Water City Racket Fest 2019 announces first group of performing artists


Water City Racket Fest has released their first preview of the annual downtown Oshkosh music fest set for Feb 14-16, 2019.  Here’s what we know:

Locations (7 total):  The Algoma Club will again be home to the main festivities, with back to back nights of 4 bands Friday and Saturday along with earlier music downstairs in Manila RestoFletch’s is entering the festivities hosting an opening night kick off on Thursday as well as Saturday lunch, joining Manila Rest as Saturday lunchtime destinations.  Late night sets are planned for both the Reptile (Saturday) and Peabody’s (Friday), while early morning Saturday activities will be offered both at the Oshkosh Public Library and the Oshkosh Farmers Market @ the Menominee Nation Arena.

Cost:  Tickets for the Algoma Club, which is host to 4 bands both Friday and Saturday, are $10 for the weekend or $6 per night.  All other shows are free.

Racket Fest Radio compilation album:  New in 2019, a full length (12+ studio tracks) compilation featuring Racket Fest artists will be available at the fest for $7.  Printing of the album is limited to just 75 copies.  The album will first be available Thursday night (Feb 14) at Fletch’s, and will be just $3 with the purchase of a weekend pass (Thursday only).


First list of announced bands:

NICKEL&ROSE (Milwaukee): Two 2/16/19 sets including 11am at the Oshkosh Public Library for a Listen & Learn session and 6pm at Manila Resto.

Nickel&Rose is an American folk-music duo made up of upright bassist Johanna Rose and guitarist Carl Nichols. They formed in the summer of 2016 and spent their first winter and the following spring traveling Europe, playing dozens of shows in France, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Poland, and Ukraine. In April 2017 they released their first EP Oh Sweet Love, and in September 2018 they released their second EP Americana.


ASUMAYA (Madison): One 2/16/19 set at the Oshkosh Public Library kicking off the Listen & Learn session at 9:15am.

Asumaya is a one-man, multi-instrumental looping experience facilitated by  Madison-based percussionist, Luke Bassuener (Faux Fawn, Control), whose songs are constructed from layers of harmonies and poly-rhythms played live through a looping pedal. The music pulls from elements of post-punk, dub, world music and R&B, resulting in a genre-defying mix that makes heads spin and feet move in equal measure. Luke is a graduate of UW Oshkosh and is a returning Racket Fest artist.  (grab the screen below, swing it around and see Luke in all modes)


GAUSS (Milwaukee): One 2/16/19 set at the Algoma Club at 9:30pm.

Experimental Milwaukee musical wizards GAUSS blend elements of punk rock and gaze-noise with violin, horn and strangely addictive creativity.  The band has been rocking since 2012 and has evolved from a minimalist punk outfit into a growing ensemble of refined rhythmic structure and cleverly placed dissonance that often resolves into a memorable pop motif.


BOTTOM OF THE LAKE (Oshkosh): One set on Friday (2/15/19) at the Algoma Club opening up the evening shortly after 7:30pm.

Reviving the emo-rock phase of the early 2000s, Bottom of the Lake released the 8-song album I’ll Keep This Safe Here in 2018, blending slow heart-felt lyrics and aggressive distortion layered over catchy melodies and repetitive structures.


NOELL KAYLENE (Oshkosh):  Two sets including 8pm opening night  @ Fletch’s and 8:15am on Saturday @ the Menominee Nation Arena.

Noell is a piano smashing, ukulele playing singer-songwriter who combines her poetry with melodic harmonies to create unique, stuck-in-your-head tunes.  Noell played the 2018 Independent Racket Nights series 


SOLAR MAX (Oshkosh): Playing the final late set of the festival Saturday, Feb 16 @ the Reptile Palace.

When metal turns left down psychedelia lane towards guitar harmony land to shred with blond long-haired bass players riding waves of guitar solos.  Their home is the Reptile, so it is appropriate that they close out the festivities playing songs off their new release creatively titled Solar Max.


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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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