words by Cal Roach
You know how in the summertime, it seems like there’s something cool to do every night of the week? And every weekend you’ve got to choose between like eighteen different awesome shows? Well, summer came early this year–like, REALLY early–and Milwaukee has responded with great events popping up constantly. Plus, Summerfest just announced a big list of its non-Marcus Amphitheater headliners yesterday, so even though the temps are returning to somewhat normal over the next few days, don’t forget we’re still basking in the warmest March ever, and get out to see some live music in anticipation of the real summer that’s just around the corner.
It’s Friday; have you gotten yelled at enough this week or what? If not, you’ve got the option of heading to Turner Hall Ballroom to experience the unique humor/anger combination that only Henry Rollins can deliver. You never know what he might rant about, but chances are a few politicians and/or U2 will get a good lampooning during any given Rollins spoken word performance. And who knows? Maybe he’ll whip out some choice words of wisdom about what he thinks is the most awesomely bad hair metal song…ever. (Remember that VH1 show??)
Tonight at the Riverwest Public House is your next chance to catch Fahri, whose long-awaited Final Disconnect Notice LP was finished last fall and is now reportedly due in April. If you’ve perhaps caught a track or two on a Local Lunchbox over the past few months, you know to be excited. Plus, you’ll have a chance to get sweaty with a band that’s becoming a popular Riverwest staple, the fun-loving Kane Place Record Club. This might seem like an odd pairing, but the common thread is super high energy. Throw in Chicago’s Mutts and you’re in for a killer Friday night.
Keep it tuned to WMSE, for at 3:30 p.m., we welcome Acadian band Vishten into the studios on Sonia’s show, all the way from Canada — they play the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center tonight at 7:30 p.m., but first they’ll play some tunes for us (and for you, the radio listener). Check out their inspiring ‘small town session’, here, and get amped up for the energy to come!
Have you heard about WMSE’s Cover Milwaukee show? It’s our way of saying THANK YOU for supporting the Kickstarter program to fund the renovation of our in-studio recording equipment, and it’s going to feature performances from local luminaries past and present (and you can now purchase tickets to the event here). One guy who fits into both categories is our very own Paul Cebar, who will be on air at a special time tomorrow (4 p.m.) to interview singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet. Prophet brings his unique guitar style and acclaimed songs to Shank Hall Saturday night, and you can hear a sneak preview on 91.7 during this special in-studio performance.
Also on Saturday, get geared up for a good old-fashioned Wisconsin summer at the Horny Goat Hideaway’s “Tap It in the Sand” Beer and Cheese Fest! Choose from a regular or VIP ticket (which includes early entry, an appetizer buffet and free t-shirt), and get ready to for a taste-bud workout. The event will feature samplings of some of the best cheeses on Earth and a huge selection of beers from breweries across America, over 100 offerings in all! Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t make it wrong; indulge your natural cheesehead instincts with the foods and beverages that our state is known for. Fingers crossed that there’ll also be sausage involved…
You could always choose to gorge yourself on cheese and still make it out for a great show, and Frank’s Power Plant isn’t far away, either. That’s where you can catch infectious noise-rock quartet Disguised As Birds, one of Milwaukee’s most curiously under-the-radar bands, especially considering the consistent quality of their recorded output (you can now pick up a spiffy vinyl disc containing both of the group’s most recent EPs at your local record store). Get there as early as possible too, ‘cause Crappy Dracula will be there to regale you with musical and non-musical humorous tales as well as lots of kick-ass sounds emanating from guitars and drums. Also playing: Heavy Hand.
So much to do on Saturday night! We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Andrew Bird, who has put on quite a few extremely memorable and wildly different shows in Milwaukee. If you like shows where you can sing along to every word as if you’re at home with your stereo cranked, don’t go to this show; if you prefer an artist who tinkers with his songs to the point where they never sound the same from show to show, Bird is your man. Ever since his Bowl Of Fire days, he has assembled nothing but top-notch players to perform with, and even if it’s one of his largely guitar-based affairs, you can pretty much guarantee at least one mind-blowing fiddle solo. Plus, you get his new album, Break It Yourself, for free with a ticket purchase! Opening the show: Eugene Mirman.
For the second Sunday in a row, you’ll have an opportunity to catch a fanatically-adored star of stage and screen (okay, mostly screen) live and in person and not acting, as Kevin Smith brings his own one-man show to the Pabst Theater. Smith is the guy who came up with the 1994 cult classic Clerks and all those quirky, dialogue-driven, variably-successful comedies that followed in its footsteps (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, etc.), and his current tour is one of many Q&A-type jaunts he’s taken in the past several years. Smith has been known to spill his guts regarding just about any topic with refreshing honesty during these interactive storytelling sessions, so if you’re curious about the unlikely superstar auteur, you should check this out. Plus, you’ll get a free, autographed copy of his new book, Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good.
Sure, it’s on a Monday night, but it’s still pretty much a no-brainer: Fredon, New Jersey’s Delicate Steve stops by Mad Planet for a night of progressive, instrumental rock mixed with eclectic beats, all very dance-worthy and catchy as hell. We highly recommend checking out the band’s 2011 album Wondervisions, an eclectic journey through the various shades of modern pop music. If we asked you, based on that description, what local band would be the perfect opener, what would you say? We’d say The Fatty Acids, but we kind of cheated by looking at the concert schedule. Also playing: Janka Nabay.
If you’ve got nothing else going on Wednesday night–hold on, let’s make that any Wednesday night for the next month–then Hotel Foster is the place to be, as an extended celebration begins for one of the most exciting local music happenings of the year. That’s right, Juniper Tar is releasing its new album, Since Before, next month with a big blowout at Turner Hall that they’re calling “The First Waltz” (note The Band reference! There will be a quiz later.). To commemorate the event, the band is doing a month-long residency of Wednesdays at Foster, with different special guests joining them at each date, performing separately and together! This week, it’s John Sieger of Semi-Twang and Sat. Nite Duets who will ring in the inaugural show, and while it’s tough to guess which of these awesome shows might be the best, this one is pretty much a guaranteed winner.