre Day in 2017 allows us to add our unique sound to a moment of historical significance and collective remembrance. It was a moment where many of our personal beliefs about things like violence and war along with goals for what our music can add to the cultural conversation.

    NTSC Take the Wheel!

    But first we had to get there.

    Now I am not going to say much because I love my brother NTSC to death. Seriously, anybody rushes the stage to touch him I will stop them and ask if they are nice touches first.  

    Spade ONE can’t stop giggling for some reason…

    However, given that we have access to a van the choice to drive compact an hour and half to Madison was an

    Best Hip Hop producer nominee Kevin Christensen cheesing in the back seat as Brümeister shrugs off the pain

    interesting one. Sure gas is a thing but so is comfort and I arrived grumpier than I needed to be for the Greatest Show of 2019.

    Now, I don’t know how much

    ARRIVAL @ The Barrymore Theater.

    as actually been written about this event. I know it is likely not enough. Let me tell you about an event that was very close to our hearts and very much in the vain of what we as a band are about. 

    Pulling up to the Barrymore Theater

    we saw the name of the show in the marquee. Being a keg of Milwaukeeans we don’t often get to explore every portion of Madison but we could tell this had potential.

    The excitement in the car however, had more to do with being able to get out and stretch our legs. Admittedly, it was short journey but it had left its mark.

    We found our way inside and caught our first glimpses of the big screen that would be behind us showing photos and film footage from the War to End All Wars.

    The poster in the lobby (I still want one!) and the soon to be merch area.


    Somehow we managed to keep our composure as we were informed during the practice run through that 500 tickets had already been sold. The production was halfway to selling out. Obviously we were not alone in this venture. In fact! It wasn’t even our idea… though we may have inspired it.

    We first met, and played a show with, John from The Periodicals back in 2017. That we were a Polka Hip Hop band was already novelty enough but that our lyrics contained a histrionic awareness that stretched into metaphor and back again inspired a conversation. The Armistice 100 was coming up. This we were all aware of. My hope was to be a part of something. A show. A memorial service. Something. You can’t just name your project November Criminals without being aware of where that name comes from…unless you’re a crappy teen thriller.

    Though the name wouldn’t be popularized in Germany until the mid to late 1920s the origin of November Criminals starts with the end of World War One. It’s the deragotory name for the politicians and Generals that signed the Treaty of Versailles but it also became the name used for anyone that was seen to have pacifist leanings or be generally non-nationalist. The joke is (if you don’t know by now) that “Music Nazis” hate November Criminals. But if we’re doing our job right hopefully not as much as actual Nazis.

    Of course the end of World War One paves the way for an enormous cultural shift all over the globe. But the price paid was in blood. Marking the armistice however is difficult to do. History moves seemingly so much faster now with every day a renewed struggle against white nationalism taking place in real time on cable news. And now with the last members of the so-called Greatest Generation of Americans passing on our history seems to be muddled beyond what was captured on film in the 1940s.

    The program we were part of hit it out of the park. When we next met John in person we were performing at the WORT block party. He had some exciting news and new friends to introduce us to. Ken Fitzsimmons from The Kissers had an idea that he wanted to share with us. He and John along with some other friends were planning a show to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice. I think we all knew that we needed to be a part of something as historically relevant as this.

    There was a time when I myself would have tried to organized something like this but I knew my resources were limited in Milwaukee and I had no way of knowing what the support for something like this would be. And as I would find out on the day of show my vision was not as grand as Ken’s.

    Myself, John Wedge, and Spade ONE in one of the dressing rooms at the Barrymore Theater.

    In addition The Periodicals and The Kissers, the program also enlisted the talents of Sean Michael Dargan, Hanah Jon Taylor, The Viper & His Famous Orchestraand others, along with readings of poetry, journal entries, newspaper articles and speeches from the era

    Still photos were on display throughout the show that helped the audience immerse themselves in the time period. It wasn’t a stand up and rock out show (though at time it could have been) it was a history lesson and a rock opera all at once. I don’t know how many times in my life I will be a part of something as important and as relevant as this show but if it happens again you know I will still be sneaking into the audience in between our songs. 


