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

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


    DID YOU KNOW WE WERE ON FREAKING CSPAN-2 ?!?!?

    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, Milwaukee, , , , ,   

    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 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, , Milwaukee, 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!

    COMING SOON!

    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!

    BUT IT IS ONLY GETTING STARTED!

    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…

     

    BUT IT DOESN’T STOP THERE!

    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!

     

    THE NEXT WEEKEND!!!

    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 8:47 pm on March 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #2ndAlbum, #BremenCafe, #FranksPowerPlant, , #SpadeOne, #Studio200Milwaukee, #TheGreatWar, , , Milwaukee   

    THE MARCH TO WAR: Brümeister Reflects and Genuflects 

    Blank walls are like  blank pages. #TheGreatWarIsComing

    Blank walls are like blank pages. #TheGreatWarIsComing

    I just got done listening to The Great War final mixes and I wanted to take a moment before all the…. whatever….to let you know that this is something I’m really proud of. Pride may be a sin that ages us silently or that reverberates as shame when we are self critical of another time in our lives but it is important to document our creative life or else blogs like this serve no purpose. I know what we had on our first album. It was good. It did not echo but it was a good try. This album could be just as poorly received/promoted/monetized or whatever as the first but I can say with honesty that this is, so far, the best thing I’ve done creatively. It gives me hope that I can still do something collaborative on this scale and deliver something that is also genuinely of myself.

    Solidarity with Standing Rock Rally from last Fall...pre-election I think.

    Solidarity with Standing Rock Rally from last Fall…pre-election I think.

    At this moment I am blessed. I hope we can all continue to say that even as we continue the fight towards a better future. I’m working on music. Not exactly leading the front lines. But if art and music serve any real purpose it can be to say to those in charge what it is we want changed in society. But sometimes it can just be about butts and stuff. So if anything maybe that’s why we still make music in Albums and not one track at a time. It all has to hit at once to some degree and if you hear one of our songs the hope is you’ll want to hear more and that you will hear something different.

     

    April 6th will mark the 100th anniversary of the US entering World War One. On that day we are honoring the sacrifices of those killed in that war and commemorating the ushering in of a new age in the Global politic…. by releasing a Polka Hip Hop album. Yes, I know.

     

    Actually this album took a lot more effort to get right than I expected. We were lucky to have Kevin Christenen and Michael Ritter join us on this project to help give it a sound that is closer to what we desire in a recording and we are grateful to Bill Stace for giving us space and helping navigate the mix. Bill’s first question was “what do you want it to sound like; a Polka record or a Hip Hop record?” My answer was both at the same time if possible. And then we went to work.

     

    2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. August 1914

    2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
    August 1914

    Anyone in a band knows how hard organizing studio time is and understands the challenges of getting everything as close to perfect as possible. During the recording and mixing of this album we lost friends to violence and we experienced the 2016 presidential election. We worked on this album through the fall and the winter.

     

    We have a number of shows coming up and I hope you can attend as many as possible to see us in as many different settings and company as Milwaukee can offer.

     

     

     

     

    March 24, 2017 we are at Studio 200

    Art and layout by NTSC

    Art and layout by NTSC

     

     

    March 30th help us celebrate Spade One’s Birthday!

     

    April 6th at Bremen the CD release for The Great War with AGNI and Ghost Mirror!

     

    April 8th at Frank’s Power Plant

     
  • Brümeister 10:15 pm on March 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dead Man's Carnival, EDM, Milwaukee, Paris Hilton, Shakespeare Raw,   

    Summerfest Fails to Book The November Criminals; Paris Hilton Headlines June 28 

    NC_tour_01

    Remember when we drove to Superior for a show?
    Pepperidge Farms remembers.

    Whoa it’s been a long winter and it is still going!
    To recap what has happened since last August… which is apparently the last time any of us checked in on the weblog…. we played a few shows, you may have seen us at Dead Man’s Carnival in March . Or at Shakespeare Raw in February at Best Place! It’s true we’ve been here and there and under the radar BUT the Criminals are always a booking away from playing your favorite spot! Recommend us to your favorite club or promoter and keep the Criminality in Music.

    So in other news Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival has booked Paris Hilton to DJ on the grounds as a headlining act. The announcement is not without its blowjob ERR BLOWBACK I meant blowback….
    A petition to remove her from the lineup is making headlines of its own and the movement appears to be swelling. Sheesh, its hard ERR DIFFICULT to write about this without unnecessary innuendo. So the main argument against her is that she is not a professional DJ and has not paid any dues to receive her spot on the lineup.
    Now to be fair I’ve been around the EDM scene for a few years now… as a security guard, a bartender, and an outsider. I stress that because at no time have I declared any fandom for the overarching genre of Electronic Dance Music. “Why?” you might ask “Aren’t you in a Polka Hip Hop band? You use beats on a laptop at shows I’ve seen you!”
    First of all, Thanks for coming to our shows. And if you haven’t it’s likely because you are an EDM person and you don’t really like Hip Hop. You don’t like people talking over the music while you trip and stare at lights. You aren’t really interested in what a Hip Hop MC has to say unless it’s about Swag and drugs and the kind of hedonism you only wish you could live out if only you were wealthy like…. Paris Hilton.
    BUT ISN’T PARIS A MAN’S NAME?
    Yes it is but this is 2015 and you can name your kids whatever. You buy them a car so they can drive to the city and dress themselves in bikinis and bondage gear, covered in plastic beads that stress the value of PLUR as they take MDMA for the first time they got from a guy they met once or twice before at another show, but he seems to know an awful lot about spirituality and he has a flat brimmed baseball cap (what’s baseball?) and cool shirt that looks expensive because of all the colors.
    The point is Paris Hilton is the perfect expression of EDM whether you like it or not. She’s privileged, scantily dressed, she has a viral porn video, and all she needed was enough money to buy some equipment the number to some people to do lights…..and let’s be real she already bought that shit ten times over if it wasn’t being given to her for free because of her brand. YES BRAND. That’s what’s on these posters and the pins and the hats. We do it too! We all get sucked into it one way or another. RELAX. You already know you are going to some other festival where you will sit on a lawn chair tripping.
    Oh and I’m not all excited about her “performance” and I know plenty of really awesome DJs that we’ve played with. But I’m not going to pretend this isn’t a perfect expression of what EDM ultimately is and all the attempts to portray it as something other than the renewal of the disco scene, a scene that thrived on excess and cocaine and not much else, is delusional…. you might be tripping on something.

