words by Cal Roach
Good luck deciding what to do this weekend, Milwaukee. As usual, you’re going to want to be in several places at once. It all starts with Friday, and if you’re reading this in the early afternoon, QUICK! Turn on WMSE (why weren’t you already listening??). At 12:30, Tomás Kubínek, “Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible,” will be on the air to talk about…something or other. Then at 2 p.m. Kevin Russell from country/bluegrass rebel outfit The Gourds will be doing a special live solo acoustic set. If you like what you hear, why not head to the cozy environs of Shank Hall tonight to check out the full band live?
Tonight is also night one of two consecutive Riverside Theater shows by The Avett Brothers. This band is guaranteed to take you on an eclectic journey through the various twists and turns of folk, rock and Americana. They’re upbeat and punk-y one minute, mellow and sentimental the next, but not cheesy; these guys have written some seriously killer lyrics, and they’re capable of bowling you over, live. Tickets are scarce, so good luck!
As fate would have it, there is another two-night event going on in Milwaukee this weekend: the Seizure Chicken Fall Festival, which starts tonight at Cactus Club. Hopefully most of you are aware of the local music blog that this fest is named after, so you probably suspected this would be all about great MKE bands. The two-night event is co-presented by both Seizure Chicken and Battlecry Milwaukee and tonight’s lineup features pop quasi-supergroup Castle Thunder (featuring members of The Fatty Acids and Faux Fir), shoegazers Brief Candles (whose latest album, Fractured Days, is one of the best local releases of the year), and Kane Place Record Club, one of the most exciting new live bands in the city. Also playing — Chicago’s Secret Colours.
As if that weren’t enough, Studio 200 is hosting a benefit for WMSE starting at 10 p.m., and it’s the stuff late-night dreams are made of: for the first time ever, all four of the station’s on-air EDM DJs will be spinning at one show! That’s John Goelzer (BTS.WRKNG), Steven K (Late Night Beat Generation), Asche (Industrial Noise Core) and Jayx (Streamline) combining forces for the ultimate all-night party. If you like to dance, you’d be a fool to miss this. Actually, the only foolhardy thing to do tonight would be to stay home!
Once you’ve recovered from Friday night, keep in mind it’s only Saturday, which means night two of the aforementioned Seizure Chicken fest at Cactus. This one also promises to be stellar, more beat-driven as opposed to the rock-centric lineup of the first night. You’ve got Canopies, Milwaukee’s freshest new dance-pop outfit (click here to check out the debut EP); Prophetic, a man whose name is synonymous with Milwaukee hip-hop; Golden Coins, another new, weird group with a debut EP available to check out at their Bandcamp page; and Greatest Lakes, who will warm you up with their impressive vocal harmonies and minimalist folk-rock tunes.
Also happening Saturday: husband/wife indie poppers Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner will play Turner Hall Ballroom as Mates Of State. From that description, you might think precious and/or boring songs about domestic life, but you’d be wrong; all reports indicate wildly unpredictable and raucous performances of hyper-paced, frenetically eclectic tunes — recommended especially if you’re really into the whole two-person band thing. New Orleans’ excellent Generationals will be opening the show.
The fun doesn’t stop this weekend, so make your way to (or back to) Cactus Club on Sunday to check out the enchanting Yellow Ostrich, another local group focused on precise vocal harmonies and oozing pop hooks. It’s impossible to say which set will be the most impressive on this night, though, as you’ll also see Conrad Plymouth, whose debut EP was one of last year’s best releases, a dynamic folk-rock masterpiece, and Jeanna Salzer Trio, who knocked the socks off everybody who saw their Summerfest set this year.
Since Wednesday is more like Friday this coming week, prepare yourself for overeating with the family by hitting the Made In Milwaukee Rain Check event at Turner Hall. Since the Labor Day event was hampered somewhat by weather, the organizers decided to hold an indoor reprise featuring many of the same artists. The full lineup literally has something for everyone; highlights include Group Of The Altos, the massive, impossible-to-categorize band that keeps getting better every show; beloved straight-ahead rockers The Delta Routine; and a solo performance by Mark Waldoch of The Celebrated Workingman. Plus, artists Dwellephant, CM Thiede and others will be creating in the flesh, and at least a dozen more local artists and craftspeople will be showing their wares. This is your chance to actually get into the upstairs at Turner! Haven’t you always wondered what goes on up there? This event is not to be missed, folks!