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  • Brümeister 5:08 pm on August 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #DeltaSkelter, #DeltaVariant, #MilwaukeePolkaRiot, #NovemberCriminals, Vaccines, Vaxxed   

    Rioting While Vaxxed: The Unbeatable High 

    The Milwaukee Polka Riot is one wehek away! The world is in a weird place but I’ve been in a weird place for years so it’s whatever. When I got my first shot back in April I was one in one of the last appointment blocks that day. I figured I’d want to make sure I was on time and awake and aware and for me that is usually afternoons. Filling out the brief form was quick enough. I took snap shots of it for my personal records. I turned in the clipboard and was directed to the portion of the Wisconsin Center that was functioning as the vaccination station.

    I followed the arrows on the floor and at nearly every possible turning was greeted and assured by volunteers that I was headed on the correct path. Cubicles were set up with black curtains for privacy and red and green double sided signs indicated if a cubicle was available or not. I followed the instruction of the volunteers to a little cubicle where a woman in scrubs and a mask with slightly curly light brown hair held in a loose pony tail greeted me. I could have been mistaken as I sit here thinking about it. She might have referred to herself as Nurse Molly but for some reason I heard Miss Molly. She was tired, I could hear it in her voice and while there was nothing unsteady about her, her movements were very methodical. She was taking her time perhaps to allow the clock to expire on her shift or perhaps to help me come up with any last minute questions.

    I had nothing. I’m a bit of a sucker for nurses, women doctors, and basically any woman that is definitely smarter than me and seemingly has her shit together. Nearly 20 years ago I developed a crush on my physical therapist while rehabbing my back but in hindsight my youth and inexperience (and frankly loneliness) probably muddied the waters of simple gratitude. I can say I wasn’t feeling any weird sexy feelings for “Miss Molly” but I was very grateful to this exhausted person about to administer my first dose of Pfizer.

    Once I made my way out of the tent city I wandered over to the waiting area. They wrote down the time you had to wait on a little card and if you didn’t experience any immediate allergic reactions to the shot you could go get scheduled for the 2nd dose. I wandered up to the table and the man sitting on the other side struck up some small talk.

    “So where are you an educator?” I had scheduled to the get my shot as soon as the window was open for service industry employees.

    “Oh, I’m not an educator. I’m the opposite of that.” I replied. The man looked confused and furrowed his brow a bit before I followed up. “I’m a bartender!” His expression changed and he laughed. I imagine the tedium of sitting there all day could wear a person down but he seemed in good spirits whether because of my joke or his own personality.

    “Where are you a bartender?”
    “Regano’s Roman Coin on Brady Street.”
    “Oh! I know you know Teri?”
    “Yes, I do”
    “Well tell her Mark from the Health Department says Hi”

    And so it went. Everything seemed easy. The 2nd shot went pretty much the same way. That dose was administered to me by a young National Guardsman with the name Garcia on his uniform. I didn’t feel any effects for the first 12 hours. Because I was on Pfizer I only had to wait 3 weeks to get my second shot and I was due to fill in for a coworker getting his 2nd shot the next day. Halfway through that shift I started to feel like I had a hangover. I closed the bar a little early that night in a sort of fog. But it felt no worse for me than a morning following cheap gin.

    I posted videos following each shot on the Polka Riot Facebook page I felt compelled to let people know that, while we were not yet sure we would have an event, we were at least taking the steps to keep that possibility alive.

    There is a great deal of anxiety surrounding the Delta variant right now and we are hearing about break through infections despite vaccination. The reason I am taking the time to write this out before I go to work is that we are no different from anyone else out there. We worry and hope just the same as anyone that what we are doing will be safe.

    There is the one question that I know exists. Why do anything at all?
    And while the circumstances are significantly different I asked myself this same question last year while attending one of the many marches. The reason I went out of my house then is that I trusted everyone who was marching to care for my health as much as I cared for theirs. I hope everyone that attends the Milwaukee Polka Riot on August 28th at Great Lakes Distillery cares about one another. I hope we all continue to do so and that we find joy in each other’s presence.

  • Brümeister 12:03 am on July 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    Pfully Pvaccinated! 

    I look at facebook memories a lot lately. Maybe this has been how I cope with the pandemic, over-throwing myself into social media, during this pandemic. No shows to do and losing my primary part-time job and wondering if that was even the path to begin with. Then wondering if path is even the right way to look at life anymore.

