Spring, sprang, sprung…this is the weekend (and week) when it seems like action is the key connector in all things music-related. Touring bands are beginning to show their faces a bit more often, baseball season is taking shape and we’ve had our first Rollerblades™ sighting of the season (have you?).
Although the City of Festivals has been active all winter (Riverwest Fest, Mitten Fest, the East Side Music Tour, etc.), it still has yet to feel like official festival season here in Milwaukee (admit, it truly doesn’t feel like festival season until there is a full-fledged dancer in cutoffs and a tank top planted stage-side). Get into that true feeling with this weekend’s Lookout Weekend Festival (the second one Hey Tonight Productions has put on), which features a load of energetic local and national bands, including Phylums, Bored Games, Delphines, Warm Soda and the Living Blackouts, for a three-day, pick-and-choose extravaganza. Dancing, there will be.
On Friday night, two shows across town duke it out, depending on whether one’s week is in need of a pop-remedy or a punk-remedy. Brief Candles, our favorite local shoegazers have been working on new twinkly and glimmering guitar material, and you’re sure to hear some of it tonight at their Riverwest Public House performance. They share a bill with Chicago’s Airiel, Milwaukee’s Cousins and DJ Erik Void. And at Bay View’s Cactus Club, Bicentennial Rub is sure to get show-goers hot and bothered with their acerbic punk in shades of Black Flag that even Rollins, himself would nod approval of. Also playing: The Mons, Days Off and the Hullmen.
If something completely and devotedly left-brained is more your speed for a Friday night, look no further than UWM’s Unruly Music Festival (runs from Thursday – Saturday), where the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra will wiggle your lobes for some musical nerdery. Friday’s evening festival portion features a Milwaukee large-ensemble improvisation summit, with the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra (MiLO) at the helm, alongside the TC-11 Orchestra (TORCH), and the Great Lakes Improvising Orchestra, led by (WMSE’s own!) Hal Rammel.
Turner Hall Ballroom, plan to adjust your levels for Monday’s performance by Welsh trio, The Joy Formidable. Many reviewers claim nobody is contemporarily creating music that sounds so ‘big’ and JF leader, Rhiannon ‘Ritzy’ Bryan is all to blame, happily. Her soaring vocals are loud and clear over even loud, loud, louder guitars, instead of being buried or melting away in a syrupy mess that is very common of female rock vocals today. Fans of Garbage’s attitude via Shirley Manson and Screaming Female’s Marissa Paternoster’s whirling guitar-play will be able to dig into JF’s live performance, no problem.
If you’ve been hearing a lot of local (by way of Baraboo + Madison) band, Phox on WMSE’s airwaves, it’s because ever since we downloaded their album Friendship from their Bandcamp page, we’ve been magnetized to their enviable ability to be silly (minute-long snippets of chatter flits in between songs) and sincerely beautiful all in one album’s length. Check out the beautiful side via this video for “Laura (Oh, Girl)” featuring the striking vocals of Monica Martin. Phox visits Milwaukee to open for the Last Bison at Club Garibaldi’s this Tuesday evening. PASTE Magazine is all about Phox after their SXSW performances this past year; check them out on their home turf, club-side, before they get huge from all that national attention.