Milwaukee prepares to get “All Messed Up,” again
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A new Milwaukee band, Fred Cabbage, will debut Feb. 11 at Linneman’s, but it’s hard to say what the crowd will see onstage that night. “We still have a week,” says Anthony Schwader, one of the band’s members. Right now, he says, the group is kind of hardcore, a little bit metal, and sort-of-kind-of acoustic. But that’s now. “Our last practice might not be what we are on the final show day,” he says. “We still have to morph a little bit here.”
Fred Cabbage is one of the many newly assembled, still-forming bands premièring at All Messed Up Again, Feb. 11 and 12 at Linneman’s. Schwader organized the event, which got dozens of musicians from local bands to put their names in a hat last December. A random drawing stranded them in all-new four-piece bands, with three months to write and rehearse a 15-to-20-minute set. Holy Shit!, in which Schwader plays bass, is one of the many Milwaukee groups to be stripped for parts and repurposed in brand-new acts like Lola Lasagna, Wrong Hole, and Larry Byrd Sex.
All Messed Up Again is the sequel to last year’s All Messed Up. In its second year, the event has already doubled in size. The number of bands jumped from nine in 2011 to 17 scheduled for this year, and the show now spans two nights. It’s also moved from the basement venue of The Vault to Linneman’s, providing, as Schwader says, “a more cordial ... less illegal environment.”
The idea of creating a fleet of Frankenstein bands has been tried in other areas. In High Frequency Media’s documentary of last year’s All Messed Up, Schwader says he wondered at a certain point, “Why not Milwaukee? We have a lot of talent here and a lot of ideas.”
It wouldn’t be a real experiment without some blown-up beakers. Schwader says he anticipated a 20 percent dropout rate from the beginning. Currently, three of the 17 bands have already withdrawn. But for every dud in the clip, there’s a hollow-point. Schwader’s favorite from the first All Messed Up was a band called Trilobite. The band was “the most original, most charismatic. The singer played a guitar but used it as an effect when he wasn’t singing. The bass player was going crazy,” says Schwader. It was something he hadn’t seen before, which is the idea.
“The whole point is that it’s random,” says Schwader.
Since last year’s event, Trilobite played another show. So did another All Messed Up creation, called Marvelous Love. The Living Blackouts were born that night and they, too, are still playing together. None of it would have happened without the spin-the-bottle coupling that goes on at All Messed Up. Some of the acts might be kind of gross, but you might end up with seven minutes in heaven.