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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Craigslist creation plays Milwaukee

For a band that traces its start back to Craigslist, Blane Fonda knows how to attract a striking crowd and bridge the gap estranging generations.

Blane Fonda, comprised of lead singer Mark Wetzel, drummer Dave Fine, guitarist Charlie Nadler, bass player Dave Zeller and keyboardist Matt Witt, first emerged in the Chicago music scene in 2009 with a high-energy rock beat orchestrated for dancing.  After a year together, the band has steadily worked to branch out and establish a name for itself in the Midwest, a reputation aided by its debut album, “Master of Stars and Broken Arms.”

This Friday, Blane Fonda and their reputation will reach Milwaukee for a debut concert at Club Garibaldi’s, 2501 S. Superior St., complete with costumes, fog machines and laser beams.

Blane Fonda, originally the pen name of a man who used to stalk the band’s singer, was formed by the merger of two Chicago bands, the Sapiens and Technicolour Stallion.  Fine, 25, said when the Sapiens parted ways with its original singer, seeking a new sound and direction, the group found Wetzel the same place where Fine and his bandmates found girlfriends and couches — Craigslist.  Wetzel was originally a part of Technicolour Stallion, and joined Blane Fonda after his earlier group disbanded.

“We’ve got five guys in the right place at the right time,” Fine said of their collaboration, drawing on the famous words of Led Zeppelin.

The group built itself up in Chicago, but after only two months of rehearsal, Blane Fonda headed for bigger and better opportunities outside its hometown.

Now, after 30 shows in its opening year, including one at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, the group aims to double its concerts in its second year and remains focused on writing music and performing as often as possible.

“We’re a pretty tight-knit group,” Fine said.  “The five of us are in correspondence all day working on the next thing for the band.”

Each member has to lead something of an alternate life to support the band, from graphic design to selling advertising and working in nonprofits.

“We all live double lives,” Fine said.

When the five do manage to come together for practice and songwriting, their inspirations transpire from all directions.

“We all have different tastes in music and different influences that we bring to the table to create a unique sound,” Fine said, citing everything from smooth jazz to disco funk.

Yet for them it only takes one simple idea — a single drumbeat or one-line melody — to spark and harmonize an entire song.

Sonora Park, 44, of Chicago has been following Blane Fonda since last November after a friend who attended college with Fine introduced her to the band.

“There’s a cohesiveness to their songs,” Park said.  She describes the band’s sound as 80s pop rock and new wave with a modern undertone and “hauntingly soulful vocals.”

“The more you listen to them, the better their music gets, and they don’t get old,” Park said.

It doesn’t hurt that they happen to be very charming, personable musicians, according to both Park and guitarist Nadler.

“We’re all nice guys,” Nadler, 28, said.

Beyond that, they know all the workings of a disarming and original show.

“I can’t think of a lot of bands that we sound really similar to,” Nadler said.

Blane Fonda’s performance at Club Garibaldi’s starts at 9 p.m. and is restricted to age 21 and older.  Admission costs $6.  For more information, visit

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