Before I Die…

The Wausaublog welcomes our newest contributor, Shawn.  If you have something you would like to say about Wausau that does not relate to the Violent Femmes 😉 you could drop an email to the Ringmaster: wausaublog@badgers.com. 

Before I meet my maker, I want to do the following things:

  1. Get married, and have kids…CHECK!
  2. Get my Masters Degree…CHECK!
  3. Become Famous…PENDING!
  4. See the Violent Femmes in Wausau…CHECK!

I never thought #4 would happen. It was my insurance policy agains premature death. Unfortunately, the folks over at Kinzie Benefit Concerts closed my loophole, and thanks in large part to Dino, I saw the Femmes in my own backyard.

I grew up in Wausau, and the biggest shows I remember from my youth were Cheap Trick and The Beach Boys. Great acts, but not relevant to me. I still remember the first time I heard Confessions or I Hear The Rain when I was a youngster and Gordon Gano’s screetchy and pained lyrics gave voice to some of the issues was dealing with at the time. I was unpopular, unlucky at love, and figuring out my place. The same stuff the Femmes have been talking about for years. I’m 33 now and I can admit to still feeling a little bit awkward with my place and when I hear these songs, it takes me back to my youth.

That being said, I lived in Milwaukee for 10 years and got spoiled. I could see the Femmes at Summerfest or the other various venues they would play. And I did. But standing in Marathon Park, where I spent countless hours for picnics, fairs, and train rides as a child, and seeing this icon of my youth meant something more to me. In some ways, it validated my decision to move back to Wausau. Bands played Wausau when they are on the downside of their career, while the Femmes have maintained a consistent level of popularity throughout their storied career. The fact that they came to Wausau shows that we can be a player in the cultural landscape of the state. We matter.

At least that’s what I walked out of Marathon Park believing that night. The Violent Femmes played Marathon Park like they played Summerfest, or the Oriental Theater. They rocked non-stop for their entire set and didn’t treat the show like it was a paycheck or an inconvenience. They were pros.

I didn’t get that from Better Than Ezra, though. From their hackneyed “Wau-saw” faux karate chop joke that kept coming song after song, to the repeated mention that the Violent Femmes were from Wisconsin (Hey…Thanks for the info) the whole thing came off forced and cliched. They were entertaining, but I didn’t really BELIEVE it.

I won’t remember that, though. I’ll remember that the Femmes came into my backyard and made Wausau the coolest place on Earth. Thank you to all who made that happen. I won’t soon forget it.

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