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Cactus Club announces fundraising shows with Bully, ESG

Cactus Club

Kelsey Kaufmann has evolved Cactus Club in seemingly countless ways since taking over ownership, primarily due to her ability to deal with problems head on, regardless of their size. Accessibility at the venue is one of those big issues that is being dealt with in stages, the latest of which will take place on the actual stage.

On Thursday, Cactus Club announced two fundraising concerts for the Cactus+ Accessibility Initiative: Bully on July 10 and underground legends ESG on Aug. 30.

While both shows are worth geeking out over, the latter is particularly exciting since it will be ESG’s first show ever in Milwaukee. That’s staggering considering the Scroggins sisters formed the group in 1978 and became one of those “you don’t think you know them but you know them” artists. One outlet called them “the most sampled group of all time,” with elements of their music finding their way into tracks by everyone from Beastie Boys to The Notorious B.I.G.

Milwaukee concert-goers have enjoyed more opportunities to catch Bully (infinitely more, in fact), the latest of which happened last September as Alicia Bognanno toured behind her excellent new album Lucky for You. I was among the crowd at X-Ray Arcade for that ripper of a show, which is hard to imagine not being duplicated given Bognanno’s devotion to her craft and live performances.

Something to note is that while these are both concerts at Cactus Club, they’re also fundraising events FOR Cactus Club, so ticket prices are higher than you would typically see from one of the better concert values in town. The Bully show will set you back $100, while the ESG tickets are set at $150. Consider it a way to give back to a place that consistently provides quality entertainment without wringing your wallet dry.

Or just consider the impact your dollars could have on the club, which is in the midst of a years-long effort to become ADA-compliant. The plan laid out on their website includes an initial project to add a ramp to the front door and subsequent — quite ambitious — phases that would expand the club, add accessible bathrooms, improve sight lines, create an accessible stage and lower part of the bar to make ordering easier.

“We are working with architects to determine the scope of the mobility-centered renovations and expansion,” Kaufmann said in a release about the two concerts. “This is an ambitious building project, but it’s also a cultural project, so we invite artists and community members to be part of the process. Beyond fundraising, we want your input in dreaming and determining how we move forward.”

If you want to help those efforts and enjoy some high-energy live music, you can pick up tickets to the Bully show July 10 and the ESG show Aug. 30 starting at 10 a.m. this Friday, May 24.