     
  • Brümeister 10:56 pm on August 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Guns of August, Milwaukee, , , , Riverwest Farmer's Market, Riverwest Public House, , Superior, WI   

    The Guns Of August 

     

    The November Criminals Need YOU! to come out one of these shows.

    The November Criminals Need YOU! to come out one of these shows.

    We have a number of shows coming up that I’d like to highlight a bit since each one will be so very different from the others.

    AUGUST 22nd at Riverwest Public House for Adam Asher’s Birthday show!

    We look forward to once again having Michael Ritter on bass and Kevin KC Christenson on drums for this show. Two amazingly talented musicians who bring spontaneity and skill to the set. Last time we played with them in March at Cactus Club it was one of the best shows the Criminals have had to date.

    The line up for the rest of show is amazing and moves back and forth between bands and poets for 6 hours of awesome! We’re going on early so we can wake up in time for …..

    AUGUST 23rd at The Tower Avenue Tavern in Superior w/ Number One Common

    We’ll be driving the day of the show 8 hours or so to get to the Northern most city in Wisconsin. We’re looking forward to playing for an entirely new audience and maybe getting a few photo ops near the big lake they call Gitche Gumee! The show is presented by Hypnotic Otter and is FREE!!!

    AUGUST 31st at The Riverwest Gardeners Market

    DJ Killa Kutz will be on the 1s & 2s with us during this set which runs from Noon until 3pm. We’re gonna work on cleaning up NTSC’s language 😉 but one thing is for sure: if you are nearby, you are going to hear something that will make you want to polka around the produce!

     
  • Brümeister 11:02 pm on May 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 88.9, Milo, Milwaukee, Music scenes, , Radio Milwaukee   

    Music Culture 

    Lots of thoughts lately and not lots of posts. I’m here to change that.

    You should see the chapter about the Milwaukee Music Scene!

    You should see the chapter about the Milwaukee Music Scene!

    I read a lot but I also read into things a lot. Dangerous habit on social media but I’ve also been commenting way to much on shit that I have no business commenting on. SO I figured I’ll take it to the blog. Maybe less people will read it but hopefully more people will understand me. We are what we are: A Polka Hip Hop Band. But if you step back and consider the members in the group the uniqueness of it all means so much more to us. We are an interracial music group in the most segregated metropolis in America. We are mixing genres of music and pulling it off with varying degrees of success; granted as a group we are just getting started. But all of us have been performing and writing and creating music, poetry and art for years before we ever met. And we are all scraping by. Part of it has to do with the fact that this is also one of the poorest cities in the nation.

    So then I read this interview with a rapper who is moving to LA. And hear someone making the same complaints so many have been making for so long. But here’s the thing the problem is much deeper than just a radio station not giving you play. (To my knowledge we haven’t had play on 88.9 either but then I don’t know if they have our cd. Somehow we have been played on local station 91.7  and maybe it being a college station things get circulated differently.)

    THE PROBLEM.  It’s really the culture of the city though it isn’t just the music scene. Try writing poetry and discover how fractured everything is here and then laugh because everyone knows there is no money to be made in poetry…. unless you are putting together a CV for grad school somewhere. But music, art and film? I can’t imagine how this disjointed cityscape, fractured from institutionalized racism and economic paranoia could do more then ever serve as a transfer station for raw talent.

    (It doesn’t help when promoters are focusing solely on the dollar and not on the art but that is another blog for another time.)

    I feel like that is what Milo missed a chance to say in his interview. But maybe it’s in his music and I haven’t heard that track yet (though I’m looking now). I know a few others who have had to move on to make it in music because it unsustainable here to just be a musician or a rapper. The Milwaukee Machine that Milo talks about is really more or less just a façade to keep a few people distracted from some of the larger issues. But would that message resonate with anyone outside of a few people in the community? I know he must feel it if he’s leaving for greener pastures even if he didn’t say it. The culture of a place is a reflection of that place’s reality. And if the music scene will not allow talent to thrive here then it reflects the inability of many other to thrive.

    As for the music…..would I say he is as dope as The November Criminals? No, of course not, don’t be silly. But he is talented and we wish him well.  🙂

    Personally, I am blessed to know people from the city and the region who are invested in making things happen here. From Pinkerton at Deadman’s Carnival to the painfully under played Jaems Murphy to comedy mentor and road warrior of the Hobbit Trail Brendan O’Day  and the poetic thundering of deep feelings that is Mario The Poet. The folks I’ve come across who are working to make a living at entertaining people and performing their craft for them is inspiring and in many ways sustaining.
    Catch us at Cactus Club June 6th with Tapebenders and Jaems Murphy!

     
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