words by Cal Roach
Happy Leonard Cohen Day everybody! We didn’t make that holiday up, y’know; feel free to celebrate however you like, but don’t count on getting another chance to see the 78-year-old living legend in Milwaukee [at the Milwaukee Theater], like, ever. You could count on one hand the people who’ve had as much influence as this guy on the American songwriters who came after him. Are you really going to pass up a shot at witnessing the man who wrote “Hallelujah” singing “Hallelujah” right before your eyes and ears? Well, either way, read on for a bunch of other great options for the week ahead…
Tonight (Friday) is one of those nights where you just can’t think about staying in. If ol’ Leonard isn’t in the cards, there’s the complete opposite of the musical spectrum, STS9, at the Riverside. There will be no acoustic guitar–heck, there won’t even be any singing! Just infectious beats all night long from the top electro-jam act on the planet. Nobody brings the super-danceable party atmosphere of an old-school rave to life with live instruments quite like STS9, and you get the added bonus of guitar solos and other semi-organic benefits you’d expect from a top-notch jam band. Plus, you get Maserati opening up–this proggy psych-rock outfit could be worth the ticket all by itself.
There’s also an ordinarily-can’t-miss-show going down at Linneman’s tonight; elusive, twitchy indie rock band The Trusty Knife will make a rare appearance, lending credibility to the rumor that it is still a band. In a perfect world this unique and supercharged live act would be putting out records more than once a decade and playing more than a couple shows a year, but the rarity factor does turn each appearance into an event, ain’a? Fahri isn’t MUCH more prolific, but the band did manage to put out one of 2012’s best local releases, Final Disconnect Notice, and has been relatively active on the local live circuit as of late, and they’ll be appearing at this show as well. Also playing: The Hecks.
For your Saturday night, how about something completely different from what you would normally do (we’re guessing)? Sure, it might SOUND like it’s just for geeks, but the more you think about it…nerds and dorks would totally enjoy it too! Isn’t it nice to live in a world where those words are no longer incredibly lame insults? Okay, where were we? Oh yeah, the Miramar will play host to an event called “Damsels And Dragons: An Evening Of Dungeons & Dragons Burlesque.” Now, maybe we are nerds here, but that sounds like an awful lot of fun without any further description. The group who puts on this show, The Dainty Rogues, is a spinoff from Brew City Bombshells, so you know it’ll be top-notch entertainment. Come on, admit you’re intrigued!
St. Patrick’s Day rolls around once again on Sunday, and you’ve got a couple of prime options for indulging in the sounds of the holiday. Although Gaelic Storm isn’t exactly from Ireland (okay, one guy is), that shouldn’t stop you from raising a pint and stomping along as the Celtic-ly-punkish rabble-rousers return to the Riverside. Like most bands of this genre, Gaelic Storm isn’t about to evolve its sound; bagpipes, fiddles, guitars and shout-along choruses have worked for decades and they still keep spirits high today. Along similar lines, Chicago’s The Tossers will be at Turner Hall for the official WMSE 32nd birthday celebration! More guitars, fiddles and general rowdiness; if that’s your thing, few bands do it more reliably well than these guys.
Next Tuesday, Milwaukee welcomes another living legend, as Emmylou Harris brings her distinctive voice and classic tunes to the Pabst Theater. You can’t possibly call yourself a fan of American roots music if you aren’t familiar with Harris’s catalog; she was blending folk, country and rock together decades before there was a term for it. She’s touring currently with longtime cohort Rodney Crowell; their first collaborative album, Old Yellow Moon, just came out a few weeks ago. Also along for the ride: Richard Thompson, and with this cat onstage with a guitar, anything can happen. Should be a really interesting dynamic between these three veterans.
We’ve been pretty lucky lately with the mid-week dance parties, and the trend continues next Wednesday with a visit from that band whose name WMSE DJs have come up with various creative ways to say on the air: Star-effer, Star-bleeper, or the ever-popular STRFKR (kind of a mouthful to spell out, though). Whatever you call ’em, it won’t matter once the beats get cranked and Turner Hall starts rockin.’ Expect moody but poppy hooks, the kind of music you can lose yourself in for a couple hours and sweat out your late-winter blues. Also playing: Blackbird Blackbird.