words by Cal Roach
Milwaukee Day kinda snuck up on us this year, didn’t it? Last year there were a ton of killer shows around the city celebrating 4/14 (perhaps because it was a Saturday), but this year’s a bit more low-key. But fear not; the holiday hasn’t been forgotten! There’s plenty of MKE goodness going on, particularly for a Sunday, and we’ll tell you all about it, as well as fill you in on some other great weekend events, if you keep reading…
Tonight (Friday) there’s a terrific show going on at Shank Hall, headlined by WMSE’s own singing weatherman, Paul Cebar, and his Tomorrow Sound. Lots of bands these days are taking a kitchen-sink approach when it comes to blending styles and genres, but it’s liable to come out all disjointed and weird in a lot of cases; not where Cebar is concerned, however. If you’ve even listened to his radio show, you know he’s the king of smoooooooth, and the same is true when he plays live music. He is also a contributor to the recent debut album by Painted Caves, who will be playing here as well. The band mixes very old and exotic varieties of folk music with modern, more accessible styles to create…well, one of the best local releases of 2012, that’s for sure!
Another fine place to be tonight is Linneman’s, where prolific Mad City garage punk band The Hussy will be celebrating the release of its third album in as many years. This one’s called Pagan Hiss, and if the band’s previous output is any indication (which it generally is, right?), you can expect lots of crashing cymbals, buzzsaw guitars and great melodies drenched in reverb and sounding huge, especially considering it’s only two people making all that racket. This show is also kind of a big deal because it’s one of only three reunion shows for the legendary Green Bay garage rockers known as The Mystery Girls. The band broke up in 2005, but they’re putting out a new collection of outtakes and rarities and such and, well, if you like raucous, unhinged rock and roll, it doesn’t get much better; check out a few tracks on Bandcamp if you still need convincing.
There’s also your wicked headbanging opportunity, this one happening tonight at Cactus Club with the city’s premier thrash revivalists, Architects Of The Aftermath. They don’t try to get overly complicated or groundbreaking or brutal; just that classic 80s sound with all the gusto you could hope for. The show will also feature one of the most intriguing new bands to come out of the Milwaukee metal scene in some time, Ara. It’s members of Northless and Concentric joining forces for an inspired take on death metal. The band’s 2012 debut The Blessed Sleep features compact slabs of brutality with a focus on well-written chunks of music that are anything but predictable; highly recommended. Also playing: Vega.
Saturday night, it’s right back to Cactus Club with you (if you’re so inclined) for some more loud rock and roll. It’s no surprise that Madison’s Zebras are such frequent visitors to our city; not only have they borrowed drummers from Milwaukee bands, they play a blistering style of noise rock that’s pretty popular around the Cream City as well, with perhaps a bit more of a metal edge than most (check out last year’s self-titled album for a good representation). Very appropriate that our own Like Like The The The Death will be playing as well; surely you’ve checked out that band’s awesome Ghosts Of Dead Bros album by now? It was widely regarded as one of 2012’s best local releases, and reports indicate an equally amazing live show. PLUS, this show serves as the album release party for another local band, Temple. Kind of a testament to the wide-ranging talents of members Cassidy DW and Myles Coyne that these indie/folkie dudes can also crank out some aggressive but catchy post-hardcore like this debut album (available, naturally, on Bandcamp, if you want a preview).
Sunday, Milwaukee Day! The marquee celebration of your favorite holiday is going on outdoors (gulp) in the vicinity of Lucky Joe’s Tiki Room (we’ve been waiting a long time to type that venue name!) and features local Americana stars Hugh Bob And The Hustle. Even though last year featured a glut of the countryishfolkrock style coming out of our city, that’s no excuse not to check out this band’s self-titled record, ‘cause it’s right up there with the best of them, and they put on a heck of a live show as well. They’ll be joined by local pop/rock singer/songwriter Jayk and local synthpop act Boy Blue, which seems like a pretty weird combination overall, but we recall a very bizarre bill from last year’s Milwaukee Day that turned out to be one of the most incredible shows of the year. We make lots of different kinds of music in Milwaukee, and we should celebrate this fact! The party starts at 2 p.m. so get there early.
You will be able to keep the music rolling all night, as the official wrap-up party for 4/14 is going on at Stonefly. The headliners are Vic And Gab, a local duo of sisters who don’t get out much for playing live and it’s definitely a shame, ‘cause they’ve got some truly amazing songs that ought to be heard more. Their EP from last year, Bridges And Guns, is one of 2012’s essential local releases without a doubt; click that link immediately and take a listen if you haven’t already. The show will also feature Twin Brother, a local duo set to release a new album next month; another local folk project known as Bigfoot; and probably the loudest act of the night, Night Animals.
Finally, although it won’t include any Milwaukee music per se, you could do a lot worse than yet ANOTHER Cactus Club show Sunday night, this one featuring legendary pop-punk band Redd Kross. The band made its name in the 80s and broke up in the 90s, but made its return to active duty in 2006 and actually put out a new album, Researching The Blues, last year. Equally exciting is the appearance of the Minneapolis surf-ish garage punk act known as The Blind Shake; the band seems to create a wave of raves every time it comes to Milwaukee, and if you check out 2011’s Seriousness LP, it’s pretty easy to see why; pure infectious rock and roll energy is the name of the game.