words by Cal Roach
Have you been eating lots of burgers lately, Milwaukee? Sadly, your chances to indulge in the Call Meat Lightning, John The Sandwich or Collections Of Colonies Of Beef are basically gone after today, but the good news is that tonight (Friday!) you can gorge yourself on all kinds of amazing food from some of Milwaukee’s best eateries at the ever-popular WMSE Food Slam. Silent auction. Live auction! Milwaukee Brewing Company beers. WMSE DJs spinning appetizing tunes. And enough food to feed a small army. Check here for the full lowdown, and get there early ’cause this puppy will most likely sell out. In the meantime, read on for some more cool things to do around town in the very near future.
In case you’re wondering what’s the latest local psych-rock band everyone’s buzzing about, it’s called Space Raft. Formed by members of Mystery Girls, Call Me Lightning and other scene stalwarts, Space Raft launched early this year and has quickly garnered a reputation for putting on a great live show; seemed like everyone in Bay View was talking about the band’s set outside RushMor after the South Shore Frolics parade. Experience the spacey sci-fi goodness tonight at Riverwest Public House, and if you need more prompting, check out this Local Live set, recorded in the WMSE studios! The rest of the bill is nothing to sneeze at, either: Moon Curse and Outside? Oh hell yeah.
For a change of pace, you could always go check out an outdoor movie, eh? We recommend you do NOT (repeat: DO NOT) bring children or your grandmother or anyone with a weak stomach for violence to this week’s edition of Fish Fry & A Flick outside of Discovery World on the lakefront. It’s a Quentin Tarantino movie, so you know it’ll be violent, but even by his standards, Django Unchained is gut-churningly offensive on many levels. Still, if you can separate your film-appreciation sensibilities from the visceral nastiness, it’s actually a powerful story with some terrific performances (particularly Christoph Waltz‘s) and a very rewarding, even awe-inspiring film. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you if you walk away with a headache or a queasy feeling in your innards.
Otherwise, Cactus Club will be hosting an evening of nutjob rock and roll, as the accurately-monikered Animals In Human Attire will most likely be clothed and as far as we know, all members are technically mammals. They play a somewhat progressive blend of hyper pop and rock styles, very much in the vein of their Riverwest brethren The Fatty Acids, but perhaps a bit weirder and less tangibly catchy. For a taste of what to expect, check out Bandcamp; they, too, have a WMSE session streaming there. It’s a jam-packed bill, too, that also includes a couple of Chicago bands (Brontosaurus, Wedding Dress) and budding local rapper D’Amato, so get there early for a full night of music.
For whatever reason, Tommy Emmanuel has managed to avoid mainstream acknowledgement as one of the most mind-blowingly great guitar players in the world. But we all know that the mainstream can sometimes be way, way off, don’t we? If you’re familiar with the likes of Richard Thompson, Leo Kottke and other well-known wizards of complex picking styles, there’s no good reason you shouldn’t check out this Australian master as well. There are surely dozens of YouTube videos out there to impress you, if you need convincing, but seriously, Saturday night, be at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center if you are interested in experiencing true magic emanating from a guitar.
If you’re in the mood for something a little less formal, less polished, a little louder…okay, a LOT louder, you should maybe head to Circle A Café Saturday night instead, where the local hooligans of Drugs Dragons will play a set of hopped-up psycho-garage punk. Imagine if The Cramps basically abandoned rockabilly and replaced the Elvis-on-mushrooms crooning of Lux Interior with some caustic, bestial screeching and snarling; that’s sort of what Drugs Dragons are like. The highly entertaining horror/sci-fi odes on the band’s self-titled debut and 2011 EP Milorganight always come to life in a very animalistic way when you’re actually in the room, and Circle A is about as intimate as it gets, so be there at 8:00 sharp!
Calgary duo The Dodos have been churning out a pretty unique brand of indie rock for nearly a decade now, and although they haven’t quite hit the big time (unless you count a Miller Chill commercial), their albums have seen a steady progression to more interesting music over the years. Not many bands in the indie realm are so devoted to the acoustic guitar, and the new Carrier album features some of the most intricate, haunting work the duo of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber have come up with yet. The playing is actually rooted more in classical than folk, but while it’s often fairly subdued, there are some spectacular dynamic swells as well, which should make for a great live show next Tuesday at Turner Hall Ballroom. Also playing: Cousins.
Milwaukee’s Soul Low seems to have come out of nowhere this year with a very assured debut LP, ‘UNEASY,’ a somewhat frantic, neurotic slice of indie rock that fits in nicely with the current tide of eclectic pop spearheaded by The Fatty Acids and such. But the band has actually been around since at least 2010; shame on us for missing that debut EP “Beauty By Contrast,” but luckily it’s up on Bandcamp, of course! The band’s got a nicely layered sound with bits and pieces of lots of different genres, and lyrics that jump out quickly as worth paying attention to; they’re clever and sometimes cute but not…too cute. You can see and hear for yourself next Wednesday, when the band will play an outdoor show at Denim Park, that little space where Pleasant and Water Streets intersect; we’re not sure when they started having shows there, but weather permitting, it should be a cool spot to chill and listen to music.