Artist Spotlight: Marielle Allschwang & the Visitations

An all-ages show occurred at Cactus Club Wednesday evening, bringing out a full crowd complete with an enthusiastic baby front row. Avant-garde folk band Marielle Allschwang & the Visitations and Brazilian folk-pop artist Sessa each played sets.

“Cactus Club is definitely spearheading the ability to have grandmas and babies and friends,” Allschwang said about the all-ages legislation pushed by Cactus Club’s own Kelsey Kaufmann.

Marielle Allschwang sings and plays guitar, while the Visitations currently consist of guitarist Ken Palme, bassist/vocalist Nathaniel Heuer, guitarist/auxiliary percussionist Adam Krause, and drummer Thomas Duffey. Formed in 2015, the band takes a unique and experimental spin on Americana-folk music guided by Allschwang’s angelic voice. Their most recent album “Precession of a Day: The World of Mary Nohl” came out last September, and it is a multimedia exploration of the legendary Milwaukee visual artist. Performances had been accompanied by video, and public presentations were part of the rollout.

“Originally, the project involved writing the songs to perform with the film that we created (and Adam edited). Heather Hass did filming and directed the aquarium video, while Adam and I myself directed the rest. The album is like a book of Mary Nohl’s artwork and lyrics and is an essay about her. Our recording processes are all so fun and different. This was our first time having Lawton Hall engineer and mix the record for us, and that was really cool because he co-runs the chair company where we practice all the time. He just made it really easy to keep it in the family and keep it close to home. We had a lot of freedom and flexibility. Recording with this band is always a total joy and a trip, and Lawton definitely knew how to bring out really strong performances that I wouldn’t have otherwise tried.”

Allschwang says that 2020 is up in the air for the band.

“2019 was crazy and intense, releasing two records and doing all the “Precession of a Day” performances that were a lot to express. We did our last scheduled one in January, so this was our first performance out after that. I don’t really know…we’re still figuring it out. We really like playing with each other, so we’ll see what happens.”

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