words by Cal Roach
‘Tis the season of good eatin!’ We know you probably just gorged yourself on fabulous food for Mardi Gras, and what would St. Patrick’s Day be without an epic feast? But to tide you over until the 17th, might we humbly remind you of WMSE’s Tenth Annual Rockabilly Chili Contest? It’s coming up on Sunday from 11 to 4 at the MSOE Kern Center, and it’s a can’t-miss event. Listen to great tunes courtesy of our own Jonny Z and Dietrich, tip back a Milwaukee Brewing Company brew, sample chilis of all shapes and colors from 46 local vendors, and vote for your favorites; how could that not be awesome?
We’d advise you to skip breakfast if you want to make the most of this event.
Prepare for voting in the “Best Heat” category tonight (Friday), as The Reverend Horton Heat brings his always-scorching rockabilly-on-steroids to the Miramar Theater. If this isn’t perfect timing, we don’t know what is! The Reverend’s trio (which he conveniently named after himself) has been doing this in various personnel arrangements since 1985, and it’s been one of the most reliably electrifying shows around for pretty much that whole time. Here’s hoping the Miramar staff can make a decent martini! Also playing: Larry And His Flask and Goddamn Gallows.
Did you happen to catch Kane Place Record Club on WMSE’s Local Live segment last week? If not, you can always hear it via our online archive. If you did hear it, you already know that this is a band that will get you dancin’, even if it’s just blasting out of the iHome in your kitchen. The guys bring their back-to-basics rock and roll to Stonefly Brewing Company tonight, opening for Winnipeg’s premier garage-pop duo Imaginary Cities.
Another fun option for either Friday or Saturday (or both!) is The Really Funny Horny Goat International Short Film Festival. The name of the fest alone indicates an honor at least as prestigious as an Oscar, wouldn’t you say? Seriously, though, these are award-winning shorts from around the world, and you can drink beer while you watch them! Not convinced? How about if we throw in Vee Valentine from Brew City Bombshells Burlesque? How about 3rd Coast Hoopers and Spinners? Okay, now it’s a festival.
Get ready for blistering walls of guitar effects Saturday night at Cactus Club. Brief Candles embody a very distinct Midwestern brand of loud, distorted pop, and they’re one of Milwaukee’s most iconic bands. We’ve never known them to put on a bad show; it’s that perfect blend of tight songcraft and ear-splitting noise. Joining them will be Northfield, MN’s Gospel Gossip, frequent visitors to Milwaukee and definitely musical comrades of Brief Candles. And that’s not all: the recently prolific but mysterious Scrimshaw is also on the bill, as well as Minneapolis’s Pony Trash.
But let’s say you’re in the mood for a trip down memory lane, all the way back to the 70s when life was simpler and/or you weren’t born yet. Your options for Saturday, then, are Rodger Hodgson at The Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi, who is guaranteed to bust out several of your favorite Supertramp nuggets as well as tunes from his three solo albums (also Sunday and Monday), or Styx at the Bradley Center. Wait a minute, Styx at the Bradley Center?? Yep, Tommy Shaw and company have amassed a surprisingly large horde of diehard supporters over their 30-plus-year career, and they’re still churning out poppy prog records to this day (at least, as of 2009). Can you resist this opportunity to rock out to “Come Sail Away” and “Mr. Roboto” in the same night? Well, can you??
On Sunday, when you wake up out of your chili coma around 7 p.m., tune in to WMSE to hear an interview with Chris Burns of Unruly Music. He’ll be discussing the organization’s upcoming Spring 2012 Festival, which begins on Thursday, March 8 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. There are no hard-and-fast stylistic rules for Unruly Music, but you can bet that none of the performances will be the kind of stuff you might hear on commercial radio. Night one brings Minneapolis artist Patti Cudd (of Zeitgeist) to town for an evening of percussion spliced with electronics.
Wednesday night at the Pabst Theater you can catch Gomez, that weird British band that doesn’t sound even slightly British. There are definite prog inflections, and certainly elements of anthemic pop, but there’s no denying the heavy American-roots basis for Gomez’s music. But as evidenced by the band’s spot-on cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,” UK bands have been doing this sort of thing for several decades with plenty of success. Plus, in honor of Gomez’s fifteenth year of touring, the band is giving fans the option to help pick the setlist! Opening the show: Hey Rosetta! (their exclamation point, not ours)