words by Cal Roach
words by Cal Roach
Hey Milwaukee! It’s your weekly what’s-going-on-at-the-Summerfest-grounds update: This weekend it’s African World Festival, and this one even features music by people you’ve actually heard of! Soul chanteuse India.Arie, jazz pianist Brian Culbertson, plus a plentiful selection of blues, jazz, etc. from around the region. This one’s only for one day, though–Saturday–so don’t put it off until Sunday or something. Plus, you can still catch other stuff later on if you go early, and there’s a ton going on this weekend. Read on, if you dare.
The Wisconsin State Fair is in full swing, and even though we all know the brutally unhealthy food options are more notable than the musical lineup in general, tonight (Friday) would be a terrific time to catch a fun set of tunes after perusing some prize-winning livestock. “Weird Al” Yankovic has been cleverly skewering (yes, that might be a food-related pun) pop songs, pop culture and himself for over three decades now, and despite his obstinate lack of mustache and eyeglasses these days, he still has the hair and probably the biggest onstage wardrobe of anyone this side of Lady Gaga. Even if you have no clue what song “Another Tattoo” is a parody of, Al’s 80s canon seriously never gets old, and JUST in case you didn’t get enough accordion at German Fest last weekend…
If you’re more up for sticking around the East Side tonight, one of our town’s most underappreciated singer/songwriters is having a record release party sort of out of the blue at The Hotel Foster. That’s right, it’s Quinn Scharber, who technically sprung the album Every Other on us two years ago digitally and with little fanfare (check it out on Bandcamp), but hopefully now that it’s seeing a vinyl release he’ll do a bit more promoting and gigging (sure, he’s been busy playing with Hugh Bob & The Hustle and The Championship, but we’re big fans of And The… too!), because he’s a reliably great performer as well. Also playing: Cabin, Hayward Williams and DJ Chris Roberts.
Naturally, there’s stuff going on in Riverwest, too. The Fatty Acids are getting ready to embark on a pretty major promotional tour for their forthcoming new album, Bolero, culminating in the record release show at the Pabst on September 6, but you can catch a sneak preview of the new material tonight at Linneman’s. It’s basically the tour kickoff party, and there’s no better place to see the kings of Milwaukee’s psycho-pop scene. Obviously, if you haven’t checked out the two albums the band has already released (i.e. you live under a rock or don’t live in Milwaukee and just stumbled upon this blog by accident), get thee to Bandcamp post haste! But you’re better off seeing the Fattys live anyway, plus you’ll get the added bonus of seeing Mortgage Freeman, kindred spirits in the local eclectic pop scene. Also playing: Paper Thick Walls.
Not to be outdone, the primary challenger to Fatty Acids’ dominance of Milwaukee’s spazz-rock scene, Sat. Nite Duets, will make an appearance Saturday night (naturally) at Cactus Club. We hate to keep comparing the two bands, but they DID make an awesome video together, and they DID appear on a killer split 7″ together, and they HAVE played an awful lot of shows together, so it’s only natural. It would be tough to say which band is better live; it just depends on the night, but if Pavement-meets-The-Band sounds like your cup of tea, you can’t go wrong with these guys, and you’ll probably be singing along to some of their rousing party anthems before the night is over. Also playing: Heartthrob, Mumble Jones.
Linneman’s is killin’ it this weekend, though. Saturday they’ll be hosting a record release party for local busiest-man-in-showbiz Myles Coyne and his Rusty Nickel Band. The album, Take Things As They Come, is already available for streaming over at good ol’ Bandcamp, but if you pay the admission price at the celebrated Riverwest Inn, you automatically get a vinyl copy to take home with you! This is the kind of music you want on vinyl, too; gritty, rough around the edges, earnest rock and roll. If you think folk rock has gotten altogether too maudlin, Myles has your cure, plus local classic rock revival band Calliope will be opening the show, along with the manic synth-poppers of Faux Fir.
But what if you’d rather leave dry land behind altogether and still catch some awesome live music? Milwaukee Boat Line has your solution! Concert cruises aren’t just expensive destination getaways anymore; picture yourself floating down the Milwaukee River, out onto Lake Michigan, and then taking in a performance by The Altos. Does that sound amazing or WHAT? We’ve heard rumors that this could be the last time the band does one of these events, and as you may know, Altos are kind of on a tear lately (definitely check out their new record “Bagong Ava”/”Bagong Hele” if you haven’t yet), so there could be no better time (or place!) to catch one of the city’s best bands.
Next Wednesday, if you feel like dancing to some creepy beats and vintage noise, Cactus Club is your destination. Dark synthpop mistress Dania Luck (aka Stacian) will be playing a rare live show for the hometown crowd. She’s kept a seemingly low profile since the release of the excellent Songs For Cadets last year, although she did put a collection of old tracks and demos, delightfully titled Space Stacian, up on Bandcamp in June. She’ll be joined by WMSE’s own BTS.WRKNG, whose moody, ambient electronic soundscapes should be the perfect complement, as should your headliners, Portland’s Soft Metals.
This very same Wednesday night, however, will be your next opportunity to catch the current frontrunner for best band in Madison, PHOX, live in Milwaukee. If you caught the folky/jazzy rockers at Summerfest, we’ll assume you were suitably impressed, but from what we’ve heard, you have to experience their show in a more intimate setting to get the full effect (although that’s probably true of just about all bands, right?). They’ll be appealing at Shank Hall along with Foreign Fields, Wisconsin natives who defected to Nashville and between the two recorded last year’s electronic/folk hybrid Anywhere But Where I Am. Also playing: Boom Forest.