Look for this article's author stage diving in a dinosaur suit at 1:08 of the above video, shot by Martin Defatte at the Die Kreuzen reunion gig.
By Sahan Jayasuriya
Twenty years is a long amount of time. We’ve seen plenty of reunions where decades later, artists attempt to re-create the magic that once was and fail miserably at it. There’s something to be said about the artists that decide to leave things in the past, out of respect for the music. There’s also something to be said about the artists who re-emerge decades later, completely on top of their game. To say that this statement describes Die Kreuzen’s reunion show in Milwaukee, Wis., this past weekend is a gross understatement.
An incredibly diverse crowd of old familiar faces, young punks and just about everyone in between gathered at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom this past Saturday for the Lest We Forget benefit show, which featured many mainstays of the Milwaukee scene from the last 25-plus years. While other Milwaukee greats like the Dominoes and the Tense Experts delivered top-notch performances, the true stars of the evening were Die Kreuzen, who played to a packed house with incredible precision and energy.
Any doubts quickly disappeared as they took the stage, launching into “Man in the Trees," the first track off of the classic "October File" LP. With a large variety of material to draw from, the band’s 11-song set did a faithful job of representing their releases, from circle-pit ragers like “In School” to the hook-laden “Elizabeth” to the slow-burning “Number 3.”
|Die Kreuzen's Kubinski (Martin Defatte photo)
Dan Kubinski had the entire room in the palm of his hand, delivering his vocals with incredible emotion and honesty. Keith Brammer energetically played his ripping bass lines, locking in with Erik Tunison, whose tight drumming sounded even better than the records. Although guitarist Brian Egeness’ absence left some rather large shoes to fill, his replacement Jay Tiller played as though he had been a member all along, almost perfectly replicating Egeness’ unique guitar tone. Their set ranks up there with My Bloody Valentine’s 2008 reunion as being the best reunion set I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.
Together, the four members put on one hell of a show. If there’s anyone who had a better time than the audience, it was the band members themselves. Will this be the last time we will ever get to see Die Kreuzen? Who knows. If it is, they truly couldn't have gone out on a higher note.
"It was amazing. So many old friends, and it was incredible playing for a lot of people who had never gotten a chance to see us. Just a good time all around. Poignant but exciting."
-- Keith Brammer