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Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010

This Week in Milwaukee

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Friday, Nov. 26

Semi-Twang and The Delta Routine @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

Semi-Twang was one of Milwaukee’s great hopes in the ’80s, when Warner Bros. Records signed the acclaimed alt-country band and then released its 1988 album, Salty Tears. Though it was a critical success, the album wasn’t the commercial blockbuster many in the local scene had hoped, and the group soon moved on to new endeavors. Semi-Twang only plays rare reunion shows these days, but singer-songwriter John Sieger has continued recording with The Subcontinentals. Milwaukee openers The Delta Routine conjures the sound of vintage Rolling Stones and early punk bands like The Stooges and New York Dolls.

Lighting of the Whale @ Milwaukee Public Museum, 11:30 a.m.

Anybody can light a tree, but this morning the Milwaukee Public Museum lights something far more novel: the gigantic skeleton of the humpback whale that hangs over its grand staircase. The whale will remain lit throughout the holiday season— it’s a reminder of how wonderfully bizarre Milwaukee can be. (For a more traditional holiday celebration, the Pfi ster Hotel is hosting its tree-lighting ceremony tonight at 5 p.m., complete with hot cocoa and Santa Claus photo opportunities.)

DRUMLine Live @ Milwaukee Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Building on the Southern black collegiate tradition popularized by the hit 2002 Nick Cannon movie Drumline, DRUMLine Live features 35 instrumentalists and fi ve dancers, playing out like the most epic college football halftime show ever. Included in the troupe are students and alums of colleges like Florida A&M, North Carolina Central University and Southern University. The program catalogs popular African-American music forms, beginning with the 1930s and working through ’60s Motown and on to modern hip-hop.



Richie Hawtin w/ Gaiser, Dela, Jason Patrick and Adulture @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.

Recording under a multitude of aliases, but most notoriously as Plastikman, Richie Hawtin has been a pioneer of electronic music since the late ’80s, when he was a teenager border-hopping his way into the Detroit techno scene from Ontario. Maintaining his position as co-owner of Plus 8 Records alongside fellow Canadian John Acquaviva, Hawtin continues to enhance electronic music by running a stable of international DJs who build on the Detroit sound and push the boundaries of audio and visual stimulation.



Saturday, Nov. 27

Art vs. Craft @ Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Showcasing primarily young designers, Art vs. Craft is an art fair rife with silk-screened posters, tiny jewelry, ornaments, stationery, one-of-a-kind toys and precious paintings of birds. Each of the 60-plus vendors, a mix of Milwaukee and national artists, has been hand-selected, every product is independently made and the prices skew low, making this event a destination for both DIY craft enthusiasts and holiday shoppers on the lookout for unique gifts. Among the local vendors are Beth Eaton Pottery, Midwest Needles, The Little Friends of Printmaking, Milwaukee Beersoap, Rustbelt Fiberwerks, Christina Ward Creatures, Wiskullsin and Delia Sophia’s Handmade Wood Cutting Boards.

Songs for the Soul @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 8:30 p.m.

For the second year in a row, Linneman’s Riverwest Inn hosts a Thanksgiving weekend charity singer-songwriter showcase featuring some of the city’s most distinct folk- and roots-music enthusiasts. This year’s lineup includes Lisa Gatewood, Quinn Scharber, Jonathan Burks, Wolfgang Schaefer, Lisa Ridgely, JoAnn Riedl, Rob Hansen, Christopher Porterfi eld (of Conrad Plymouth) and Allen Cote (of The Championship). All money collected at the door goes to the Hunger Task Force.

Will Durst w/ Richard Halasz and Art Kumbalek @ The Railroad Station, 8 p.m.

Milwaukee-born political satirist Will Durst has weighed in on the fractured state of the country for The New York Times, NPR and CNN, where he’s a semi-regular guest, though his soapbox of choice is the Internet, where he posts regular commentary. In his first book, 2008’s The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing, and on his new CD, Raging Moderate, Durst takes shots at both political parties. “Why do you think the Democrats are so intent on passing the stem cell bill?” he asks in one typical zinger, “They’re depending on that research to generate a spine.” Obama’s struggles, the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin’s unending stream of foibles should give him plenty of material to work with tonight, when he shares a show with comedian Richard Halasz and the Shepherd’s own Art Kumbalek at the Railroad Station in Saukville, 200 S. Railroad St.

Sunday, Nov. 28

Hawthorne Heights w/ Blackbox, Project Hero and The Break @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

Hawthorne Heights has far more reason to feel angst about their relationships than any of their emo brethren. The Dayton, Ohio-based quintet is at the center of a nasty, litigious split from the notorious label Victory Records that is still festering years later. In a story that brought the band considerable bad publicity, the label told street-team volunteers to sabotage a Ne-Yo album released the same day as Hawthorne Heights’ sophomore effort, allegedly authorizing the mayhem without the band’s consent. If 2006’s If Only You Were Lonely was marred by over-aggressive business tactics, its 2008 follow-up, Fragile Future, was more tragically cursed by the death of backup screamer Casey Calvert after he accidentally overdosed on prescription medications. Though they’re still obligated to give Victory two more albums, this summer Hawthorne Heights released their fi rst album for Wind-Up Records, Skeletons, which returns the band to the harder sound of their early releases.



Tuesday, Nov. 30

Shinedown w/ Will Hoge @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.

Treading closely to Nickelback’s mix of chest-beating post-grunge and skyscraping, vaguely Christian ballads, Florida hard-rockers Shinedown scored their highest-charting album yet with 2008’s The Sound of Madness, thanks to the WWE-hyped single “Devour,” a song that embodies the sound that critics have derisively tagged as “buttrock.” This month Shinedown released an expanded CD/DVD reissue of that album with nine bonus tracks.