words by Cal Roach
You’ve got a long weekend ahead of you, folks! Unless you’ve got one of those unfair jobs where you have to work on weekends and/or holidays, that is. But one way or another, you’re going to take advantage of the Labor Day vacation, aren’t you? Because it would be really silly of you to pass up all the amazing stuff going on this weekend in Milwaukee if you’re going to be around. And if you’re not, well, you’re hopefully off doing something fun, because otherwise you are really missing out. Feel free to read on for some suggestions.
Bust out those earplugs and head down to Cactus Club tonight (Friday) if you’re into metal; that’s where Jucifer will be playing. Did we mention anything about earplugs? This husband/wife duo has a reputation for being one of the loudest acts on the planet, and they have the massive wall of amps to justify it. The couple tours pretty much constantly, so you can expect some well-honed musical chops amidst the massive wall of sludge, doom, death, black, and pretty much any other metal style you can think of besides nu. Plus, local post-metal heroes Maidens have announced this night as their final show, so it’ll be bittersweet but you’d be well advised to catch ‘em while you can. Also playing: Ellis.
Head north and west to The Uptowner for ear-splitting noise of a different sort; Milwaukee’s own Catacombz make their triumphant return from a couple weeks on tour supporting their new album, Mother Tongue 2. We’ve yet to hear a single negative opinion of this record, nor, for that matter, this band’s live show; it’s not metal, not punk, definitely based in lots and lots of guitar but also in propulsive grooves and walls of distortion, sort of like post-rock meets krautrock. But there are also strong jazzy and funky elements on the new album, so really, your guess is as good as ours as to exactly what kind of mixture of sounds you’re going to get at this show, but it’s going to be awesome.
Saturday night, there’s a show that was somehow kept under wraps until SOME people had already made plans to skip town for Labor Day weekend, announced only last week, perhaps because the good folks at Linneman’s knew if they announced it well in advance, nobody would leave town and everyone would try to cram into the little Riverwest Inn to catch Milwaukee’s conquering hero Chris Porterfield with his band, Field Report, for the pre-release party of its self-titled debut album. Yep–the band that’s been on tour with Counting Crows and opening for Emmylou Harris. Yep–the album that’s been getting accolades all across the board in local and international publications alike. Pretty sure Chris has a connection to some other famous Wisconsin troubadour too but we’re sick of that being the “in;” all it takes is one listen to discover that Porterfield’s songs stand on their own, regardless of association. Also playing: Old Earth and Aero Flynn.
There’s also another great show going on this same night: Brief Candles, Milwaukee’s best shoegaze pop band and indeed, one of the best anywhere, will play what could surely be considered one of their home venues, the Cactus Club. The little room is perfectly suited for the band’s catchy rock and roll nuggets spliced with judicious dollops of mind-bending noise. If you need a sneak preview, check out the band’s 2011 album Fractured Days; at least a couple tunes will grab you right away, but the whole album gets better and better as you penetrate more sonic layers. The high-caliber lineup also includes Technicolor Teeth, whose new Teenage Pagans album fits right alongside the Candles’ canon. Also playing: Rosco (Sterling Roswell from Spacemen 3, fyi) and The Volta Sound.
For a complete change of pace, check out one of Milwaukee’s most intriguing rising stars, Present Music, performing its new piece, Change, Saturday night at Vogel Hall (in the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts). The city’s foremost bastion of new music (aka contemporary classical) promises a performance both steeped in the history of the style and forward-thinking, providing a glimpse into the direction(s) the group will be heading in over the next year or so. Lest you be afraid of some fuddy-duddy notion of classical music, we promise there will even be guitars and drums for your brain to latch onto. No, it’s not rock and roll, but even if you’re not familiar with the concept–especially if you’re not familiar–this is your best opportunity yet to get a foot in the door for an appreciation of something different and vital to the local music scene.
The weather looks great for Sunday, but just in case, there are things you can do indoors as well, like head over to the UWM Union Theatre for an interesting pairing of popular recent films. First up at 6 p.m., it’s the teen-novel-phenomenon known as The Hunger Games in its first cinematic installment; how much ya wanna bet they turn the final book into like five movies? We won’t guarantee that you’ll spiral into a passionate obsession with the sci-fi mythology, but we won’t deny the possibility, either. Then at 9, it’s the latest hyper-self-aware horror flick, destined to make Scream seem quaint (or did it already?), pop culture lightning rod Joss Whedon’s The Cabin In The Woods. It sounds gimmicky, and anyone familiar with Whedon’s work will instinctively brace for overbearing camp, but critics and audiences alike seem to have fallen for this movie, and that’s about all we probably should say about it.
You’ve probably heard the unfortunate news about Green Gallery West, the old Riverwest building on Center Street that burned down several weeks ago, destroying oodles of irreplaceable artwork. Well, the Green Gallery carries on nevertheless (the East location is on Farwell), and the venerable neighborhood punk rock bar Circle A Café is holding a benefit for the organization on Sunday, headlined by none other than the city’s leading art-scuzz-popsters Sat. Nite Duets. You don’t need a cause to go out and see this band, as its growing legions of followers will show you as they’re screaming along to their favorite lo-fi anthems and you find yourself getting caught up in the spirit of things. These guys just write weirdly infectious songs that get you dancing all disjointedly, and you’ll probably end up sleeping in an odd position and be sore on Monday but it will be worth it. Also appearing: Sarah Luther and PI.
After a nice long, relaxing weekend, all you want to do is keep the illusion of not going back to work alive as long as possible, right? We think your best bet on Monday, then, is to mosey on over to Y-Not III for some loud-ass rock music courtesy of IfIHadAHifi. A couple beers and a couple spastic songs into this band’s set and you won’t even remember what you do for a living. Plus, the earplugs will totally mess with your sense of equilibrium; maybe you’ll muster up the courage to call in sick on Tuesday and keep the weekend going! Joining in the noisy mayhem: Seattle’s Monogamy Party, a band that has “Party” right in its name! Also playing: Milwaukee’s own Bicentennial Rub (no relation to the poultry seasoning).