This Week in Milwaukee
Misery Signals, Ex Fabula, Fever Marlene, Nobunny and The Uptown Savages
Thursday, May 13
A guest spot from Fall Out
Boy singer Patrick Stump helped call attention to Mirrors, the 2006
album from the Milwaukee-area metalcore band Misery Signals, and strong
reviews from punk zines further fanned the album’s flames. Misery
Signals offered their follow-up in 2008, Controller, an even heavier,
more technical album that made more time for Tool-esque prog-metal
flourishes and the versatile growl of singer Karl Schubach.
Friday, May 14
Since last fall, the
storytelling project Ex Fabula has been inviting community members to
share personal stories related to a monthly theme. At the end of each Ex
Fabula event, the audience selects its favorite of the night. Ex
Fabula’s final performance of its inaugural season invites back some of
those audience favorites to tell original stories around a new theme:
“Epic Fail.” Among the returning storytellers are Paul Finger, Leah
Leone, Tom Crawford, Brian Moore, Drew Brhel and the duo Laura and
Stephanie Halfmann. Local artist Dwellephant will be drawing on-the-spot
conceptual illustrations of each story that will be raffled off at the
end of the night.
For a laid-back jam band,
Particle seems to be in an endless state of flux, constantly bringing
in, and then losing, new members. Their 2006 album, the
hip-hop-influenced Transformations Live for the People, heralded the
arrival of two new players who brought vocals to the group’s previously
instrumental, “jamtronica” sound, but within a year those new members
were gone. One of those ex-members, guitarist Ben Combe, will sit in
with the band during this spring tour, another testament to the band’s
revolving door. The tour promises to revisit plenty of the band’s early
and rare material.
Fever Marlene w/ The Wildbirds, The Etiquette, Revision Text
and Kyle Feerick @ Bay View Brew Haus, 8 p.m.
In these cash-strapped
times, music programs are often among the first cut from schools.
Thankfully for the Bonos of tomorrow, music education happens to be near
and dear to the hearts of actual musicians, so there are usually plenty
of benefit concerts supporting the cause. Tonight’s show at the Bay
View Brew Haus is a fund-raiser for Red Bird, a Milwaukee program that
gives instruments to students who wouldn’t otherwise receive them.
Saturday, May 15
Bay Area punk songwriter Justin Champlin
doesn’t hide his love of The Ramones—the cover of his 2008 debut album
as Nobunny copies the aesthetic of the legendary punk band’s first
record. He does, however, hide his face. He performs wearing the most
horrifying rabbit mask outside of Donnie Darko, and his live antics are
similarly unnerving (he doesn’t always wear pants, and he can get a
little bit touchy with the crowd). Touring behind last year’s Raw
Romance, a cassette-only collection of Jay Reatard-esque garage-punk,
the mystery rabbit shares tonight’s bill with Lover!, Gut Reactions and
Trent Fox and The Tenants, while The Get Drunk DJs spin between-set
2Cents @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
The seminal nu-metal group Korn was so popular by the
late-’90s that their video for “Got the Life” became the first video
ever to be retired by MTV’s “Total Request Live.” Korn has struggled to
recapture those commercial and critical heights after the turn of the
century, however, confounding fans with unsure albums like 2007’s
Untitled, which downplayed the band’s usually funky assault in favor of
Beatlesque melodies and moody keyboards in the spirit of The Cure. Last
year, Korn returned to the studio with their original producer, Ross
Robinson, in hopes of recreating the energy that made them so popular a
decade ago. But given the departure of lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch
and drummer David Silveria, recreating that early sound may be
difficult. The new album, tellingly titled Korn III – Remember Who You
Are, is set for a July 13 release.
Basshunter w/ Steve
Aoki @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Sweden’s Basshunter (born Jonas
Altberg) gained international recognition in the Eurodance scene with
his 2007 album, Now You’re Gone, which spawned his most popular singles
so far, including “All I Ever Wanted.” The superstar producer shares
tonight’s Stellar Spark bill at the Rave with literally dozens of other
DJs and producers, including remix ringmaster and funky trendsetter
Steve Aoki, who was the Einstein of Dim Mak Records, which introduced
music junkies to Bloc Party, MSTRKRFT and The Bloody Beetroots. His
remixes of songs by Duran Duran, The Killers and Robin Thicke have
ricocheted throughout clubs and house parties on a global scale.
the Cable Guy @ The Riverside Theater, 5 and 8 p.m.
With his not-so-subtly racist, homophobic, red-state humor and a faked redneck accent, Larry the Cable Guy makes Jeff Foxworthy look tastefully sophisticated.
Born Daniel Whitney, Larry is a covert,
Confederate soldier from the culture wars disguised as an affable,
goofball comedian, on a mission to make the word “queer” as acceptable a
part of the American lexicon as his trademark catchphrase “git-r-done.”
In between major tours, Larry the Cable Guy has starred in a series of
low-budget (but highly profitable) comedy films like 2006’s confusingly
titled Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and 2008’s Witless
The Uptown Savages w/ Dyna Flo and Her Roadmasters @
Frank’s Power Plant, 10 p.m.
rockabilly band The Uptown Savages offers a respite from the
unseasonably dreary May that Milwaukee has endured so far with the
band’s annual hula party, now in its fifth year. The Savages invite
attendees to don Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts as the band and
openers Dyna Flo and Her Roadmasters pay homage to the vintage sounds of
It’s easy to
forget that the Goo Goo Dolls were once a punk band with a sound that
suggested a heavier update of their heroes, The Replacements. It was a
pair of sentimental, acoustic ’90s hits—“Name” and its identical cousin
“Iris”—that transformed the group into adult contemporary mainstays. The
softer sound, though, did little to disguise the darker songwriting of
singer/ guitarist John Rzeznik, whose lyrics dwelled on themes of
addiction and divorce. Next month the band releases its ninth album,
Something for the Rest of Us, which was toiled over with a host of
producers, including Butch Vig, John Fields and Rob Cavallo.
Monday, May 17
Stick Men @ Shank Hall, 8
With its processed, electronic sound, the Chapman Stick is one
of the most decidedly progrock instruments ever invented, a 10-string
guitar-like gizmo that can also be played like a bass or keyboard. Stick
Men is a trio that features not one but two Chapman Stick players: Tony
Levin, a prog player who has backed Pink Floyd, Yes, Alice Cooper and
Peter Gabriel, and Michael Bernier, a multi-instrumentalist known in
drum circles for his innovative techniques. The trio is rounded out by
percussionist Pat Mastelotto, who, like his band mate Levin, plays in
the latest incarnation of prog-rockers King Crimson.
Wednesday, May 19
Gregg Allman @ The Pabst
Theater, 8 p.m.
Gregg Allman’s solo career hasn’t always lived up to the high standards he set with his legendary Southern-rock band, The Allman Brothers. In fact, one of his early solo albums, Two the Hard Way, recorded with his then-wife Cher—yes, that Cher—is largely regarded as one of the worst albums of all time. But as Allman sobered up in the ’90s, he got his groove back, reforming the Allman Brothers to great acclaim, much of which came from a new generation of Phishera jam-music fans who hadn’t even been born during the Allman Brothers’ early run.