The Colectivo Back Room is a staple gig space in the Milwaukee music realm, hosting a ton of up-and-coming names from all over the place in a uniquely intimate setting. This weekend, its focus lands on several bands that call the city home. Social Cig, Bug Moment and Scam Likely – all Milwaukee born and raised – are playing a sold-out show at the venue this Saturday, Aug. 20, with doors opening at 7 p.m.
The concert will support Social Cig's third album release, “Cheesehead,” which will be available to stream everywhere that night. Parker Schultz, the lead singer and creator behind Social Cig, started the project back in 2018 and has since played shows throughout the Milwaukee area, including opening for Wet Leg at The Pabst Theater in 2021.
Schultz found it hard to categorize Social Cig's sound into one genre but describes it as "indie-skate-punch-apple-core." It sounds confusing – but let him explain
“Indie just because of the instruments we use,” said Schultz. “With guitars and drums, it’s more of that indie sound. I would say our sound is a lot like indie-surf, but I don’t surf, and being from the Midwest, I skateboard a lot. I take a lot of energy from skateboarding, and it translates to music. The punch is because I am a very jittery person sometimes – a lot of my music has a very chuggy sound to it. Apple-core because it’s sweet but gets to the point. Those words all together kind of fit my genre.”
Schultz released two singles off the new album back in May, including “Hot Red” and “From Afar,” which showcase his sound's fluctuations through different genres. “Hot Red” has slower, sweeter and softer melodies to it while “From Afar” has a faster pace with groovier tones throughout.
Outside of the influences from his youth – like Weezer, Green Day and Blink 182 – Schultz has taken a lot of inspiration from his experiences in Milwaukee and the people he holds close here.
“For my last projects, I have always spent the summers enjoying it outside, and being all hermit and inside in the winter, writing and recording,” said Schultz. “I take a lot of inspiration from the summers in Milwaukee for sure. As you know, the scene is very tight-knit, and everyone is so lovely and welcoming. I wouldn’t feel as comfortable putting myself out there if it weren’t for the scene here.”
Opening for Social Cig on Saturday night are Bug Moment and Scam Likely, two other Milwaukee bands who share the same passionate experience with the Milwaukee music scene.
Bug Moment has been around since late 2020, composed of lead singer Jasmine Rosenblatt, drummer Aidan Hoppens, guitarist Gray and bassist Elias Dorsey. The band considers themselves a little bit of everything: alternative, emo-shoegaze and indie.
The band's most recent release is an acoustic EP called “Bug Moment Live from Hayward” which puts a nice twist on their heavier live sound, heard on their 2021 release “Bugs." They’ll play some unreleased music off their upcoming release at the Back Room show.
“The Milwaukee music scene right now is really flourishing,” said Rosenblatt. “We’ve been able to play with a lot of great bands, and they influence our music – especially bands like Spoy and Moonglow. They’re all great people, and we are lucky to have so many good nuggets in the music scene right now.”
Scam Likely is a more recent addition to the Milwaukee music scene, coming together in February of 2022. But while they're new, they can absolutely shred alongside any seasoned groups. The band consists of vocalist Charlee Grider who also plays rhythm guitar, Thierry Diatta on bass, Denzel “Ducky” Dondiego on lead guitar and Cary Dean Elger on drums.
The band's sound is equally undefinable – but if it came down to anything, they consider themselves a punk band that dabbles in alternative and indie tones, influenced by contemporary musicians. Grider cites Gwen Stefani, Hayley Williams of Paramore and Lily from Beach Bunny as some of her strongest influences.
Scam Likely has yet to release a full album to streaming services, but their recent 2022 single “Jesus Christ” is available to stream on all platforms. The song flows seamlessly through its initial fun indie riffs into a deeper punk sound with a strong guitar solo. Milwaukee has been an important part of their songwriting process as well.
“The Milwaukee music scene has kind of had a little revival,” said Diatta. “During COVID, it was kind of dead, even before that. Now, you just go outside and there is a functioning scene which is nice. Milwaukee’s scene is pretty tight-knit … it’s got the energy that works.”