words by Cal Roach
Hold onto your hats, Milwaukee. There is way too much going on this weekend. You’re on your own for schoolnights because we just have more great options for today and tomorrow than we can even cover. This would be the wrong weekend to stay home and watch TV, if you can help it. Just try to not find something enticing in the following rundown of stuff to do Friday and Saturday. We dare you.
Austin has been running its celebrated Psych Fest for six years now (and this year’s lineup is a doozy!) but seriously, it’s about time the Brew City had one of its own, wouldn’t you say? After all, acts like Moss Folk, Elusive Parallelograms, Catacombz and sleepcomesdown have been rocking our worlds for quite some time, predating this current psych-rock revival by several years. Cactus Club is the place to be tonight (Friday) starting at 9 and Saturday for an early show at 5 and late show at 10; not only can you catch all four of the aforementioned bands, but also some of the scene’s most celebrated up-and-comers like The Holydrug Couple, The Warlocks and Woodsman. Click here for the full lineup and who’ll be at which show.
Wouldn’t you know it, though–there’s a killer show going on at the Riverwest Public House tonight too, so you might have to flip a coin, because the prospect of missing a Sat. Nite Duets show is never appealing. Widely regarded as one of Milwaukee’s best live acts, these guys have an eclectic energy all their own, and their sound is constantly evolving. Also playing tonight is Milwaukee’s Static Eyes, a band that wouldn’t necessarily be out of place at Psych Fest, although they’re a lot more noisy and garage-y than most bands in the psych-rock category. If you didn’t already figure on it, you’d be well advised to bring earplugs to this show, ‘cause this band is LOUD. Plus, get there early for US Male, the grungy side project from Cassidy DW and Myles Coyne that debuted at last year’s Riverwest Fest.
Also tonight, the Miramar Theatre will host a night of beat-driven ambient bliss with Phutureprimitive. Although DJ Rain has ventured into more upbeat and even–dare we say–dubstep territory, his bread and butter remains melodic, downtempo beats that soothe the senses even as they move the body. You can’t go wrong with his 2004 debut, Sub Conscious, a dreamy, meditative soundscape that’s a perfect gateway album for people interested in mellow, palatable ambient music. He’ll be joined by likeminded Canadian DJ Ill Esha, so you’ll be in for a full night of smooth beats.
If none of these trips your trigger (wow, you are picky!), you’re still not out of luck by any means. We haven’t even mentioned the high-profile gig going on at Pabst Theater tonight! It’s a guy with the unassuming name of Jim James, head honcho of globe-trotting rock juggernaut My Morning Jacket. He’s basically neck-and-neck with Jeff Tweedy for the title of king alt-country-folkie-turned-eclectic-rocker, but he beat Tweedy to the punch on the solo album score; the new Regions Of Light And Sound Of God is somewhat of a return to the moody, subdued roots style of early MMJ, but there’s also a modern indie pop sensibility, including hints of (gasp) electronic beats. The guy is even more renowned for his live performances than for his well-received records, so chances are this will be a show people will be raving about for weeks to come.
Saturday is even more balls-out jam-packed; try not to feel too guilty about all the cool stuff you have to miss, as long as you get out there! To begin with, it’s Record Store Day, which means mainly, go buy some records at one of our city’s fine local establishments! Don’t take RushMor and Acme and Bullseye and Exclusive Company for granted, people; in this day and age, most towns are lucky to have ONE such independent shop. Not only are there all kinds of deals and special releases to be plundered (here’s the full list), there’s live music! Exclusive on Farwell will host Trapper Schoepp, Absolutely and JD McPherson (playing later at Shank Hall), among others; the Greenfield location features WMSE DJs all afternoon plus Semi-Twang (click here for the complete schedule for both stores). At Acme, catch Black Eagle Child, Wereworm, a DJ set by Jon Mueller (among others), and Psych Fest visitors The Holydrug Couple (full details here). This might be our favorite holiday of the year; get out and celebrate!
After you’ve relaxed for a minute at home enjoying your shiny new vinyl, it’s time to contemplate your night. Your most one-of-a-kind option is certainly the event taking place at Turner Hall, another installment of the celebrated Cedar Block series. This one’s called “May The Schwartz Be With You,” and it’s an homage to SPACEBALLS…okay, not really. It’s a tribute to another disappearing institution, the independent bookstore–specifically, the gone-but-not-forgotten Harry W. Schwartz shop that once fostered a thriving community on the East Side. It’s music, acting, storytelling, you name it; a treasured amalgam of performance art that nobody leaves without a smile. Mastermind Brent Gohde has hinted that this might be the final Cedar Block project; it’s too bad that these things only ever run for one night, but by all means, get there if you can.
Saturday night also marks the EP release party for the latest project featuring one of Milwaukee’s biggest hip-hop talents, Dana Coppafeel. The veteran MC has teamed up with another Uni-Fi Records mainstay, SPEAK Easy, for a collaboration that’s already getting some national notice, most visibly from a little website called RollingStone.com (probably the only time we’ll link to that site from this page!), which featured lead track “This Is Us” as its song of the day recently. Also on that track: Klassik, who will probably join the duo onstage for it at this show; he’ll do a set of his own, surely drawing heavily from last year’s excellent In The Making album. Also performing: Da Ricanstrukta, Streetz-n-Young Deuces and Mammyth.
Finally–and we mean that in terms of this article as well as the band itself–Fable & The World Flat is back in action! It seems like ages ago, but it was actually 2009, when the debut album by these guys came out, the fantastic Ladies And Gentlemen. They released the CD, played a couple shows, and then proceeded to vanish from the face of the Earth. But Saturday night at Blackbird Bar, there’s a listening party celebrating the brand new The Great Attractor, at which you can grab a free digital download of the album prior to its official release next week. As it happens, we’ve gotten to listen already, and…yeah, it’s a highly entertaining listening experience, as expected. They’ll be DJing until close, so you could probably hit this up after the other events of the night if you like.