words by Cal Roach
Wow, wasn’t that pledge drive a blast?? Just think, some people are used to some of those agonizingly boring, accusatory pledge drives where the stern voices who give you no opportunity to call them any other time try to make you feel guilty about listening and not giving them money, and then make you feel like they’re not even interested unless you’re talking about hundreds of dollars. That ain’t the way on WMSE; instead, the DJs come up with awesome theme shows and get all riled up and excited and overflow with good humor and gratitude no matter what piddly amount of dollars you can cough up for the cause. That’s called making you feel like you’re a part of it, which of course you are! WMSE listeners always do an amazing job keeping the station alive and kicking. Bravo. Now, onto other matters: what’s happening in Milwaukee for the next handful of days! Read on…
It’s that time of year again: when Linneman’s hosts the cool tribute shows saluting the great songwriters of rock history. Tonight (Friday) is the first of the bunch, a big ol’ love letter to Neil Young that they like to call Kneel To Neil. The cranky Canadian has released two full albums this year (the latest one, Psychedelic Pill, is a double!), so participants have more tunes to draw from than ever. Those participants include The Championship, Lisa Ridgely & The Fainting Room, Jason Mohr of Juniper Tar, Old Earth, Chris DeMay and many more, all leading lights in that whole folk-rock thing Milwaukee has been so good at lately. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. so get there early, and feel good about yourself while ya do it; proceeds from the show benefit your old pals at WMSE as well as the Bridge School.
One guy who’s been getting a lot of airplay on WMSE this year is King Tuff, so you can bet a lot of folks have been pretty pumped for his show, which is finally happening tonight at Cactus Club. Kyle Thomas has made his living bouncing between stoner metal (with J Mascis in Witch) and indie pop (Happy Birthday), but for his “solo” act he fits squarely in the middle of those extremes with regular, no-frills rock and roll, pretty much garage style, really exuberant and catchy as heck. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to slap the next person who tries to tell you rock and roll is dead. Joining Tuff will be Cleveland’s Gap Dream, and Milwaukee’s Trent Fox & The Tenants.
Speaking of rock and roll not being dead: Saturday night, Supersuckers are coming back to Club Garibaldi. In a world full of prefixes and genre cross-pollination, there’s not even a spare adjective to describe the style of music these guys play. It’s the always-charming stage presence of Eddie Spaghetti and guitars, guitars, guitars. The band has been around since 1988 and, kind of like AC/DC, their sound has scarcely changed, aside from the occasional foray into country music. They haven’t put out an album since 2008, but who cares? If anybody benefits from the who-buys-albums-any-more modern attitude, it’s these guys, ‘cause they just tour nonstop and don’t really lose many fans because they are so reliably fun to see live, the perfect stress reliever after a long week. Also playing: The Black Saints and Skinny Jim & The Number 9 Blacktops
It’s time to put on your headbanging shoes Saturday! It’s November Coming Fire Fest, spread out over three Riverwest venues starting “shortly after 6” at The Uptowner, continuing on at Quarters around 6:30 p.m. and climaxing at (of all places!) at Stonefly from 9 p.m.ish until whenever it’s done. As the name indicates, we’re talking about aggressive music (hey, the event is being presented by WMSE’s own Team Metal, so you know you can count on loud, vicious guitars and screaming). Two of the most punishing live bands Milwaukee has ever known, Burning Sons and Northless, highlight the Stonefly bill; these are bands that could to convert wimps into metalheads with one performance. Other highlights include Deiphago, veteran black/death metal band from the Phillipines; Michigan doom/stoner-rock combo Beast In The Field; Milwaukee’s Shroud Of Despondency, part of the burgeoning folk/black metal movement; the list goes on, and you can find the whole list here. There’s only one thing left to say, folks: Bring earplugs!
Otherwise, both Linneman’s and Cactus Club have terrific shows lined up again Saturday night, bands we mention a lot because, well, they rule. At Linneman’s it’s the classic pairing of spazz-rock superstars The Fatty Acids and Sat. Nite Duets, who we keep telling you are two of the best live bands in the city and we’re not joking. This show is in celebration of a new split 7” (which also features Dinosaur Feathers and Radical Dads) called “Torrential Zen.” Then at Cactus it’s perennial punk pranksters Crappy Dracula, that band that you figure is probably just some goofy joke band but then you listen to their music or see them live and you realize they’re actually a kick-ass rock band. Also playing: Little Otik and Heavy Hand, both of whom are celebrating record releases of their own!
ALSO playing Saturday, IF they can find a room to play in (!): The Appleseed Cast. Goodness knows why, but this band is doing something called a Living Room Tour, and apparently has nowhere set in stone for Milwaukee at this point! And seriously, this band is amazing; it’s like the perfect cross between old-school emo and post-rock, a band that seemed poised for greatness in the late 90s and for whatever reason never caught on big time, but always phenomenal as a live act. Somebody call ‘em up and invite ‘em into your home! You can presumably keep up to date with the proceedings here; let’s hope this show actually happens.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Kickstarter by now? The little project has seen its share of controversy lately, what with artists begging for money and then not being too forthcoming with what they’re actually doing with said money, and the latest firestorm had Amanda Palmer (either currently or formerly of The Dresden Dolls; we’re not sure if that’s still a band) at its center. The cabaret-punk firebrand sometimes seems to care more about notoriety than music, even though the Dolls were one of the most exciting live bands in the world at one point, but this show Sunday at Turner Hall Ballroom ought to be worth checking out if only out of curiosity. Her new album with The Grand Theft Orchestra, Theatre Is Evil, is all over the place, and seems virtually impossible for such an ostensibly DIY chick to pull off live, but sometimes stripping away the big production can reveal how good the songs are at their core. This should be interesting.