words by Cal Roach
Now that it’s December, you probably figure there’s not much going on in frigid Mil-town; think again. Now is your chance to save some dough but still see lots of great music by going to cheap local shows.
Don’t touch that dial! At 2:15 p.m. Waters will be in the studio for two or three acoustic tunes and a bit of chit-chat. They open for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Turner Hall tonight. Remember when “blogosphere” was a new, clever term, and you suddenly heard about cool, unknown bands just because of internet buzz? That was 2005, when CYHSY’s self-titled debut was a virtual overnight sensation. Despite the inevitable backlash that followed, the band has managed to sustain a pretty solid career in indie rock; its third album, Hysterical, came out in September. Get there early for Milwaukee’s own Sat. Nite Duets. Seriously.
You’ve got some tough choices ahead of you for tonight, for Cactus Club has been celebrating its 15th anniversary for several weeks now and the second-to-last installment features Chicago’s instrumental metal trio Russian Circles, whose new album Empros is one of the must-hear albums of 2011. Another one is In And Out Of Youth And Lightness by Young Widows, Louisville’s premier post-hardcore heroes, who also happen to be playing this very same show. If you like loud guitars, creative riffs and some of the most unique heavy rock and roll out there, this show is for you.
If you missed out on last weekend’s Art Vs. Craft event–or even if you didn’t–you’re in luck, because there’s another killer buy-local event on Saturday at Sweetwater Organics. It’s the second-annual Hover Craft, a one-day marketplace for all sorts of Milwaukee businesses to sell you their unique goodies. Check out this page for a list of vendors and all the details. Also, keep in mind that there’s an official afterparty at Frank’s Power Plant, featuring Milwaukee’s newest shoegaze/fuzzpop band Technicolor Teeth and a couple of groups from Indiana, The Facts Machine and Eric & The Happy Thoughts.
Just a few blocks away, Cactus Club is hosting another great live band, White Rabbits. The band’s rich vocal harmonies and high-energy indie pop sound good on record, but their stage presence and raucous guitar/piano/dual drum attack is a force to be reckoned with in the live setting. The music is a rollicking good time, not without its drama but the aim is to get bodies moving and put smiles on faces. Also playing: ARMS, the side project of Harlem Shakes’ Todd Goldstein, now his main band following the Shakes’ unfortunate demise.
Sunday is another local holiday shopping opportunity, as Lakefront Brewery’s Palm Garden hosts the Buy Local Gift Fair (noon to 4 p.m.). This one’s less of a specifically artsy-craftsy thing, with a wider variety of products: food, books, musical instruments, plants, pet products, and yes, arts and crafts. Go here for a vendor list and details, and don’t forget: free brewery tours during the event!
Another great time to tune into WMSE is Tuesday evenings at 8, when a different Milwaukee artist comes into the studio to play live for a half hour or so. It’s called…wait for it…Local/Live. And you don’t want to miss the next one (12/6), when heavy post-rock combo Wereworm will inspire you to crank your stereo to 11. Also, in case you missed it: Local Live is in danger, as the in-house recording equipment is about to collapse in a useless heap. You can help, and get really cool stuff in the process, by donating to WMSE’s Kickstarter program. Please donate what you can today!