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

    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, , , , , The November Criminals,   

    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 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, , The November Criminals   

    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 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 November Criminals, 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

     
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