    NTSC, Spade ONE, and yours Bru-ly in the audience.

    Kevin KC Christensen visits with his Grandmother. He’s wearing a doughboy helmet passed down from a family member that served during WW1.





    (More …)

  • Brümeister 5:58 pm on January 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Atheists & Airplanes, Black Husky Brewery, Bolzen Beer Band, , CheddaRevolution, , P'Derree Gerre'd, Party on the Pavement, Polkatoberfest, , Riverwest, ,   

    About Last Year And What Comes Next: Looking back on 2018 and ahead to 2019: Part 2: The Black Hand of Oktoberfest Season 

    The Black Hand EP
    Available damn near everywhere online!

    Click Here for Part 1

    As previously alluded to the process of writing and recording The Black Hand at time resembled that of our first album. Lots of attics and spare room hangs. And while it seems like with just three new songs released it should not have been difficult there were times where, speaking for myself, the creative faucet was not on. And so I had to look to my brothers in PolkaHopHop for inspiration and motivation.

    Even as we hacked away on our EP and celebrated the triumph of a successful 2nd annual Milwaukee Polka Riot we were also looking forward to upcoming shows including our first out-of-state gig with polka legends: Brave Combo! While it was not even 2 hours away and therefore not the farthest we have traveled for a show, the fact is we had yet to get a booking outside of Wisconsin. There’s a million reasons why we hadn’t been able to leave the confines of our fair state and the hope is we will be able to repeat that endeavor. The idea that we would play a show with Brave Combo was actually something on the wish list of NTSC  albeit the idea was that they would join us at the Milwaukee Polka Riot eventually. As fate would have it Polkatoberfest was scheduled to take place over two nights in Lombard, Illinois with headliners Brave Combo and Bolzen Beer Band with local support from our friends Sgt. Sauerkraut’s Polka Band. Bolzen however, had another booking that Saturday and SSPB dropped our name as a replacement!

    Brave Combo is an absolute party!

    In true November Criminals fashion we rocked the set but also in true November Criminals we had audio issues! For seemingly no reason whatsoever NTSC’s digital melodeon ceased to make noise. Super producer and drummer Kevin Christensen was on hand to make a killer beat and Spade ONE and myself freestyled to end the set. Thankfully, the melodeon ended up being fine but the gremlin that silenced NTSC remains a mystery.

    We love playing in Racine!

    September just kept rolling! We’ve been lucky to have our name get around more and more we found ourselves playing a show every weekend that month! To be sure we were meeting new friends and making new fans every time we played but we were also getting closer and closer to being able to release the Black Hand!  We had fun in Racine at Party on the Pavement and then we closed out September with a special duo performance of DJ Brumeister and solo melodeon by NTSC at the Riverwest Oktoberfest! I got to break out my box of 78s and discovered that those things are heavy but they are a joy to play to a new audience.

    NTSC makes some really killer posters does he not?

    To help celebrate the release of the Black Hand EP we did two things.  First we released a pre-mastered version of the song The Black Hand via the CheddaREvoluion compilation and Secondly we decided to coincide the release with a booking at the Pabst Tap Room. While the Tap Room was kind to us, sadly, the audience was primarily there for the fish fry. We are learning as much as some of the venues about what works when booking a show. Note: people go to restaurants to eat. While the eatery/bar/venue thing may work occasionally I have seen it fall flat more often than not. One of the three aspects always seems to suffer. Next time we play a restaurant we will figure out a food special. Thankfully, we closed out our October shows with a rollicking gig at Bremen Cafe… a place that no longer serves food but still has a bar and a room for bands! (see what I’m sayin?) Atheists and Airplanes are awesome and you should see them!

    2018 wasn’t done yet however and though we didn’t realize it at the time we were slated to take part in the biggest show of our band’s history!

  • Brümeister 8:15 pm on January 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apolkalypse Wow, Forro Fo Show, , , Sgt Sauerkraut Polka Band, , The Polkaholics, Yid Vicious   

    About Last Year And What Comes Next: Looking back on 2018 and ahead to 2019: Part 1: The Polka Riot 

    It was not for lack of booking that we neglected our blog! IN FACT we participated in two of our biggest shows to date AND we released a new EP!

