words by Cal Roach
Welcome to the end of your short work week! Boy, that sure flew by, didn’t it? Or was it last weekend that flew by? Yeah, that was probably it. Y’know, if it weren’t for that whole having-a-job thing, they wouldn’t have to cram such a large majority of the fun stuff into the weekends; they could spread the shows out more evenly over the week. But how would you afford to go without a job? You have to pay these artists and entrepreneurs for the joy they bring to our lives, after all; that’s their job. Well, the lucky ones, anyway. Most of the ones we mention here have day jobs too, and they probably don’t have the energy to do both all week. So, um, the moral of the story is, hooray for weekends! Here’s what’s coming up for this one, and the ensuing week that follows…
First off, tonight (Friday) is Bay View Gallery Night, which is probably the best possible bang for your buck since technically you don’t have to cough up any dough at all. This isn’t just some tiny little neighborhood event; “Over 40 local businesses will host more than 100 local artists,” boasts the official website, so put on your walking shoes (or galoshes, as the case may be)! Beginning at 5 p.m. and lasting until whenever the various businesses decide to close up shop, virtually every bar, restaurant, grocery store and barbershop in the area will host some sort of display, from painting, sculpture and photography to clothing, dancing and food. Oh, and of course, music! We highly recommend seeing local scuzz-punks Drugs Dragons at Frank’s Power Plant or Crooked Keys at Club Garibaldi if you can, though be aware you might have to pay a cover. Check here for the full list of locations and events.
Also tonight, at Turner Hall: Why are the ocean levels rising up? It’s the return of They Might Be Giants, of course! The two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) have come a long way since playing as an accordion-based novelty pop duo in college towns in the 80s, jumping on the alt-rock gravy train in the 90s and making the natural transition into occasional albums of children’s music in the last decade, but doing it all with their peculiar sense of humor and quirky style. Damn, we were trying to get through this blurb without using “quirky,” but we failed. The band’s latest is a decidedly adult-oriented affair called Nanobots, featuring 25 songs clocking in at under 45 minutes total, but you can bet a few nuggets from the 1990 classic Flood will make it into the setlist tonight.
Saturday night there’s a show going on at Linneman’s that’s about as Riverwest-y as you can get. It’s billed as an album “preview” show for Myles Coyne & The Rusty Nickel Band, which basically means the album’s not coming out for a while yet, but you will definitely hear tracks from it! Expect a feelgood mishmash of folk and rock with plenty of singalong opportunities and also, Myles will have a few test pressings on hand for sale, so a few lucky early birds will get that worm, too. This show will also feature The Fatty Acids, who are finishing up work on a brand new album themselves; we expect another healthy dose of unpredictable, screeching pop music whenever that record rolls out. Also playing: Kane Place Record Club, a band that plays sort of old-time-y, upbeat roots rock and roll with a modern, youthful enthusiasm, but we’re still waiting on an actual record…
Next Monday, the moody, dynamic pop machine of Twin Shadow finally makes its way into Milwaukee. George Lewis Jr. has put out a couple of intermittently brilliant albums so far under this moniker, featuring heart-on-sleeve emoting and propulsive, bass-driven beats that make you think synthpop. Then you see him live with a full band, and the music becomes this massive rock and roll powerhouse, with Lewis as a quasi-Prince figure both in terms of sizzling lead guitar work and the danceability of his music, if last year’s Lollapalooza set was any indication at all. This current True Stories Tour is somewhat of a unique endeavor, as Lewis is taking his father on the road with him and adding an element of storytelling into the performance. His website is a bit vague on exactly what this will entail, but presumably the music will still be the main attraction, in which case we have to highly recommend you make it out for this show. Also playing: Elliphant.
Next Thursday is going to be a really tough call, folks; there are at least four different worthwhile shows going on. Your first guaranteed-awesome option is Open Mike Eagle, who will be appearing at The Borg Ward for an all-ages show. If you haven’t heard Eagle’s brilliant 2012 album 4nml Hsptl, get on it; it is one of the most inventive hip hop albums of the past decade, both in terms of its woozy, eclectic beats and Mike’s irresistible lyrics and flow. It’s working-class rap for people who think about stuff, and Mike is one of the best wordsmiths out there in any genre of music. He’ll be joined by likeminded rapper milo, perhaps a bit more low-key and spoken-word than Eagle’s style but similarly experimental in sound and rhymes.
At Shank Hall on Thursday, get ready to relive old glories from your middle school days or whenever it was that you first heard “Bitchin’ Camaro” with The Dead Milkmen. Yep, we can’t believe it either! Well, to be fair, they’ve been back together since 2008 (who knew?) and even put out a new album in 2011 (WHO KNEW??), but we’re pretty sure the reason you’ll go to this show is to hear the oldies, and who could blame you? These guys aren’t just one of the most hilarious bands to ever exist; beginning in the early 80s they began to carve out a punk rock niche all their own, and by the time of the 1988 masterpiece Beelzebubba you’d have been hard pressed to nail them down to any genre at all. We can’t imagine anything being more fun than going to this show. Also playing: Samuel Locke-Ward And The Garbage Boys.
Then there’s a terrific show going on at Mad Planet too. Sudanese multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab goes by the stage name Sinkane, makes chill, cross-cultural, beat-driven music that sort of mashes up every style known to man. He’s collaborated with artists like Yeasayer, of Montreal and–wouldn’t you know it–Twin Shadow in the past, so if that gives you any idea of the broad eclecticism of his music, you’re probably intrigued already. Check out his Soundcloud page if you need more convincing. Plus, he’ll be joined by local phenom Painted Caves, another worldly hodgepodge of East and West that has garnered a ton of deserved acclaim around town. The infectious music moves between mellow grooves and kinetic, exotic swells of intensity; if it doesn’t get you dancing at some point then you are missing the point. Also performing: DJ Marcus Doucette and Bumbac Joe.