words by Cal Roach
We here at Linky McLinkster love weekends like this one, even though they make our job tough: there’s way too much going on! We couldn’t possibly tell you about all of it! As you may have heard, tomorrow is officially Milwaukee Day! To celebrate the magic of 4/14, some of the very best bands in the city are putting on shows at your favorite local clubs, in addition to video screenings. There’s no wrong answer to “How should I celebrate Milwaukee Day?” except staying home watering your plants, so get out there and enjoy! Read on for a rundown on your many choices, as well as other events coming up in the near future.
As it turns out, 4/13 (Western Massachusetts Day!) ain’t too shabby either. For a local-flavored audio/visual feast (or, as they’re calling it, “Aurals + Optics”), head to Linneman’s for a special performance by the band that seems to be everywhere at once, The Fatty Acids. Tonight’s music will accompany two short films, “Commit” (directed by Andrew Nordstrum) and an excerpt from “Savageland” by Farmland Dynamite, plus a music video for WC Tank’s “Candy Council.” Tank will also perform, along with Canopies, and if that’s not enough, you’ve got WMSE’s own Wax Addicts DJ’ing between sets! Chalk up another local band doing more to advance the MKE scene than just playing shows.
For a more straightforward but just as stupendous option in the same neighborhood, head to the Riverwest Public House for another earplugs-recommended show. Catacombz will melt your eardrums with their brand of pulsing, droning rock-ish guitarscapes. IfIHadAHifi will send your body into rhythmic convulsions via frantic sonic power. Pile on even more guitar with Heavy Hand, local upstarts who have been gaining momentum lately sharing bills (and members) with the best local punk bands. And welcome special out of town guests Nervous Curtains, noisy Texans with a propulsive, forbidding sound that should translate to powerful live show.
Also tonight, you could venture down to the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center for an evening of adventurous world music from Rupa & The April Fishes. The San Francisco group draws influences from its hometown as well as all over the globe, with songs composed in multiple languages and instrumental influences from India, Africa and Latin America, to name a few. It’s a far cry from the bland, groove-based cliché that the term “world music” has come to signify; the group’s principal member, Rupa Marya, sings with a quirky, robust passion and an astounding ability to mold her sound to the various stylistic changes in the music. Most often, projects this ambitious come off as phony, but these tunes are authentically folky, catchy and expertly played. It’s tough to imagine this show not being wildly entertaining.
Where to begin with Milwaukee Day? For starters, you could head to The Hotel Foster at 6 p.m. to watch a few homegrown films. Then you’ve got the option of procuring a wristband that gets you into both Cactus Club and Club Garibaldi (or just one or the other, of course), the kitty-corner Bay View clubs that each feature fantastic lineups Saturday starting at 7. At Club G, it’s Sat. Nite Duets, Northless and a can’t-miss appearance by Nashville epic metal/rockabilly hybrid Across Tundras; at Cactus you can check out Absolutely, Slow Walker and frequent visitors to Milwaukee, Seattle’s The Cave Singers. But back in Riverwest at the Public House, Altos (easily one of the city’s best live bands) are playing with another impossible-to-categorize collective, Brooklyn’s In One Wind. A few blocks away, The Hussy (hey, they’re from Madison, but still!) will play Quarters, along with Trent Fox And The Tenants. Or, just up the road, it’s The Get Down at Mad Planet, and you can bet the city’s most reliable dance party will be extra juicy on this night! Of course, you can’t go wrong with Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, who will enliven the swanky confines of Shank Hall. Heck, even if you’re not feelin’ live music, you should get your butt down to the U.S. Cellular Arena for the next thrilling bout in the Brew City Bruisers roller derby season! *Pant, pant* Don’t ya just love this city? Now get out and support the local artists that make it great!
We know that sometimes you gotta eschew the local scene for national touring acts, though. So if you haven’t had your fill of heroic guitar wizardry lately, you could go to The Rave Saturday night to catch Buckethead. The mysterious masked wonder always puts on a fantastic show, and his abilities on guitar are nothing short of astounding, especially considering the fact that he was raised by chickens. He’s currently touring as a joint venture with That 1 Guy, an apt stage name for a dude who invented the oddball instrument that he plays, sort of an electric standup bass/synth conglomeration that he calls the Magic Pipe. It’ll be a weird and wild night of music that may or may not feature displays of martial arts skills and/or toy giveaways.
Weekends start really early in Milwaukee lately, thanks in large part to Juniper Tar’s month-long Wednesday residency at The Hotel Foster. April 18th is (sadly!) the final night of the run, and in case you haven’t heard, these shows have been something special. Each night has been a very unique experience, with different special guests gracing the stage with and without the headliners, and of course, a rousing encore of “I Shall Be Released” every week. This finale will be a barn-burner, featuring Shane Hochstetler of Call Me Lightning, BJ Seidel of Decibully and Trapper Schoepp, and we’re guessing there could be even more surprises in store. So get there early, grab one of Foster’s fancy cocktails and settle in for an amazing night of collaborative Milwaukee music.
Otherwise, Manhattan’s Cults are coming to Turner Hall Ballroom on Wednesday night as well. If it’s still possible for a band to ride a wave of internet buzz in an era when internet buzz is all there is, Cults are the current phenoms: the hyped Bandcamp debut EP, the “best new music” tag at Pitchfork, hitting the All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals, contributing to the Red Hot charity albums, and so on. Essentially a duo, the group adds a few members on tour for a full-on indie rock assault, so catch ‘em while they’re hot.