    The Black Hand EP is

    The Ups and Downs of any year are just as easily documented in the music and in the performance of any band but in addition we like to use this arena for reflection. What was difficult about The Black Hand was having to revert to some of our old school methods of recording, mixing, and mastering… i.e. somebody’s attic (in this case the incomparable John Gleisner’s ), somebody’s spare room (the indispensable Kevin Christensen), and somebody not in the band (the incredible TJ Wallace). All this for just three new songs BUT the new songs helped us to bookend with thematic resolve, both some histrionic and sonic, allegiances we created for ourselves.

    On the live side of things however, the 2nd half of 2018 really starts with the 2nd annual Milwaukee Polka Riot! Our good friend, Jim Rice, along with NTSC, Laura Schaub, Spade ONE and myself organized and/or participated in the build up to the event. Much like last year this labor of love bore fruit as were able to deliver the goods on stage along with bands from around the country!


    The event kicked off with Sgt. Sauerkraut’s Polka Band overcoming a glitch in the matrix early on and bringing the fun into the crowd during a brief power outage. They also demonstrated marketing savvy in customizing their attire for the festival which is something we’ll have to steal at some point!

    Sgt Sauerkraut’s Polka Band at the Milwaukee Polka Riot


     I should mention that in between sets I was doing my utmost as DJ Brumeister to keep the old fashioned polka records spinning. One of these years I’ll invest in a 2nd turntable and mic stand! However I am still grateful to WXRW for the use of their equipment. Also, the food trucks were in effect this year as was the Tullamore Dew tent along with some very good beer from War Pigs Brewery. I know I saw NTSC go back for a 2nd and possibly 3rd soda from the good folks at Sprecher Brewery. He needed it though as Preomnor was set to steal the show by throwing down heavy with their set which included a Led Zeppelin cover that would be enough to make Greta Van Fleet think twice about following them!


    Forró Fo Sho at Milwaukee Polka Riot 2018

    Not to worry though because Riot veterans Forró Fo Sho came up and gave the crowd an update on their sound that was as infectious as anything heard on the street that day or at any festival that summer!

     Then it was our turn to close down the outdoor stage. Next year we may yield our outdoor closer status to another act, depends what sort of permits we get and how inflated our egos are, but even with an abbreviated set we were thrilled to power through our first EDM style set with Mike Ritter putting down the bass and managing the samples and making us sound way cooler than we thought possible! It proved yet again that keeping an open mind to new sounds creates new possibilities and frankly I would not be surprised to see more of this in the future.

    Acclaimed Polka/HipHop/EDM act November Criminals


    I also did my best to look like Cousin It at the start of things.

    you can’t see me

    Shutting down a street in Walker’s Point to present a Polka-fusion fest is not something I would have imagined doing 10 years ago. I don’t know if that was something we thought we’d do when we started this band. I don’t know if we thought we’d end up last this long either but we have. The Riot went indoors with heavy hitters out of Madison Yid Vicious , Chicago legends The Polkaholics and Kansas City road warriors Apolkalypse WOW!


    With acts coming from far and wide and an audience that stayed late into the night we drank in the wonder of it all along with some well earned libations. This night was a success and we had to believe we were on the way up. But 2018 was not done and neither is this post! We still have to talk about the EP release, meeting Polka legends Brave Combo, The Greatest War, and the last First Friday! AND OF COURSE Kevin Christensen’s nomination for Best Hip Hop Producer in the Shepherd Express Best Of Milwaukee 2018 poll!  Part two will be up soon! Stick around!

  • Brümeister 5:29 pm on July 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Tales of Conquest and Humility 

    The 2018: Summer of Criminals tour has wound down and now we look ahead to the Riot!