    We had a bounce back show planned but that went away. We’re looking at dates for the Polka Riot and trying at the same time to coordinate a long neglected band practice. For a variety of reason we aren’t a band that adapted to the Zoom room and chatty hangs. We checked in on each other. But over the years we have come to grips with the fact is we are a festival band.

    I also wonder how I will react to being a crowd. Everything seems to be presented to us is meant to divide us these days. How many people have you blocked on social media? I have begun mastering the pre-emptive block. I read the comments of area news papers social media accounts to figure out who I don’t want to see pictures of my cat.

    Shortly after the bitcoin thing and maybe after the capital riot I started to grow disinterested in everything. I don’t think either of these things were particularly triggering it’s just that life around then seemed to be filled with collapsed hubris. It could be harsh self judgement but I also was seeing so much hubris in others that could not be checked. And then I asked myself was I projecting and the whole thing spiraled out of control.

    I have/have not thrown away boxes of business cards. A weird and necessary ritual for a habitual hoarder. But also a seemingly uniquely American experience (even if it’s not) taking risk in yourself when there is absolutely no safety net. Aspiring creatives (what an awkward and awful term) burning out on the shrinking reality of youth culture. Not being excessive the way that is sexy but just being excessive. Maybe weight gain in the best way I can summarize it: I didn’t plan on this but I should have been watching out.

  • Brümeister 3:52 am on April 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    Rent Free In Your Head 

    “If there is one thing this pandemic has done to impact the culture it is to make our interactions more cerebral than ever before. That doesn’t necessarily mean people are smarter. In fact almost the opposite is true. Part of that feels like a byproduct of overthinking, – something many of us are probably capable of. ”

    Huh this was from early March. Wonder what it was gonna be about. It’s dope. Publish!

  • Brümeister 3:46 pm on November 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2020, DNC, Meat, MKE, NationalRadioDay, , Talk1017, WRRD   

    The Warrior Class and What It Means To Be NonViolent In A Time Of Violence 


    Not right away but pretty soon I’m gonna start my 80s Hideaway: Movies and Music blogs. I think the motive will revolve around cultural and sub-cultural artifacts that I encountered growing up that faded away only to have either a resurgence or become verifiable canon, even if it is just in my own little corner of the universe.

    BUT that day is not today. First I need to have that constant companion that writers have had for over one hundred years, a keyboard! Thankfully, this is being hammered out on a borrowed laptop but since Rona hit and the library has become a less than reliable place to catch two hours on a tower I figure I’ll be a patient lad. I believe I will soon have something of my own up and running and then I with any luck this blog will have a few hyper links here and there for you to find my writing.


    Last week was my final day with Wisconsin’s Political Talk Network. I was laid off on National Radio Day not as a gag, nobody keeps track of when National Radio Day actually is. It was also the final day of the DNC and there was no incoming help to the progressive talk network. Joe Biden and the Dems were not gonna save my job. Probably because of all those times I teased having voted for Jill Stein even though I really voted for Vermin Supreme ( I want a pony). Actually, it was probably all those time I didn’t bother to say I would #VoteBlueNoMatterWho BECAUSE THAT IS HOW WE GOT HERE!

    Even as I write this it’s still unreal to me that a network that had just begun to turn a corner in terms of profit and more and more new listeners were checking in to the flagship show AND Earl Ingram had won 2nd place in the Morning Show Category AND Maggie Daun had won best interview! Heck I even produced that segment.

    However in the end it was not enough to keep my part time position afloat and the station moved its headquarters to its Madison studio. I helped disassemble stacks of equipment and load up the hatchback SUV owned by the station’s head wizard Fancy Bryan. It was him I asked “If you were in my shoes what would be your next step?” To which he soundly and reasonably replied “Sorry, I wasn’t listening.” BUT after I repeated myself he even more reasonably said: “Apply everywhere to work as a board operator and see who is hiring.” So in between paragraphs I am filing for unemployment and redrafting my resume.

    It’s the adult thing to do I suppose. As a newly self-recognized adult I did both those things and I also allow myself to recognize this is all due to the Coronavirus and our collective response to it. I worked the phones at liberal talk radio station and I know exactly how the right thinks. I mean I gave a bit of my back story on Earl’s Saturday show a few weeks back and gave even more when I hosted for him with an hour’s notice due to family emergency and put together 4 stellar interviews. (check the resume)

    Written on 8/25/2020

  • Brümeister 4:10 am on March 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brümeister, , , , 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!

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