Big sounds in tiny bar
By Terry Gillick // APRIL 25, 2005

Milwaukee's own Fuzee laid out a lively set Saturday night at the Guitar Bar on Water Street. While the playlist leaned heavily on tunes from the trio's recently released CD "All Agog," it also included a few surprise covers of tasty classics.

The cozy Guitar Bar is about 15 feet wide and maybe 50 feet deep and every cubic inch was filled with Fuzee's carefully mixed sounds. Fuzee's music is at once simple and complex. Listening with eyes closed, one would be hard pressed to accept that the music is being performed by only three musicians.

Fuzee's own tunes are fun, friendly and filled with hooks and highlights. "Kaukauna" and "L'america" retained their crunch and power, although they suffered slightly from the snug surroundings. A larger setting allows these songs to spread and soar, which is surely how they are meant to be heard.

The late night set also included a trio of curious covers. TLC's "Waterfalls" was given a power boost that brought the tune to a new height of energy. The Who's "Substitute" and Neil Young's "Rockin in the Free World," were handled deftly, remaining true to the originals while carrying Fuzee's signature harmonies and guitar/bass interplay. The driving "Free World" chorus approached a Nirvana-like urgency to the extent that one would not be surprised to hear snippets of "Teen Spirit's" chorus slide in and out of the mix.

All in all, this was a very satisfactory set. If nothing else, the experience left me hungry to hear this group really let go in a space large enough to handle this band's power and potential.

I must say that I thought, given the Guitar Bar's space limitations, the showgirl chorus line was a little over the top, although the revealing costumes were a marvel of engineering and millinery skills. The trained bear was thoroughly entertaining, but again, it was a bit much for this small space.

Check your local listing. Catch these power-pop purveyors whenever you are able. You'll be satisfied and happy.

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