The Response/Last Place Champs/Somerset - live in Milwaukee (Cover Artwork)

The Response / Last Place Champs / Somerset

live in Milwaukee (2003)

live show

For a show with so much buzz surrounding the bands, the crowd at Mad Planet here in Milwaukee was left to mainly high school and college kids just looking for a great concert at a cheap price. However with nary a suit in the audience, the 4 bands that made up this bill were still ready to play their hearts out. And play their hearts out they did.

First up were Appleton, Wisconsin natives Number One Fan. According to, this band is/was being looked at by several labels, and 2 songs into their set it was pretty easy to see why. The band seemed to master the perfect pop tracks that the guys in Jimmy Eat World always wanted to write during the Static Prevails era, and had a pretty good stage performance to along with it. The only real problem was that with so much equipment lying scattered around the stage for the rest of the bands, Number One Fan seemed to lack the full room they wanted to move on and have fun. They won over a few of the kids in attendance (myself included) and I would recommend checking out their stuff if you are looking for some great music, plain and simple.

Next up was the newly crowned "best unsigned band in America" by itself. Now we all know what happened to the last best unsigned band in America (Motion City Soundtrack folks), they are now on Epitaph and everyone seems to love their record. And although MCS may have a wider appeal, it was very easy to see why Somerset is getting all the hype they are. The new demos are spectacular, their live show is spectacular, and Scott was not lying about this band. The band tore through the 3 demo songs, a few songs off their self-released EP, and proceeded to never stop rocking out. The only real problem with their set was that the sound guy (usually a pretty reliable guy, I've seen him do good work before at local shows) must not have heard that the vocals were way too low. The music almost drowned out the powerful voice, but other than that, Somerset just ruled. These guys just need a bigger stage, and then I think we'll see them really blow up the live performance they seemed to want to put on, before they realized they didn't have much room to move.

It was almost two years ago I heard the song "Cheer Up Emo Boy" by the Last Place Champs on a local Milwaukee radio show, and in those two years this band has evolved from mediocre pop-punk into a great indie band. Their self-released full length 'The Code' attracted a lot of attention last year, landing them several spots on the 2002 Warped Tour, and a few opening gigs for MxPx earlier in the year in 2003. 'The Code' is still amazing, and the Last Place Champs are just getting better. Opening up the show with a piano/vocals/guitar track, it was a mellower side of the LPC I have not seen thus far. Then they picked up their guitars, turned up the amps, and proceeded to tear through several songs off 'The Code', including my personal favorite "Watermark". The only thing lacking was the inclusion of a few new songs they had usually played at the past few shows I had seen them at, but other than that the whole band tore the stage up as usual. Their set was way too short, but then again it always is.

Ending this buzz fest, were some more Milwaukee sweethearts, The Response. This was their homecoming show after about a month spent on the road with Somerset, so I figured the band would be pretty tired and may not deliver the amazing performance as they had a month ago. I stood corrected. After opening up with the song "Cadillac 87", a mellow number off their Six EP, The Response ripped it up as usual, delivering the songs with as much energy and power as ever. The vocals were dead on, the band was bouncing around this venue like it was made for them, and they made sure that everyone in the venue knew they were glad to be home. After thanking Somerset several times over, the Response unplugged and left the stage.

Overall, this was my local show Dream Team, and the dual headed Milwaukee bred monster of The Response and the LPC did not disappoint at all. Somerset lived up to the expectations I had for them, and this was easily worth the month of waiting I endured. If any of these bands are ever touring near you, go out and see them. Full satisfaction guaranteed or your money back...err well maybe not, but I doubt many will be looking for refunds anyways.