    Starting in Sheboygan at the Craft30 Summer Solstice festival and ending in Milwaukee at Summerfest on the Rebel Stage we played at least two shows every weekend for 3 weeks in a row. Big time, nationally touring acts might chuckle at my calling this rigorous. However, I think working class bands that still have to function at their “real jobs”  and make rent should appreciate the juggling of schedules and the careful planning (“what time are we meeting up again?”)

    Sound check in Sheboygan with John Gleisner on drums

    We met a lot of great people, drank a lot of great beer (and Mead!), and we learned a lot. First of all much love to John Gleisner for helping record parts of The Black Hand EP AND for coming along with us to Sheboygan and Racine to fill in for Kevin KC Christensen. You may have noticed we altered the crew  section of our website to include KC as well as (bass face!) Mike Ritter. We’ve been fortunate to have them along on so many gigs over the years and then to collaborate with them on The Great War. We’ve sort of held the belief that if you’ve ever rocked a whole set with us you are an official band member (looking at you Nick Lang, Killa Kutz and Ryan Claxton) but when it came down to who has helped us craft our sound and create pathways of polka hip hop as well offering really good advice on gigs etc… well these two guys have been indispensable.

    We were in full strength at five for a number of shows but we actually (believe it or not) had to do a set without one of our MCs! We got a last minute confirmation of a booking for McCarty Park but our own Spade ONE had a big booking in Detroit!


    McCarty Park in West Allis featured DJ Brumeister

    With little time to prepare we took a look at our options. We didn’t want to lose the chance to play in front of  a new crowd in West Allis. And the other great part of the Traveling Beer Garden was that it was a chance to play outdoors in front of an all ages crowd. This did however mean we had to clean up the act a little… or a lot. So with a third less verses in our songs and 33% of NTSC’s vocabulary censored we had to put together a THREE HOUR SET!!! Could we do it? Of course we could! By combining two abridged versions of  a Criminals set sandwiched with a NTSC solo polka set AND a set DJ set of polka records we showed our versatility and ability to cover for each other in order to ensure the success of the group. Kevin and Mike did their thing and smoothed us out and soon we had over a dozen picnic table raising beers and singing alongwith the Beer Barrel Polka!


    Summerfest 2018 AS TOLD TO Bru by everyone else…

    Our gigs Westallion, McAuliffe’s and Bos Meadery in Madison was like visiting old friends even if the Meadery was a first time gig we had plenty of familiar faces with Forro Fo Sho and Swill opening the show!

    I was reminded how my appearance and demeanor are judged on stage by everyone at all times following the Summerfest gig at the Rebel Stage. The video I saw sounded good and I was told we sounded great. On stage however I could not hear anything except NTSC’s melodeon and the high hat from the drums. I had finished a bottle of mead before going on and now all I could hear was the top range at the loudest volumes and I was not a happy Bru! Sadly, I didn’t handle this well and flipped NTSC off a couple times and as we were unable to get the stage monitors turned down (a gremlin in a cable most likely) I shouted a verse out at the top of my lungs. Professionalism is not my forte at all times but I was clearly too abrasive to many onlookers. While it was not my finest hour and I have apologized to my band mates for having emotions – I mean- expressing myself- I mean… shit this is tough…. for being rude and unprofessional (there) I still felt like anyone that cares enough to read this blog and was also there at Summerfest might deserve at least an explanation for what went down.  So to sum it up: I was mean because I couldn’t tell what was going on. (Old age will be fun!)

    With a three week break from three weeks of gigs we were able to put some of the last touches on three songs for the upcoming EP The Black Hand. We were also very well versed in how we wanted to attack the stage at Brady Street Fest.

    Being in front of a home crowd of hundreds with people dancing every kind of dance from booty shaking to polka, was one of the most rewarding things we as a band have ever been a part of.  We were even able to deal with a last moment change to the set list and make it feel like part of the show. But really rolling with the punches and taking what comes is part of who we are. You don’t have a band like this without being flexible and you can’t be in a band like this without occasionally having to check your ego. It’s not always easy and it isn’t always pretty (I’ve never been called pretty…well maybe my hair) but it always going to be necessary in order for the group to be at its best even when one of us may not be.

