RECAP: Arte Para Todos 2017
In a city that is known for music festivals and block parties, Arte Para Todos is unlike any other. By celebrating Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, and with the mission of giving money to local schools’ arts programs, there’s a lot of social good to go along with the chance to see a huge variety of Milwaukee artists play live. We got the chance to see 18 (mostly) local acts over the course of four nights, and it was great to see a lot of faces in the Milwaukee music community supporting their peers, as well. Here’s our night-by-night breakdown:
Thursday, April 27th – Walker’s Point
APT was off to a tremendous start on Thursday, with a strong lineup for one of the city’s ever-transforming neighborhoods. Most of our night was spent at The Local Club Anything, as Pleasure Thief, the side project of NO/NO’s Cat Ries was a pleasant surprise. TableForFour celebrated their one year anniversary of playing live by having a breakout show, with the addition of a custom stage setup, and Iowa’s Crystal City kept things down to earth with their folk singer/songwriter combination. It was then briefly over to Gibraltar for an always entertaining hip hop set from the Rusty Pelicans, who consistently bring the energy with their veteran skill, before returning to The Local. Duckling played a tough, upbeat set, and Klassik managed to slay the stage with an improvised setlist, persevering through initial technical difficulties with ease.
Friday, April 28th – Bay View
It was safe to say that Friday was the pinnacle of Arte Para Todos this year, with some of the toughest lineup choices to make. Our night began with Painted Caves, who brought an array of instruments and sounds to The Tonic Tavern. Next up was a trip to Puddler’s Hall, which paired up the indie dance party that is Mortgage Freeman with local pop-punk standouts and Fat Wreck Chords signees Direct Hit!. The night closed out in style, as we headed down the street to Cactus Club for Zed Kenzo and D’Amato. The combination at the end of the night filled the room, as Zed delivered an incredibly strong set, and D’Amato, complete with local-all-star band in tow, brought the house down as only he could.
Saturday, April 29th – Riverwest
Riverwest’s contribution to Arte Para Todos was, well, distinctly Riverwest, with a mashup of everything from indie to hip hop to experimental electronica. We got things going with Vincent VanGREAT at The Jazz Gallery, who put on an energetic set with the backing talents of Ninja Sauce. From there, it was a pop in at High Dive for electronica from Pressboard, a part of Close Up Of The Serene’s “CleanAir”, a party that thumped music out of the bar for the remainder of the night. A stop in at Mad Planet presented with a technical, thrashing half hour of marathon songs from Teenage Woman, as well as an impressive set from Whips that commanded a huge crowd. We finished out the night with the more serene, layered indie pop provided by Rose Of The West. Our lineup was an diverse amalgam of sorts, but why wouldn’t it be, considering we were in such a wonderfully weird neighborhood?
Sunday, April 30th – East Side
Sunday capped off the festival with a pair of headlining sets at the Back Room at Colectivo on Prospect Ave., featuring Lex Allen and Reyna. Lex is a vocal treasure, keeping things mostly lowkey, but delivering new tracks from his upcoming album, “Table Seven for Sinners and Saints”, due out this year. Reyna finished out the night and the festival on an extraordinarily high note, delivering an energetic set that saw the Gabuelos sisters bouncing along to a mixture of previously released songs and previews of new material, which we’ll likely get to hear in a recorded form soon. They also threw in an encore performance of Vic and Gab era song “Love of Mine”, which was a delightful callback for everyone in the crowd.
All in all, Arte Para Todos was a showcase of Milwaukee as a whole; from the bands themselves, to the neighborhoods, to the art displayed and created during the local acts’ sets. We need more of this sort of thing in this city, and everyone knows it. A thank you is in order to the event organizers, as well as the participating bands, venues, and artists. As Milwaukee grows and undergoes a huge transformation overall, it makes a huge impact to see the community come together for an event like this.