words by Cal Roach
The date has finally arrived! No, we’re not talking about Celine Dion’s birthday; it’s WMSE’s Cover Milwaukee show! What started as an incentive for the (successful! thanks, again!) Kickstarter campaign to fix the station’s recording studio has been opened up to the public, you lucky ducks. This is a truly unique event: we’ve got reunited bands (Dorian Gray! R&B Cadets!), young upstart bands (Sat. Nite Duets, Fatty Acids) playing material from older groups, and artists that bridge the old/new gap (Couch Flambeau, Paul Cebar). That’s just a handful of examples; check out the full lineup here. Head over to the Todd Wehr Auditorium tonight (Friday) at 8 p.m. for this long-awaited show, and read on to see what else is going on in Milwaukee for the next week or so.
The only bummer about Cover Milwaukee is that it’s happening at the same time as IfIHadAHifi and Police Teeth, pretty much the ultimate noise rock party going down at Quarters tonight. Surely you’ve heard Hifi’s new Nada Surf EP by now? It’s one of the best records of the year so far, and we’re not just talking local. The band always puts on a punishingly energetic show as well, and Seattle’s Police Teeth is sort of like Hifi’s west coast soul mate band (tune into WMSE today at 2 p.m. CST for a peek at their music as they visit WMSE for an interview on Andy’s show). Plus, you’ll get to see Like Like The The The Death and Strange Matter to boot! Hey, you could probably make it in time for the headliners if you race to Riverwest immediately after the WMSE show…
Also playing tonight: Country Mice at the Riverwest Public House. They may be from Brooklyn, but they really don’t sound like it; they blend southern rock with rootsy, jammy Americana into a melodic concoction that seems ripe for expansion in a live setting, especially since their 2011 album Twister showcases some impressive meat-and-potatoes rock and roll chops. Joining the Mice will be Madison’s Asumaya, a very interesting percussion-centric project that is bound to get you dancing, and the bill is rounded out by local favorite DJ The Hammer.
Just in case you can’t make it to Quarters on Friday, or you can but just can’t get enough super loud guitars, head back there on Saturday night for arguably Milwaukee’s best metal band, Northless. Even if growls and screams turn you off, you might be surprised how much kick-ass melodic guitar you’ll find on the band’s 2011 epic double album Clandestine Abuse. Sure, it’s crushingly heavy, but it’s anything but mindless noise. Joining Northless will be Ahab’s Ghost (who celebrate the release of their debut album, After The Fall, at this show), Lost Coves and Aseethe for a night-long assault on your ears. Note: bring ear plugs! Seriously, you want to keep doing this for a long time, right?
Milwaukee’s home for local and regional jam bands these days has to be the Miramar Theatre, and if you want to catch one of the Midwest’s most reliable noodle-merchants, head there Saturday night for Family Groove Company. Sure, the band’s sound is very typical of the legions of Phish-inspired groove (oops) rockers, maybe a little more jazz-inflected than most, but if you catch FGC on a good night, you’re liable to be mighty impressed by the precise, creative fingerwork of guitarist Adam Lewis. One of Milwaukee’s most promising young jam bands, Evergreen, also hinges on the performance of its wailing guitarist, Isaac Young, who’s also a pretty outstanding singer, especially considering his chosen genre. Also playing: SLM.
If you like a bit of storytelling, comedy and sound effects (and possibly even some lefty politics) mixed in with your music, you could hardly do better than A Prairie Home Companion. Garrison Keillor’s beloved long-running radio program goes live at the Milwaukee Theatre Saturday night, so here’s your chance to get your polite laughter heard all across the NPR airwaves! As an added bonus, WMSE’s own Paul Cebar will be making an appearance on the show, and we can’t think of a more perfect local representative to fit the show’s rootsy singer/songwriter sensibilities. Be there to show your support as one of Milwaukee’s most distinctive musical characters gets a little national spotlight!
Legendary progressive rock guitarist Allan Holdsworth has shied away from the spotlight for the past decade or so, but the wizard of the fretboard is easily one of the most influential and technically proficient players of the past thirty years or more, albeit not in any mainstream sense. For every critic who writes him off as a self-indulgent purveyor of finger exercises, there’s a famous musician touting him as the greatest unsung hero of the 70s jazz fusion/prog heyday. Catch him live with his current trio Tuesday night at Shank Hall and judge for yourself–if you haven’t already made up your mind, that is.
Wednesday night, as you may know by now, brings the next installment of Juniper Tar’s residency at Hotel Foster, a month-long party leading up to the April 27th release party for its new album, Since Before. The basic idea is this: JT brings in a couple local artists, who will play their own stuff with and without JT, and JT will play a few old songs and a few songs from the new album, and then at the end everybody will be onstage for a big group singalong to something that The Band played at its farewell show in 1976. If the inaugural date was any indication, these shows are not to be missed! This week’s event features Trapper Schoepp and Black Eagle Child, so seriously, anything could happen. (Click here for the full rundown on the “First Waltz” festivities.)
Thursday night’s lineup looks like the weekend started early; so much to do! We’ll just mention a couple of our favorites. Check out this video from Boise’s Youth Lagoon, and make your guesses as to whether this kid (Trevor Powers) will be able to pull this stuff off live. Even if you said no, don’t you think it should be incredibly interesting to watch him try? Also in the one-person-band category (even though she often tours with a band, at least back when she was known as Pezzettino) is ZETI, former controversial Milwaukee accordionist and current Brooklyn transplant. She returns to the Brew City to unveil her new EP, the proceeds from which will benefit the Sweetwater Foundation, and if we know anything about ZETI it’s that she is a unique and fiercely memorable performer. You probably want to check out this show at the Sugar Maple if you can. There will be limited seating available; purchase an advance ticket here.