The Go Rounds Round Up Good Times in the Back Room

By Anna Rodriguez

Photos by Lily Shea Photography

On Thursday, February 6th, Hear Here Presents brought psyche folk band The Go Rounds around Cactus Club to remind Milwaukee that there is much to be experimented with in their eclectic genre. The group is filled with experts to their craft, Graham, Miglo, Drew, and Wayne/Adam, who have been working together since 2014. The gang agreed to talk about their musical careers prior to the show.

Graham, hesitant to admit leadership of The Go Rounds, told us that every member in the group has dabbled in each other’s projects since 2007. In Kalamazoo, MI, the guys hovered around one particular hub of creative energy, a venue/cafe that is no longer, The Strut. I believe it was Wayne/Adam and Miglo that had some choice words for the owner of the place.

“Double Helix was the name of the studio where we recorded in the Strut. We all met through necessity of who played certain instruments,” Graham informed. “Wayne and Miglo were together, then Miglo and Drew, then… well you get the idea.”

“Cobalt Mexican Wolves,” Miglo said, when asked what one former musical project was.

The Go Rounds have travelled nationally, as well as through Canada and Mexico. They have played from the elevated bandstands of the Oaxaca Jazz Festival to the bamboo thatched venues of Jalapa. 

“Everyone in Mexico is so kind… I think the only asshole I’ve ever met there was Australian,” Wayne/Adam laughed. 

The Go Rounds also reminisced about 5mph collisions on the border of Canada, as well as their chosen driver Drew backing into the only thing in a massive parking lot, a baby tree, after reversing slowly for 100ft. They shared a laugh together.

“Despite Drew driving for both these incidents, I trust no one more with road trip travel!” Wayne/Adam announced.

The first half of The Go Rounds show featured many of the earlier songs, ranging from 2015-2018 when The Go Rounds were a little less experimental with their sound, and very much inspired by Americana and psych-pop. Danceable tunes like “Over and Over” and “Make It Sweeter” eased the crowd into a willingness to bob and sway. Carefully placed soft lullaby “Foxtrot” eased hearts, as it can be described as a sad boy siren song that evolves into serpentine psychedelia. 

Graham, singer and songwriter, strategically uses vocal effects in a delicate balance, and is quick to utilize falsetto, but also dip deep into a lower register without fear of misstep. Miglo, lead guitarist, crafts uncanny off-kilter flourishes and knows exactly when the listener needs a wild and unabashed solo. Wayne and Drew run a tight rhythm section ship and were much more than pretty faces and decent drivers, despite the stories that were told.

The song that shined brightest in this eye of the beholder was during the second half, the more experimental and psychedelic portion of the show. “Code” floored attendees and left all on a high vibration. This complex experimental psych pop song implied influences of Chad VanGaalen and LCD Soundsystem without irreverently stealing the identity of these well-scrutinized groups. “Code” drags you into journey that you didn’t know you needed and hooks you for the long haul.

“Pattern and Vanity” and “Bottle of Wine” riled up viewers into chaotic frenzies in the later part of the performance. This energy left attendees cheering for an encore, and The Go Rounds obliged their newfound fans.

To close, it must be stated that road life for musicians can be tough, but The Go Rounds know exactly how to cope with its ups and occasional downs. Wayne/Adam was quick to announce that ice cream pulls him through the bad times, while Miglo professed a special love for really spicy Thai food. Graham answered something along the lines of “silly psy bins” but lord knows what that means… lastly, Drew quietly admitted to finding peace in the claw machines at awful family restaurants and the occasional bar.

“I’m very good at getting the prize, but once the backseat is full of stuffed animals, we have to unload them on fans,” Drew stated.

I asked the crew what their favorite thing about Milwaukee was, and everyone (almost in unison) professed their deep love for the Riverwest Co-Op.

“But shout out to the Frank Lloyd Wright model homes,” Miglo half-joked.

Old and new fans alike await their return, and the next show, as one enthusiastic patron expressed, is not to be missed.

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