Beach Static and Telethon Bring Punk Energy to Cactus Club

Beach Static on stage at Cactus Club.

Different flavors of punk appeared in Cactus Club Friday evening as Milwaukee bands Beach Static and Telethon shared the stage with Madison punk band The Moguls and Chicago punk band Typesetter.

Beach Static consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Hogan, bassist and vocalist Amy Upthagrove, and drummer Jake Heffner. Described as “sun-baked surf punk,” their most recent EP “Games” dropped in December, with lead singles “Drowing In You” and “Kids & Career.” The band lists stylistically similar bands FIDLAR and Wavves as influences.

“It’s weird; when you write the album you always think “this song’s gonna resonate” or “this song is personal to me but I don’t know if it’s gonna connect” and it’s been cool to see what’s been getting played,” Hogan said. “It’s a little different than what I expected.”

“Milwaukee has such an incredible punk scene, and a really strong alternative pop scene,” Upthagrove said. “I feel being a more poppy but guitar-driven band, it’s fun to play the more punky HIGH DIVE shows.”

Beach Static is currently working on new material set to be released this summer.

Telethon on stage at Cactus Club

Telethon is a five-piece alternative rock band described as “solid gold rock n’ roll” and “hard pop.” The band is vocalist and guitarist Kevin Tully, lead guitarist Jack Sibilski, bassist Alex Meylink, drummer Erik Atwell, and keyboardist Nate “Gene Jacket” Johnson. Most recently the group released their EP “Modern Abrasive” in November, which was tracked at their house in Bay View.

Sibilski weighs in on how Modern Abrasive departs from their previous work.

“Going into it we wanted to do a power pop aesthetic where it wasn’t as big and theatrical but more tight like a Fountains of Wayne record,” Sibilski said. “We made it ourselves as opposed to making it with Jack Shirley, who produced our full-length records, and we also learned the songs one at a time.”

Jack Shirley is a record producer based in Palo Alto, CA, who is known for his work with Deafheaven, Jeff Rosenstock, and Joyce Manor among others. Although he did not record “Modern Abrasive” with Telethon, he mixed and mastered it.

Telethon embarked on their first out-of-state tour as a band in September, which saw them appearing along the East Coast in cities such as Philadelphia, NYC, and Burlington, VT.

“It was a real tour in the sense that you didn’t know what was gonna happen,” Sibilski said, “but a lot of people came out and knew our songs, which was a really cool thing.”

Tully cites Cactus Club as his favorite venue to play in Milwaukee.

“The sound guy Alex is really good at what he does,” Tully said. “The transitions are smooth too. They’re professional but not pretentious.”

Like Beach Static, Telethon is also working on new material. They played a little of it in their set.

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