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Thursday, April 22, 2010

This Week in Milwaukee

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Thursday, April 22


Crispin Glover @ The Oriental Theatre, 7 p.m.

After a memorably bizarre breakthrough performance as George McFly in 1985’s Back to the Future, Hollywood outsider Crispin Glover continued to act in major films—including this year’s Alice in Wonderland and Hot Tub Time Machine—but he does so largely to fund his own independent films, which nobody will mistake for his commercial work. They’re shockingly confrontational art films examining cultural taboos and alienation, starring actors with Down syndrome or cerebral palsy. Tonight, Glover screens his latest film, It is Fine, EVERYTHING IS FINE, “a murder detective thriller” written by and starring Steven C.

Stewart, a cerebral palsy patient. Violent, angry and loosely autobiographical, the film alludes to 10 years Stewart spent wrongly confined to a nursing home after his speech impediment was construed as mental retardation. The film will be preceded by some much lighter entertainment:

“Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show,” a quirky hourlong presentation narrated by Glover around images from his many self-published books, followed by a Q&A session with the director. To read the Shepherd’s interview with Glover, visit expressmilwaukee.com.

Friday, April 23


Captured! By Robots w/ The Demix @ The Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

When Jay Vance, former bassist with ska-punk outfits Skankin’ Pickle and Blue Meanies, built a few robot musicians to jam with, he unwittingly sowed the seeds of his (and our) downfall. He was promptly enslaved by his robotic creations, and now he’s forced to tour the country by his robot captors, humiliating himself and exposing the pitiful nature of humanity as a whole. While Captured! By Robots’ clanging, humorous punk is clever enough, it’s overshadowed by the sheer spectacle of watching Vance’s homemade automatons bring it all to life.

The Infamous Stringdusters @ Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m.

Though they’ve only been playing together as a bluegrass band for about three years, The Infamous Stringdusters include veteran musicians who have played with country superstars like Lee Ann Womack. The group joins hordes of fellow young bands that are revolutionizing bluegrass by playing to the sensibilities of the jam scene. With their first album, 2007’s Fork in the Road, the group picked up several awards at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, including Emerging Artist of the Year. The band’s show at the Miramar Theatre tonight follows the recent release of the band’s second album, Things That Fly.

Ethan Keller @ Club Timbuktu, 6:30 p.m.

A singer-songwriter for the jam set, Milwaukee’s Ethan Keller boils down folk, rock, jazz and hip-hop into one G. Love & Special Sauce-flavored melting pot. Tonight Keller puts forth a record release show behind his latest album, Profit, performing with guests from all corners of the local music scene, including guitarist Sean Williamson, keyboardist Kris Crow, flugelhorn player Jamie Breiwick, saxophonist Aaron Gardner and DJ Madhatter.



Saturday, April 24


Bushman @ Club Timbuktu, 10 p.m.

As the dancehall sound began to lose some of its novelty by the turn of the century, Jamaican reggae artists began returning to the genre’s earlier, rootsy sounds. Dwight Duncan, known by the stage name Bushman, was one of the leaders of this new-roots movement, though he can’t be accused of being a strict traditionalist. On records like 2004’s Signs and 2008’s Get It in Your Mind, Bushman colored uplifting, classic reggae grooves with touches of hip-hop, R&B and pop, honing a clean, inclusive sound. Bushman appears tonight headlining the Dimensions Reggae Tour, supported by fellow roots singers Metric Man, Infinity, Ras Ijah and Ras Droppa.

Mark Knopfler @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m. Bushman With Dire Straits, singer-guitarist Mark Knopfler sought to fill arenas with polished, showy rock ’n’ roll, but the music he’s made since going solo in 1995 has seemed better suited for small clubs. Though his frequent solo albums feature a bit of Knopfler’s guitar heroics, they’re more intimate and stripped down than any of Dire Straits’ hits, drawing from the sounds of blues, folk and Americana. His latest, 2009’s Get Lucky, is typically easygoing and likable, making the case for Knopfler’s songwriting, which sometimes has been overshadowed by his flashy guitar work.

Demetri Martin @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.

Known for his large drawing pad and use of instruments and satiric wordplay, Demetri Martin has emerged as one of Comedy Central’s house comedians, having contributed to “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and released three stand-up albums through the station’s label before starring in a program of his own, “Important Things With Demetri Martin,” a loosely themed half-hour of stand-up, prop and sketch comedy. “I wonder if there were any Goths in Gothic times,” Martin ponders in a typical joke, with a delivery that suggests a youthful, less depressive Steven Wright.




Monday, April 26


Jónsi of Sigur Rós @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

With the Icelandic post-rock ensemble Sigur Rós on indefinite hiatus, the band’s singer and guitarist Jón ór Birgisson— known simply as Jónsi—offered his debut album as a solo artist this month, Go, a fusion of orchestrations, atmospherics and electronics crafted around Jónsi’s eerie, transcendental voice.

Recorded with producer Peter Katis, who has brought a similar sense of drama to records by The National, Interpol and Frightened Rabbit, it’s a more upbeat effort than Sigur Rós was known for, with shorter, more accessible songs, but it retains the band’s characteristic scope and ambition.


Wednesday, April 28


Daytrotter Barnstormer Tour @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.

While most MP3 blogs are dedicated to recycling music, Daytrotter creates it, each weekday inviting a touring band into its unassuming Rock Island, Ill., studio to record a short set, which often finds the bands reworking their songs and sharing covers and rarities. The site’s Daytrotter Barnstormer Tour offers performances from groups that have recorded Daytrotter sessions, including the New York chamber-pop ensemble Ra Ra Riot, who will release a new album for Barsuk Records this year, and Free Energy, the Philadelphia power-pop band that this spring released a highly buzzed debut album, Stuck on Nothing, for DFA Records. Also playing: Delta Spirit, Nathaniel Rateliff and Pearly Gate Music.



Wednesday, April 28




3OH!3 and Cobra Starship @ The Rave, 7 p.m. A sort of Bloodhound Gang for the skinny-jeans-and-bottle-service generation, 3OH!3 warned “never trust a ho” on their 2009 smash single “Don’t Trust Me,” a club banger that elevated the group from frat-friendly novelty band to Top 40 staples and earned them tour dates alongside the Black Eyed Peas. Tonight the group is paired with Cobra Starship, an electro-rock band that has made a like-minded bid for club crossover with their hit “Good Girls Go Bad,” which featured moonlighting “Gossip Girl” Leighton Meester. It’s a similarly rowdy and boisterous song, but it sounds like a feminist anthem compared to 3OH!3’s hobashing joke rap.

Jakob Dylan and Three Legs @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

With the last name Dylan and a striking resemblance to his father, Bob Dylan, Jakob Dylan entered the music industry with high expectations, and largely met them with the 1996 album with his band The Wallflowers, Bringing Down the Horse, a best-seller featuring several alternative-roots hits, including “One Headlight” and “6th Avenue Heartache.” As The Wallflowers faded away, Dylan went solo, first releasing 2008’s Seeing Things with producer Rick Rubin, then this year’s Women Country, a dreamy roots rock album that reunites Dylan with Bringing Down the Horse producer T-Bone Burnett and pairs him with alt-country sirens Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, who have joined Dylan’s latest backing band, Three Legs, for this tour.