words by Cal Roach
We’re back! Did you miss us?? With as much amazing stuff as there is going on this weekend, we needed a week off to prepare! So hold onto your hats, ‘cause we only have room to mention a selection of events this weekend, even though there are at least a half-dozen great shows going on Saturday night alone. Summer might be over with, but the plethora of nightlife (and, heck, day life too!) never ceases in the Brew City. Read on for plenty of indoor/outdoor fun over the coming several days and nights.
Starting with tonight (Friday): You might remember a little band called Juniper Tar and its month-long residency at Hotel Foster back in April? One of the many guests who joined the band onstage at those awesome shows was Andrew Jambura of Sat. Nite Duets, and our fingers are crossed for another similar collaboration at Riverwest Public House tonight as the two bands join up on the same bill. You’ll get the full range of emotion that the broad spectrum of Americana/rock and roll can express between the pair, undoubtedly two of the best such groups our city has yet produced. Remember when this place was a dingy hole called Riverwest Commons? Well, it’s a little more inviting nowadays, in case you haven’t noticed, and who knows? You might even decide to become a member! Stop in and find out.
Head west a bit to The Rave if you’re more in the mood for some complicated heavy music. Seattle’s Minus The Bear isn’t metal by any stretch, but the band does have some appeal in those circles due to its proclivity towards turn-on-a-dime changes in style and time signature, and although the group’s sound continues to get polished up with time, there’s still raw rock power behind it. Cursive plays music along very similar lines, but rougher around the edges and with more lyrical bite, riding closer to the punk side than the metal. Opening this show will be Caspian, the heaviest band on the bill. Every once in a while, someone’s got to come along and prove that Mogwai-style post-rock isn’t a completely exhausted endeavor where everyone except Mogwai is concerned, and Caspian is the latest entry into those sweepstakes, playing grand, epic instrumentals without being complete copycats.
Sometimes a gimmick is just a gimmick, and sometimes it’s a legitimate part of the show. The jury’s out on the big rabbit head and likelihood of partial nudity when Nobunny comes to town; it’s probably something you’ll have to decide for yourself when you see this guy in person tonight at the Miramar Theatre, but that description already got your attention, eh? Punk rock ain’t about fancy musicianship anyway, right? It grew out of a desperate need to piss off old people, so whoever’s keeping loud, offensive music alive by whatever means necessary, that’s a good thing, right? Joining Nobunny on tour are Bad Sports out of Denton, TX (“The Home Of Happiness”); also appearing tonight will be Cozy out of Minnesota and Wisconsin’s own Static Eyes, with in-between music courtesy of The Get Drunk DJs.
It looks to be a lovely weekend, and you’re thinking to yourself, “Y’know, I still haven’t made it out for one of those concert cruises; those sure sound like fun…” Fear not; you haven’t missed the boat! (groan) Saturday night you can hop onboard The Vista King and float out into Lake Michigan, where you’ll enjoy the final performance of the season, which happens to feature celebrated instrumental rock band Collections of Colonies Of Bees! The veritable Milwaukee institution has gone through more stylistic changes over the years than just about any band we can think of, and there’s no telling what’s on the horizon, but one thing’s for sure: you need to see CoCoB’s live to get the full effect of what they’re all about at any given time, which lately has been to pump out anthemic feel-good rock and roll jams.
“Well, that’s great for the evening,” you’re thinking to yourself, “but what about during the day Saturday?” Relax–Global Union starts at noon! Yep, the seventh annual edition of Milwaukee’s world music festival has been whittled down to a single day this year, so get down to Humboldt Park early if you want to get all you can out of this wide-ranging musical gathering. Playing at 12:30, it’s New Orleans’ Panorama Jazz Band, putting a unique twist on their city’s usual fare with elements of Eastern European and Latin American folk. Next up is Tunisian singer/songwriter/genre-masher-upper MC Rai, who might shift from soft melodic ballads to booty-shakin’ middle-eastern dance beats at the drop of a hat. At 3:30, it’s Rana Santacruz, folky multi-instrumentalist out of New York (by way of Mexico City), and topping the bill at 5 is Swedish hip hop/swing band (go ahead — read that again; it comes directly from their official web page!) Movits! The exclamation point is part of their name; you’ll have to see them play to decide whether it’s deserved. This whole shebang is free so you’d be silly not to check out this crazy lineup of music and broaden your horizon a bit.
There’s another big party happening Saturday in Riverwest as well: it’s the Do414 One Year Anniversary Party! That’s right, the what-to-do-in-Milwaukee website turns one year old with a pretty ridiculous lineup of awesome music and even standup comedy courtesy of Ryan Holman! It’s all happening at Mad Planet starting at 9, and with all these acts we’re guessing it’ll be pushing bar time when it’s all over with. You’ve got The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! You’ve got Catacombz. You’ve got Kane Place Record Club. You’ve got Worrier. Everybody knows these are some of our fair city’s most exciting live acts, and they’ll each get only a brief time slot so they’ll probably be looking to pack as much punch into their sets as humanly possible. We think this could be one of those huge bang-for-your-buck events that will leave your head spinning.
For the past many years, Shank Hall hasn’t exactly been a haven for super loud, distorted rock and roll, but that’s about to change in the coming weeks, apparently, as Big Business rolls into town next Tuesday and makes Shank its unlikely destination. We’re guessing there won’t be tables and chairs set up for this one; you might have flashbacks to the old days when this room was a burnt-out hole in the wall where punk bands would draw a few handfuls of hoodied skateboard kids on weeknights. Okay, maybe not, but at least there’s a decent selection of beers nowadays, right? Last time Big Business was in town it was as part of The Melvins, but this band is downright badass on its own as well, a four-man wrecking crew of colossal drums and walls of distorted, chugging guitars, not scary-heavy but about as massive a sound as you can imagine. Also playing: Gay Witch Abortion.