By Chris Lehmkuhl
Public Enemy, with all original members of the band, did in fact ‘Bring the Noise’ to Tosa’s Red Dot on West North Avenue on September 26, 2015. Last fall, they rocked a packed house for over 2 hours.
The hip-hop pioneers performed with the kind of energy you might expect from a band touring in support of its first hit record. The impression they left will be seen and heard for years to come. An experience like this marks the type of happening that becomes legendary almost overnight.
Whether you’re a fan of the infamous rappers or not, the fact that PE found it’s way to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on an unsuspecting Saturday evening has got to make you wonder. Really? Why? How in the hell did they get here? Bands that are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame don’t often play in Wauwatosa, much less in front of 140 fans.
The sheer amazement doesn’t end there. The lineup that night consist- ed of 5 musical acts in all, each and every one of them legitimate in their own right: Sponge, Hot Action Cop and Bobby Bare Jr. all attract strong national attention. Each of these acts boasts their own Wikipedia pages and millions of hits on YouTube. The only lesser-known act on the bill, Mafril, has family ties to chief organizer of Lampapalooza.
Like any goal that borders on a dream, it started with a vision. And this vision belonged to New York native, now Tosa resident, Anthony Lampasona.
While growing up in the 1980’s near New York City, hip-hop and rap music were king, and Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy were wearing the proverbial crown(s). “The rap music scene of the 80’s and early 90’s was the soundtrack to our lives back then and it was being created in our back- yard,” Anthony, or Antman, as his friends call him, goes on to assert, “Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy were ‘it’ for me.”
Anthony Lampasona wanted to throw a party exclusive to his family and dear friends. He also wanted to keep it local. “Having the party within walking distance of my house was a nice bonus but really, it was all about keeping it in Tosa.” This is why he chose to stay in the neighbor- hood as he planned this event. The Red Dot is just a stone’s throw from his house in East Tosa.
A graduate of UW-Milwaukee, Antho- ny stayed in the Milwaukee area where he met his wife Kristin. Shortly thereafter the Lampasonas moved to Wauwatosa, where they live with their two boys, Jack and Griffin.
As it turned out, the group saw this as the perfect opportunity to perform new material and experiment with possible set-lists.
Lampapalooza was Anthony’s vision of a really good time. And, in his mind, an outrageous party was the perfect occasion to get his friends and family together in his hometown. With the help of some great, over-the-top headliners, Lampasona would throw a party not to be forgotten.
Anthony was a big fan of, and is now friends with bands Sponge and Hot Action Cop. Both bands played the inaugural Lampapalooza event in 2014, so having them return for the 2015 rendition of his party was an easy choice. Always dreaming big, Lampasona wanted to build on the first event, and so it was set into motion that he would recruit one of his all time favorite bands for the big night, Public Enemy.
His initial outreach and connection with PE’s management proved to be smoother than he imagined. Once introductions were made and numbers were on the table, the event came down to agreeing on an acceptable date. With band members living throughout the country, it would be no small task to pull off this show.
Having recently completed a new album, Man Plans God Laughs, and being in the midst of preparing for a European tour, would Chuck D. and company want to engage in a random act of rock, in Wauwatosa, WI? As it turned out, the group saw this as the perfect opportunity to perform new material and experiment with possible set-lists. As Allen Iverson might say, “we talkin’ ‘bout practice!”
Red Dot is not designed to be a prac- tical live music venue. Each angle of the event had to be tailored by Lampasona. The stage, public address system, lighting, private tents in back for the band, laminates, hotel rooms, transportation and more were all curated by Anthony and his team.
When it all went down, the hip-hop compass pointed directly to 6713 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa on Saturday Night, September 26, 2015. Chuck, Flav, and the entire PE crew were incredibly genuine and gracious. They took pictures with the fans and hung out, much like a local band would after a show.
Anthony’s boys, Jack (11) and Griffin (9), created a Green Bay Packer clock for Flava Flav. Flav dug the boys’ work so much that he posted a picture of himself wearing Central Standard Time the following day.
So what else lies in wait for future – Paloozas in Tosa by Lampasona? At the time of this story, there are rumors of another event that is in the early planning stages. No further information is being disclosed. Anthony wants to keep Lampapalooza close to the vet and private for his friends and family – he’s not looking to make his mark in promotions or event planning.
Many have tried to persuade Anthony Lampasona into hosting his extravaganzas in bigger venues, opening them up to larger audiences and adding sponsorships and fundraising components. However, Anthony is clear when he states that he’s quite pleased with and grateful for the success he’s had thus far. Touché.