words by Cal Roach
Excitement is building here at WMSE this week. Our spring pledge drive is just around the corner, so we’re in full pre-drive mode. Plus, we just saw the announcement of this year’s Cascio Interstate Music Groove Stage at Summerfest, featuring (as always) a ton of amazing local talent, and we’re pleased as pudding to be supporting this thing! If you’ve been to the Groove Stage in years past, you already know it’s the happenin’ party of the whole fest every day and night, and your best shot at discovering awesome music you’ve never heard before, so instead of watching that crappy cover band in between stuff you really want to see, drift over to where the real music happens! Check out the (mostly) full lineup here, and check out what’s happening around town in the near future below.
If you’ve been following along AT ALL lately, you have probably already marked tonight (Friday) down on your calendar as Juniper Tar’s record release party at Turner Hall Ballroom. Good for you! If not, where have you been?? Expect a lively set of J-Tar interspersed with mini-sets by other great local artists–Sat. Nite Duets, Black Eagle Child, and Paul Cebar, just to name a few–and a big group singalong near the end. After all, it is called “The First Waltz” (R.I.P. Levon Helm!). One thing you might not have realized is that this is also an album release party for opening act Surgeons In Heat! Chances are pretty good that if you get here on time, you’ll walk out at the end of the night with two shiny new records under your arm, ‘cause both of these bands put on a very convincing live show.
Also happening tonight (and Saturday as well): Remember Mystery Science Theater 3000? For you youngsters, that was a TV show featuring a gently sarcastic fellow named Joel Hodgson and a couple of sidekick robots who would essentially just sit and watch awful old sci-fi b-movies and crack wise at the absurdities contained therein. The show is long gone, but Hodgson has resurrected the format as Cinematic Titanic, and the traveling event comes to the Pabst Theater this weekend for a live performance. You don’t have to be a trekkie to enjoy this stuff; it’s full-on hilarity from start to finish, but without the need for sex and vomit jokes–imagine that!
Happening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday: the second annual WMSE Buy Local Bazaar, the perfect place to shop for, um, Mother’s Day? Father’s Day? Pretty much anybody’s birthday? Or, hell, be selfish! Check out the event’s Facebook page for the full list of vendors; it’s a doozy! You can get everything from coffee to blankets to chocolate to soap and of course, lots and lots of music, all made right here in MKE. Even if you’re just shopping for yourself, you can feel good about the fact that you’re doing your civic duty by supporting local businesses. Be forewarned: Some of these pop-up shops will be picked over quickly, so get to the MSOE’s Kern Center early!
You’ve heard him on the WMSE airwaves. You’ve seen him out and about at station events and shows. But how well do you really know Tom Crawford? No matter what answer you gave, we’ll wager you’ll learn even more if you come to this special edition of Terminal Milwaukee: The Crawford/Ex Fabula Project. Tom on a stage telling stories about his life is more than enough entertainment for an evening, but for this grand-finale event, the Alverno Presents folks are throwing in the kitchen sink: “bagpipers, accordion players, punk rockers, and gospel singers” will all be on hand to help bolster the celebratory atmosphere as TC regales you with tall tales from his illustrious Brew City life. There has never been, nor is there likely ever to be, an event quite like this one, folks.
Then there’s always, y’know, live music! If, like a lot of heartbroken fans, you didn’t get tickets to the extremely-sold-out Florence And The Machine show happening Saturday night at the Rave (or, if you couldn’t care less), you could do a lot worse than heading over to Cactus Club instead, where Kansas City’s The Life And Times bring their slightly psychedelic alt-rock attack to the stage. Joining them will be Milwaukee’s own indie-rock-meets-experimental-electronics act Sleepcomesdown, as well as venerable noise-rock scene stalwarts Disguised As Birds (a must-see live act).
Tuesdays are made for rockin’ (You like that slogan? We just made that up.), and it’s tough to think of a better old-school, hard-rockin’ time than going to Turner Hall Ballroom to see the Melvins. You know, the band that has one of the best punk/metal drummers of all time but decided to add another drummer anyway? Yep, the current incarnation of the band features additional drummer Coady Willis and bassist Jared Warren, the principle members of Big Business, and if you think the Melvins had a huge sound before, just imagine that with another drummer. Plus, hardcore/noise pioneers Unsane will be opening the show, so again, like we always tell you, BRING YOUR EARPLUGS.
If you missed out on the spacey rock stylings of Moss Folk when they played Cactus Club last weekend, never fear: they’ll be back in that very same room next Wednesday, opening up for the similarly psychedelic San Francisco band Sleepy Sun. The band’s new album, Spine Hits, dropped just a couple of weeks ago; expect long, slow, heavy jams bordering on stoner rock, but with the added twist of surprisingly melodic vocals. Add hints of rockabilly and creepy alt-country, tribal rhythms and definite prog-rock tendencies, and you’ve got a very original mixture of styles. Also playing: Milwaukee’s Castle Thunder.
Thursday night at Linneman’s, get ready for another installment of International Pop Overthrow. We’re thinking maybe “Overthrow” because of the traveling showcase’s emphasis on “power” pop? Okay, fine; that’s a stretch! Buckle in for three days of catchy hooks, tight vocal harmonies and clanging guitars at the ol’ Riverwest Inn. Opening night will feature three of the city’s best bands in this category: Trolley, who put out the killer Things That Shine And Glow in December; Certain Stars, who just released The Great Destroyer in March; and Great Lake Drifters, whose excellent debut EP For Your Consideration hit Bandcamp as a free download in January. Also playing: Aaron Fox & The Reliables, The German Art Students, and Andy Griffiths.