This Week in Milwaukee
ICP, The Morning Benders and Ghostface Killah
Thursday, Oct. 28
Insane Clown Posse w/ Axe Murder Boyz @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
For the better part of a decade, mass culture was mostly unaware of the thriving “Juggalo” subculture that evolved around fans of the rapping-clown group Insane Clown Posse, but that changed this year when the earnest, unintentionally funny video for the group’s “Miracles” became a viral Internet hit, spawning a “Saturday Night Live” parody. In the song, the face-painted rappers pay tribute to the marvels of the world, including the sun, butterflies, rainbows and, most memorably, magnets. The newfound interest in Juggalo culture resulted in increased media coverage of the band’s annual Gathering of the Juggalos festival this summer, though much of it was condescending, and the sight of outsiders mocking Insane Clown Posse’s lower-class fans reeked of classism at its most mean-spirited.
CSI: Milwaukee @ Discovery World
Instead of sitting in front of the television while Milwaukee Public Schools are closed this Thursday and Friday, learn the difference between crime fighting on TV and crime fighting in real life at one of Discovery World’s most interesting events of the year, CSI: Milwaukee. With the cooperation of the FBI, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, and the MATC Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement program, participants are invited to “investigate” a mock crime scene, after which a trained detective will explain how crimes are investigated and solved. In the crime lab, forensic scientists will teach you how to lift, record and read fingerprints, as well as explore DNA investigative techniques, just like Lt. Horatio Caine. (Through Saturday, Oct. 30.)
Night of the Living Dead: The Puppet Show @ The Oriental Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
The ability to work in multiple mediums is the sign of a truly great story, so it’s not surprising that George Romero’s 1968 zombie masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead, has been so frequently reimagined by both cartoons and comic books. Since 2007, the story has been told in an even less conventional format: through puppets. Milwaukee’s Angry Young Men performance troupe has condensed the film into a 30-minute live romp that doesn’t skimp on the gore. They perform tonight with two opening acts: the silent-film recreation troupe The M.U.T.E.S., and the variety show Dead Man’s Carnival.
Friday, Oct. 29
Elusive Parallelograms w/ The Last Rhino and Molehill @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
Drawing from the psychedelic jangle of ’80s underground-rock bands and the electric charge of ’90s alternative rockers, Milwaukee’s Elusive Parallelograms turned out a set of snappy, unpredictable pop rock on their 2008 full-length debut, And Everything Changes. They’ve finished tracking their follow-up, Modern Splendor, which they hope to release early next year, and they’ll preview some of that new material at tonight’s show.
With an assist from co-producer Chris Taylor, on loan from Grizzly Bear, on their latest album, Big Echo, San Francisco’s The Morning Benders moved beyond the sunshine-baked ’60s pop throwbacks of their 2008 debut. Big Echo is a moodier record, replacing recycled Brian Wilson tricks with the kind of novel sonic details and atmospheric production that makes Grizzly Bear’s records so distinct. The Morning Benders are joined on this bill by the New York experimental dream-pop band Twin Sister, which this spring released the joyous EP Color Your Life for free through their website.
Saturday, Oct. 30
Mumford & Sons w/ Cadillac Sky and King Charles @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m. (sold out)
London’s polished, photogenic answer to America’s more organic roots revival bands, the hard-strumming quartet Mumford & Sons has launched its inaugural stateside tour behind the American release of its debut album, Sigh No More. That record super-sized the intimate, rootsy ramblings of bands like Fleet Foxes and the Avett Brothers to arenafi lling proportions, even earning Mumford & Sons comparisons to large-scale bands like Kings of Leon (a group that, to say the least, rarely gets mentioned when describing the modern folk revival).
Producer Markus Dravs recorded the album, imbuing it with the same restless drama and emotional crescendos he captured on the last two Arcade Fire albums.
Gogol Bordello @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m. (sold out) New York’s Gogol Bordello, one of the wildest world-fusion acts, fuses the accordions and fiddles of traditional Romani Gypsy music with the combustible energy of punk rock. Their 2005 album coined a fitting term for their hybrid: Gypsy punk. Think of theirs as international drinking music: a hodgepodge of Bulgarian and Slovakian sounds with crashing percussion and a Pogues-like love for call-and-response with the crowd.
Jonathan Burks w/ The Trusty Knife and Crappy Dracula @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
If his lyrics are to be taken as truth, Milwaukee folk-rocker Jonathan Burks is what you’d call a “functioning alcoholic”—high-functioning, even, considering that this year he has released two full-length albums. Tonight Burks celebrates the release of his new Red Pulpy Mess, his follow-up to Loudmouth Soup. It’s another collection of rugged, unsteady and consistently clever honky-tonk weepers about booze, heartbreak and their frequent intersection.
Sunday, Oct. 31Meridene w/ Blessed Feathers @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9:30 p.m.
from Eau Claire’s tightknit music scene, Meridene recorded their new
sophomore album, Something Like Blood, at Justin Vernon’s increasingly
prominent April Base studios, though the quartet owes more to Death Cab
for Cutie’s jittery guitar-pop than Vernon’s ethereal folk. The album is
a throwback to indie-rock as it existed at the turn of the century:
hooky, immediate and unpretentious.
GWAR w/ The Casualties, Infernaeon and Mobile Death Camp @ The Rave, 7:30 p.m.
Shock-metal heroes GWAR will be webcasting their Halloween concert tonight at the Rave as a pay-per-view event, so expect even more fake blood from the costumed satirists than usual. In advance of their upcoming album Bloody Pit of Horror, members of the band will host a signing and judge a GWAR costume contest before the show at the Exclusive Co., 5026 S. 74th St., at 5 p.m.
Young Jeezy w/ Twista @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
Rapping, as always, like he’s too damn busy slinging product to pop a throat lozenge, Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy scored one of his biggest and best singles to date this summer with his thundering “Lose My Mind,” though the long-delayed album that song is to be featured on, Thug Motivation 103, is still without a hard release date. That hasn’t stopped the querulous rapper from releasing a trio of strong mixtapes this year, though. Tonight Jeezy shares a Halloween bill with one-time fastest rapper in the world Twista, whose sprinting fl ow is in strong contrast to Jeezy’s methodical grunt.
Tuesday, Nov. 2
Ghostface Killah @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Though few in the ’90s would have pegged him to become the Wu-Tang Clan’s hottest commodity, Ghostface Killah always stood out for his excitable delivery and his detailed, by-the-neck storytelling. In the last decade he’s proven himself the most consistent Wu- Tang member, releasing 2006’s instant-classic Fishscale and interesting oddities like last year’s Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, an absurdist R&B record. Ghostface is said to be working on three new albums, the fi rst of which, The Apollo Kids, could see release as early as December.