Music in Milwaukee is ailed by a lack of defined identity. It is not simply that any mention of the Milwaukee music scene doesn’t cause any particular sound to come to mind. It is that there really does not seem to be a group that captures the spirit of Milwaukee, a local group whose sound is unquestionably and uncompromisingly the audio portrait of the Thrillwaukee experience.
That seems to have been the case before The Pushers came to be. Their direct interpretation of the Great Lakes blues tradition is honest, pulls no punches, and is equally fitting as theme music for a killer party in Bay View as it is seeping out the stereo on a lazy suburban day. The music is pulsating with power, but it does not blatantly unleash it – Rather, it simmers underneath the a misleadingly calm and low key exterior. There is something in there that a Brew City native instinctively understands.
The songs’ themes are inclined to to center around on mundane topic, but in a meaningful manner. The band’s smash hit, and go-to hard-rocker ‘Heartbreaker’ combines blues slide playing and hard rock rock’n’roll to relate the musings of a notorious ladies’ man whose ability to make the ladies head-over-heels fall in love with him is at once a gift and a curse – the audience can’t tell if the protagonist is boasting or expressing regret as he describes the ever shifting lineup of women whose temporary obsession makes him forget that in spite of all appearances, he is painfully alone.
Principally contributing to the framework of The Pushers’ sound is Rogers’s guitar playing. It is both phenomenal yet low-profile – he slings catchy guitar licks and fiery solos alike with the identical purposeful subtlety, all under frontman Cooper’s defiant growl. The singer, whose presence does not limit itself to just being the ideal representation of the everyman protagonist portrayed in the lyrics, wields a blues harp. Not only does merely including a harmonica set The Pushers apart from fellow regional heavy groups, the manner in which it maniacally scorches along with the guitar destroys any similarity to blues groups also. The Pushers churn out tunes that are completely unrelated to other music in Milwaukee.
The rhythm section, bass player Blackburn and skinsman Cejka bite into seething slow mosh grooves, thunder out attention-grabbing breaks, and simply speed along, all without a hiccup or hesitation. They build the type of backdrop that is often absent in the majority of of modern actual heavy music: rhythm that inspires people to actually want to get up and DANCE. The popularity of a lot of music in Milwaukee is usually related to an act’s capacity to keep the bar and event hordes content, and The Pushers manage it without losing any of their integrity. That is because their music so faultlessly captures the experience here, both the good times and the bad.
If you are searching for a perfect example of music in Milwaukee, look no further than The Pushers. They’re the ones to watch over the coming years.
Jay T Michaels – Music discoverer and blogging enthusiast