    One last thing… during the world cup we played a show at Nomad Nacional. Summerfest was already in full swing AND we were in the middle of a heat wave where we averaged 105 degrees on the heat index… I never felt like we were NOT going to play to our absolute best ability and true indeed the two dozen or so people that came were more than appreciative. To those folks I want to say thanks for crossing the street to see us before you got on the bus! I hope you all make it out to the MILWAUKEE POLKA RIOT!

    The November Criminals following the hottest gig in town!

  • Brümeister 11:43 pm on June 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , 89.9 WORT FM, 96.9 FOX, Andrew David Weber, Big Lo, Brady Street Fest, Craft 30 Sheboygan, Craft30, Fox Homegrown, Madison, , , Mitch Shiner, Newaukee Night Market, Nomad Fanzone, Nomad Nacional, , , , Red Dot Tosa, , Sheboygan Solstice, Summer Fest, , Taiyamo Denku, , The Periodicals, Tommy Antonic, Traveling Beer Garden, West Allis, Westallion Brewery, Whiskey of the Damned, WORT FM   

    2018: Summer of Criminals 

    WORT FM Block Party on May 20th 2018 photo courtesy of WORT FM.

    SO I realized we’ve been so busy with EVERYTHING that none of us have had time to jot anything down in the old blog section.

    Quickly I will try to recap some of what has been going on and enlighten you further on coming events as relates to your favorite #PolkaHipHop band!
    We played our first ever West Allis show back in February at Westallion Brewery where the Peanut Butter Porter is lights out! And I’m not a guy that often goes in for sweet craft beers. They also had a fine Scottish Ale and whole bunch more great things to try, they change up their brews on a seasonal basis so it is with a good deal of delight that we are returning there at the end of June!

    We had a great time playing out in April at The Red Dot opening for our friends Denku and Big Lo! These guys are touring artists and established in every sense of the word. And it was awesome to see an audience full of friends there on a Tuesday night even! Then we broke ground playing the Light Lounge in South Milwaukee and debuted our newest song The Black Hand! That’s right, we haven’t been taking it easy we have been toiling over an EP that, fingers crossed, will also include radio edits of songs from The Great War!


    The Black Hand even made its way onto the FM dial in Madison at WORT FM where in the lead up to one of our biggest shows yet WORT gave some spins to a few of our songs, published a flattering article about us, and our good friend Helena White used a couple of our tunes off The Great War as jumping off points for a couple history lessons about The Rattlers and Jim Europe! She also has a really wonderful series called My Grandfather’s War Diary about her grandfather’s service during the Great War.
    The Madison connection went next level for us as first our friends The Periodicals came by on a Thursday night for a memorable Milwaukee debut that we were honored to share the bill with at Sabbatic. Tommy Antonic and Mitch Shiner came through in a big way with a week’s notice to open with all the skill and showmanship of two of the best young jazz musicians in the city!


    Tremendous line up for the Craft 30 Summer Solstice festival!


    Friday June 22nd it will officially be summer. Craft30 in Sheboygan has organized a party that promises be a highlight of anyone’s summer!

    They are doing it big with two stages and free admission and some of the finest craft brews in Wisconsin (and therefore the world!) And during the lead up we’ve been getting spins on 96.9 Fox courtesy of Fox Homegrown!

    Getting there isn’t a problem for Milwaukee folks as it just a short jaunt up I-43 and there are plenty of hotels and campgrounds in case you haven’t selected a Designated Driver!

    We however won’t be able to hang out too long as we are immediately in Racine the next night at McAuliffe’s Pub with the insanely talented Andrew David Weber (of Whiskey of The Damned)!

    That could be considered a tour…



    The following weekend we will be part of the Nomad Nacional’s World Cup Fanzone on the 29th of June followed by a return to Westallion Brewery on June 3oth.

    The show at Nomad is particularly exciting as the fan zone activities the night we play also include the Newaukee Night Market and rumor has it we will have some new shirts along with us by then!

    If we can take a moment to look at that line up…!

    What an honor to be listed on a showcase with so many great Milwaukee talents and we are blessed to call many of them friends!

