words by Cal Roach
Happy weekend, Milwaukee! Summer is winding down, but you can still catch your second-to-last dose of world culture down at the Summerfest grounds this weekend; it’s time for Mexican Fiesta! Expect lots of mariachi music as well as a broad spectrum of pop and traditional sounds, and of course, the food will be amazing, unless you’re from another planet and hate tacos. Plus, don’t miss the Mexican wrestling spectacle known as Lucha Libre, in addition to other martial arts displays, as well as traditional dance performances and contests, and the El Grito contest–for those who want to cry out in honor of Mexican independence! Sounds like a blast; read on for a few more suggestions for the coming week.
We kick things off this weekend with one of our patented wear-earplugs-or-risk-annihilation shows. Milwaukee’s own Northless is one of the heaviest, loudest bands you’ll ever see, and also one of the flat-out best metal bands in the country. Okay, maybe Pitchfork isn’t exactly the foremost authority on metal, but it doesn’t hurt to have the quasi-indie tastemakers pimping the band’s new advance track, right? Tonight (Friday) at Quarters is the release party for the band’s new double album, World Keeps Sinking, and it promises to be one of the sweetest metal shows of the year; Dayton sludge/doom merchants Mouth Of The Architect will play as well in support of their new album Dawning (and hopefully the power won’t go out like last time they played in Riverwest!). Also playing: The Staves, Much Worse.
A hop-skip-n-a-jump away at Riverwest Public House, in case ultra-brutality isn’t your thing, The Delphines will be playing, just like they did eight nights prior for their cassette-single release party. Hey, even if you don’t own a cassette player, you still need to check out their new tunes (Bandcamp to the rescue!), because they’re quickly becoming one of the most buzzed-about bands in town, which is because they are AWESOME. Not just on tape, either; live, they’re a force to be reckoned with, echo-drenched modern post-punk fury. Plus, Madison’s The Hussy will play as well, punkish garage rock that you’ve probably heard over the WMSE airwaves. In a year that’s pretty light on rock and roll in terms of the mainstream, Wisconsin is still kicking butt. (Just as a heads-up, you can also catch The Delphines next Thursday at Frank’s Power Plant; they’re everywhere!!).
Down in the Bay View, as you may have guessed, Cactus Club is putting on a killer rock show as well. Purveyors of some of our city’s catchiest, most original and balls-out music, Elusive Parallelograms are kind of like early Radiohead with the mope turned way down and the punk and psych elements cranked; highly-recommended live act, folks. They’ll be joined by Champaign, IL’s Thoughts Detecting Machines, the experimental rock/electronic hybrid brainchild of Rick Valentin (ex-Poster Children), whose new album you can listen to here, as well as local power-pop weirdos Body Futures, the only rock band you’ve ever heard of that prominently features an autoharp!
Next Tuesday, get ready to take in a performance by one of rock’s least categorizable yet most influential characters: Todd Rundgren. You know all that echoey, emotional psych-rock that suddenly got huge last year? Well, bands like Tame Impala and The Holydrug Couple make no bones about citing Rundgren (particularly his landmark 1973 album A Wizard, A True Star) as a major influence. Yet he’s also adept at the party-rock anthems (“Bang The Drum All Day“) and the soulful ballads (“Hello It’s Me,” come on!), managing to be corny and poignant at the same time–kind of like being in love, eh? And don’t forget about his work with prog-rock outsider band Utopia! The guy can do virtually anything, and you won’t want to miss this career-spanning night of music at the Pabst Theater.
Next Thursday marks the beginning of one of our city’s most emblematic cultural celebrations. We’re pretty sure this is an unofficial moniker, but we’re gonna call it Harley Fest! Milwaukee is already beginning to swell with the growls of noisy hogs as their riders gear up for the 110th anniversary of the company that makes the world’s most recognizable motorbikes, and next weekend the Summerfest grounds will be packed with revelers. You could certainly do worse than to start the festivities with Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, right? You do love rock and roll, don’t you? The classic rock will flow like wine, in fact; we’re not sure who exactly is in The Doobie Brothers or Blue Öyster Cult these days, but they had so many great songs that it might not make a whole lot of difference. And be sure to get down there early, as local hero Kid Cut Up will be spinning beats at 3:30, and in case you missed ’em at Irish Fest last week (or even if you didn’t!), local Celtic punks Whiskey Of The Damned start things off at 1. For the full entertainment schedule, go here.