words by Erin Wolf
Memorial. Day. Weekend. It’s on the lips and in the hearts of every office laborer and general toil-er today, and while many of you have already flown the workplace coop, some of you are ruffling your feathers in anticipation of the annual gateway to summer. Prepare yourselves for sunburns, grill burns or a George Burns marathon (if you are an inside type) and fire up the old mobile device and take us along as we give you a list in true holiday weekend style, that is neither here, nor there, loose and completely disposable. Prepare thyself.
Baseball isn’t the same without the Great Outdoors involved and The Pabst Theatre and Newaukee take that to new levels in Milwaukee with their first-ever, combined effort, the Downtown Baseball Block Party. It’s exactly like what it sounds — just remember that the ‘block’ involved probably isn’t your particular block. The intersection of 4th and Wisconsin (across from the Hilton and the Convention Center), and the adjoining parking lot will take on a block-party form and the Brewers vs. the Diamondbacks game will be on, outside, under the great, wide open, free of charge. As they say, “bring your grill! bring your chairs!” That’s pretty much all you need to know, so…game on! Oh, yeah. And there’ll be tailgate games, an organ player, live music and food trucks. Game on, even more. Be there at 6 p.m.
Mark Sultan is a reinventor of dusty genres and while many musicians today are much the same (hey, Jack White!), few do it with such nonchalant deliberation. It’s clear Sultan is doing what he wants to do, musically, because there is no other way. Listen to the impassioned “I’ll Be Lovin’ You” and you’ll hear a voice that’s not living vicariously, it’s creating something personal. And although Sultan might catch slack from reviewers for a little sloppiness in sound, being a one man band is a tough thing to make completely streamlined — there’s got to be a little mess and Sultan, live, is the best way to absorb and appreciate it. His psychedelic brand of doo-wop and surf-inspired rock is impossibly catchy and while it isn’t perfect, it’s definitely a perfect mess (and that’s way more fun). Sultan plays Cactus tonight with the very awesome Jordan Davis Honey Melon and Slow Walker.
If doo-wop isn’t your idea of danceable, then head in the direction of Stonefly Brewery where Ninja Tune’s hip hop pro, Blockhead, headlines a host of great local music (adoptahighway and Plight of a Parasite) and Portland’s Big Pauper. Having worked with MC’s such as Aesop Rock, Murs, Cage and Mike Ladd, should be enough to turn heads, but Blockhead certainly holds his own ground with his thought-provoking instrumentals, having spent his years living in and getting inspired by New York City, making beats that are as pretty as they are hook-y. His latest album (and fifth for Ninja Tune) Interludes After Midnight, will be on full display tonight for the ‘Unlooped Spring Beats’ show. Expect a sonic soundtrack that will be surprising and satisfying.
Remember MELT, the electronic music series that has introduced Milwaukee to scores of local and national electronic geniuses? This Friday, MELT will be bringing you the same genius as ever, just in a different setting. Mosey on down to the Miramar Theatre on Milwaukee’s East Side, where the featured genius of the evening will be none other than Eliot Lipp, who mashes up jazz, hip hop, electronic, techno and more to create a mesmerizing mix of melody and beat. Also: Faux Noir, Haywyre & Mindspyk, The Demix, DoubleDrop, Pressboard and Horseforce.
Another question: what do Liv Mueller, Xposed 4Heads, Blackholes, Rock-A-Dials, 3XCleavers, Dominoes, 3 on Fire, Tense Experts, Sacred Order, Die Kreuzen, Lubricants, Dummy Club and St. Bernard have in common? They’re all musicians who helped to shape Milwaukee music history and this Saturday, they’ll rejoin to play Turner Hall Ballroom to serve as a reminder of where Milwaukee music has been and what it’s capable of. Catch more info, here, and here and listen back in the WMSE archives to Melissa’s interview with members of X-Cleavers and 3 on Fire and Ryan’s interview with Die Kreuzen on WMSE’s Local Lunchbox segment to let the importance of this event sink in even more. We all hope you’re in town this weekend to witness this, but if not, the organizers of the event are planning to properly document it all — both audio and video. Check back with WMSE, because we’re sure to be telling you all about where you can track it down.
Last item? Grilling. Where? You all know where you’ll be. Hopefully, it’ll involve lots of sunshine. Enjoy your weekends!