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MKE Concert Pick: The curious tale of Cindy Lee comes to Cactus Club

Cindy Lee

Milwaukee’s concert scene has a lot going on, so we look at the shows coming up to find the ones you’ll look back on and be glad you went. Then we add them to our weekly Milwaukee Concert Picks.

This is an “embarrassment of riches” type of week for live music in Milwaukee. We could’ve thrown you the batting-practice fastball down the middle and gone with something like The Postal Service/Death Cab or Belle & Sebastian or Shakey Graves. Nope. It’s curveball time.

Actually, calling Cindy Lee a curveball in the current music scene doesn’t cover it. They’re a knuckle-curve-screwball that twists in one direction when conventional thinking has everyone else going the other way. How else would you describe someone who, in this age of shrinking attention spans, releases a 32-song double album clocking in at more than 2 hours?

And then doesn’t put it on Spotify or Apple Music or even Bandcamp?

And then only makes it available ad free on YouTube or by downloading WAV files?

And then puts those WAV files available on a Geocities website?

This wouldn’t matter a lick if the album, Diamond Jubilee, wasn’t any good. Let’s just go with the Pitchfork shorthand: a score of 9.1, which is the site’s highest rating since Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters in 2020. The blog-rock council seems to be together on this one, too. Gorilla vs. Bear, Post-Trash, Beats Per Minute — they’re all ga-ga.

And THAT wouldn’t matter, at least for our purposes, if the live show wasn’t any good. It seems that it is. Cindy Lee is no fresh face on the scene, having released six prior albums dating back to 2012 as the alter ego of drag performer Patrick Flegel. It just took lucky number seven (and some archaic internet technology) for things to line up just so, over which time they’ve sharpened their skills to a fine point.

You can enjoy Cindy’s Lee’s finely honed musical craftsmanship at Cactus Club this Friday, with Freak Heat Waves opening.

More shows worth a go