    There’s no matches on the day we play so we aren’t sure what countries to represent. But we will do our best to bring them all together that night!

    Hopefully we even get a few folks to follow us to West Allis the next night!



    Is a 3 day weekend! Friday we are back in West Allis at McCarty Park for the Traveling Beer Garden on July 6th, then on the 7th we are Madison with our friends from the Milwaukee Polka Riot Forro Fo Sho along with Swill at Bos Meadery! Then on the 8th we closed down the Rebel Stage at Summerfest at 8pm!

    We’ll take a breather and be back in full force in late July for Brady Street Fest!

    Look for us to be handing out flyers for this year’s Polka Riot!  Hope to see you!

    The November Criminals take Madison
    WORT FM sound check
    Photo by Kevin Christensen

  • Brümeister 11:12 pm on December 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Criminally Under-Reported: Top 5 

    In case you missed it here’s a Top 5 THINGS WE DID IN 2017  

    The nomination for best of 2017 as it appeared in print.

    Honorable mentions include, being guests on Sessions With Sandy, Submitting to NPR’s Tiny Desk contest, playing Bonk! again (Hot Shop Glass is awesome BTW and so is Olde Madrid!), being nominated for best Hip Hop/Rap group in the Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee, playing Circle A for the first time, getting rained out but still playing Summerfest‘s 50th anniversary AND the Rebel Stage’s 10th anniversary, and getting a nice write up by Milwaukee Record!

    5) First time in Madison and first time on WORT

    The front of WORT in Madison

    While we’ve played on WXRW Riverwest Radio during two of their fundraisers and even had interview time on WMSE, along with our music getting what some would say is overdue airtime, this is the first time we’ve been on the radio as a live featured performance to help highlight our show that night. NOT ONLY THAT but we did a call in interview leading up to the show which was edited down and used in the news leading up to the show! No really! You can listen to that here. We made a bunch of new friends (like The Periodicals ) and discovered that we really need to be playing in Madison more!


    4) Our first official video! 

    Have you seen it? NO!?! Well let’s fix that.

    Filmed in one day and edited in a couple weeks we felt the need to have something out there for people to point to and say “that, that is what they look like.” Seriously it was fun to do and we hope to do more of them in 2018 as we get ready to put out The Black Hand EP and The Wild Wild Weimar!

    3) The Milwaukee Polka Riot! 

    This was huge.

    The riot crowd prior to our sound check!

    The work, the hype (like this article from the Milwaukee Record), the investments, and all of the sacrifices one makes to put together a festival paid off in a big way. The vision was to have as many polka-fusion bands and alternative polka bands in one place for a night to show that these groups not only have a fan base but also can put on a hell of a show, like the Polkaholics, and are not just niche musical sideshow acts. The high turn out breathed life into a scene that nobody knew existed. If you were there you saw people head banging to Cheese of the Goat, & waltzing, drinking & smiling, and enjoying music they never heard or some cases never thought possible!



    2) The Great War is released 

    When we began recording in fall of 2016 the presidential election hadn’t happened yet but the year had already been such an emotional one for music lovers. It was a cold and difficult winter as Trump was inaugurated and protested. We kept our minds on our work but kept our ears open and channeled our energy into an album we can really be proud of. While it may not be the most reviewed album of the year… it is the only #PolkaHipHop album of the year! And it available on a ton of platforms! NapsteriTunesSpotify Etc… it’s out there… Tell people and spread the word so we can come play by you and not have to run another indiegogo type thing!


    1) Dontre Day

    When a call was put out for artists, musicians, and poets to participate in Dontre Day I immediately thought it was a good fit and fortunately so did the organizers. When the event was moved from the site of the tragedy to All People’s Church it took on a more intimate vibe. To adjust for the setting we avoided cussing when possible. While we did not know Dontre or the Hamilton family personally we were all pleased that our participation was received in the spirit in which it was intended as one of unity, awareness, and dialogue. It will hold a special place for us as a band and for me personally.


    Thanks for reading this whole thing! And thanks for supporting us! Help us make 2018 even better!

    Photo by Steve Greentree


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