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Sunny War brings her ‘Anarchist Gospel’ to Cactus Club

A woman smiles while looking down at her acoustic guitar as she performs on stage at an outdoor music festival.
Peter Dervin
Sunny War / Instagram

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.

Los Angeles folk-punk artist Sunny War has been described as “Robert Johnson with a shot of Bad Brains.” Her latest album, Anarchist Gospel, fits that description pretty darn well.

On the new record, she drops references to anarcho-punk band Crass but floats her sound in such a vibrant and real way that New West Records (home to bands like Drive-By Truckers, Alejandro Escovedo and Calexico) welcomed her with open arms.

Lead single “No Reason” was a long-time resident on the 88Nine airwaves when Sunny was just ramping up to release Anarchist Gospel. The track gives off a compelling, warm and plucky vibe as Sunny sings: “You’re an angel / you’re a demon …you did some things that you regret / the ones you love most you upset / you haven’t got forgiveness yet,” speaking to the push and pull of flame versus flaw.

If you need a reason to catch Sunny live, NPR recently had this to say about the new album:

Watching Sunny War's guitar playing is so good, so effortlessly good, that it's generally the first thing you notice on her records. The Nashville, by way of Los Angeles, singer and virtuoso guitarist experimented with punk and folk music for the last decade, often to dazzling results. On her latest album, other instruments and vocalists play a larger role — and make Anarchist Gospel her most compelling album yet.” 

If that isn’t a great testimonial to catch Sunny War live on the stage, I don’t know what is. She plays Cactus Club this Wednesday, Aug. 2, with openers Marielle Allschwang and Pay Dirt getting the show started at 7:30 p.m.

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88Nine Music Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee