This Week in Milwaukee
Friday, June 4
Verge Music Festival @ Summerfest Grounds, 5 p.m.
Summerfest’s inaugural, two-day
alternative music festival Verge kicks off with an opening day topped by
the brooding alt-metal/post-grunge group Three Days Grace, who are
supported on the main stage by Eagles of Death Metal and Crash Kings.
The side stage offers a softer alternative, with a 9 p.m. set by She
& Him, the folk-pop project from independent-film pixie Zooey
Deschanel and guitarist M. Ward. Some Milwaukee bands also brighten the
lineup, including Red Knife Lottery, The Wildbirds, The Championship and
Thursday, June 3
1995, young and mostly unknown folk-pop singer-songwriter Jewel released
her debut, Pieces of You, which went on to become one of the
best-selling debut albums of all time, earning the singer three Grammy
nominations and three hit singles (“You Were Meant for Me,” “Who Will
Save Your Soul” and “Foolish Games”). In the decadeplus since, Jewel has
thrown mostly curveballs, releasing a 2003 dance-pop album, 0304; a
mainstream country record, 2007’s Perfectly Clear; and last year a
bizarre children’s album issued through Fisher-Price, Lullaby. Set for
release next week, Jewel’s upcoming album Sweet and Wild is another
country record, complete with a cover photo that shows the singer dolled
up like an extra from “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
The Juan MacLean @ Moct, 10 p.m.
The Juan MacLean beat-maker John
MacLean came to dance music relatively late in Freeway life,
after spending the ’90s with the experimental punk band Six Finger
Satellite, but he’s since gone on to prove himself to be one of
electronic music’s most staunch traditionalists, recording studied
throwbacks to disco and late-’80s house without the hint of winking
irony that his DFA Records affiliation might suggest. Last year MacLean
burnished his house credentials with a mix for the !K7 DJ-Kicks series,
which proved him as versed in modern dance music as the classics, and
should lay the foundation for the DJ set MacLean will perform tonight.
John McLaughlin and The Rogues w/ Brew City Bombshells, God’s Outlaw and Uncle Larry @ The Miramar Theatre, 8:40 p.m.
composer who has earned a reputation for his moody contributions to
underground films, John McLaughlin’s latest project is a bluesy,
vaudevillian band. John McLaughlin and The Rogues recreate the eerie
spirit of early black-and-white films, conjuring antique jazz and
Americana with dusty upright bass, violin and accordion. Tonight, the
band marks the release of its debut album, Short Stories, a project
spawned by McLaughlin’s soundtrack work for an independent film called
Bitch. The bill includes performances from the Brew City Bombshells
burlesque troupe and sets from the country and rock bands God’s Outlaw
and Uncle Larry.
Kris Allen @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Idol” runner-up Crystal Bowersox can take solace in knowing that
sometimes the real winner of the show isn’t the contestant who receives
the most votes. Last season, for instance, the flamboyant Adam Lambert
was bested by nice-guy Kris Allen in an upset that sparked conspiracy
theories about “Idol” vote fixing, yet it was Lambert who went on to
release a hit album, dominating headlines and magazine covers, while
Allen quietly promoted his modestselling record. While Lambert broke out
as the real star of “American Idol’s” eighth season, Allen has set
about positioning himself as a career musician, co-writing most of his
record and singing laid-back soft-pop that seeks not so much to storm
the charts as to simply reward the loyalty of Kris Allen the fans
who voted for him.
Saturday, June 5Verge Music Festival @ Summerfest Grounds, 2 p.m.
The Verge Music Festival saves
its biggest headliner for its second night: Weezer, the iconic ’90s
power-pop band that emerged from a late-’90s hiatus for an impressive
run of hit singles from albums that sometimes disappointed longtime
fans, but just as often earned them new ones. Punk staples AFI
co-headline, along with indie-rockers Rogue Wave and The Raveonettes,
alt-rockers Cold War Kids and Manchester Orchestra, and support from
local acts including Juniper Tar, Figureheads, Invade Rome, Pezzettino,
Jaill and Revision Text.
more than a decade of service to the hardcore rap game, Memphis rappers
Three 6 Mafia broke out in a decidedly commercial direction with 2003’s
Da Unbreakables, toning down the blunt violence of early albums to prove
themselves commercial players. That album’s success seemed quaint,
however, compared to the response to their 2005 song for the film Hustle
& Flow, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” That song made them the
first rap act to win an Academy Award, and the group’s award-show
performance ranks high among the most memorable Oscar moments of the
last decade. Following recent tradition, Three 6 Mafia’s upcoming 10th
album, Laws of Power, promises plenty of crossover appeal, thanks to
contributions from hit-makers Dr. Luke, Mouth Kevin of the Rudolf,
Architect Flo Rida and Sean Kingston.
Monday, June 7
Trashcan Sinatras w/ The
Candles @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Part of a spate of Scottish
indie-pop bands that emerged in the late-’80s, Trashcan Sinatras
released a string of blissful, clean-cut guitar-pop records at a time
when radio was beginning to favor modern-rock with a grittier edge.
Despite all the critical accolades they invited, commercial success
eluded them, and they slowed down after their 1996 album A Happy Pocket.
Recent years have seen a pair of new albums, 2004’s Weightlifting and
their latest release, In the Music, a softer collection featuring an
unlikely guest spot from Carly Simon. The band is working on a
compilation of rare, early material for possible release later this
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros w/ Dawes @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
With dreams of a permanent summer of love, Los
Angeles musician Alex Ebert of the dance-punk band Ima Robot reinvented
himself as his messiah-like alter ego Edward Sharpe and formed a merry
band of ’60s fetishists. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ wildly
lovable 2009 debut, Up From Below, updates the flower-power chants of
The Mamas & The Papas with flashes of Arcade Fire grandeur and
Polyphonic Spree’s stage-filling showmanship, which made them an
immediate live draw. Last year they packed a sweaty sold-out show at
Club Garibaldi; they return to Milwaukee tonight to the much larger
Tuesday, June 8
Damien Jurado w/ Kay Kay
and His Weathered Underground and Conrad Plymouth @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
Since the mid-’90s, Seattle’s Damien Jurado has been recording pretty songs about ugly emotions, sung in a husky voice that suits his blunt lyrics. After a series of buzzed-about cassette-only releases in the ’90s, he cemented his reputation as one of indie-rock’s great songwriters with a trio of turn-of-the-century releases for Sub Pop, including his breakthrough Rehearsals for Departure, and he’s since recorded at a steady clip, issuing four strong discs for Secretly Canadian over the last five years. His latest, Saint Bartlett, is among his most lavishly orchestrated, supplementing Jurado’s pining folk songs with string arrangements that suggest a small-scale Flaming Lips.