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Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010

This Week in Milwaukee

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Thursday, Dec. 23

The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis @ Milwaukee Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra would later update and amp up the same formula with some progged-out electric guitars, but Mannheim Steamroller was the fi rst outfi t to make a fortune modernizing Christmas classics for New Age listeners. Their synthesized and comically dramatic arrangements of traditionals like “Carol of the Bells” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” have become such seasonal hits that the group has recorded only three non-holiday albums since their 1984 Yuletide breakthrough Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Their latest album, 2008’s Christmasville, is their 10th Christmas-themed record.

Saturday, Dec. 25

Danny Price and The Loose Change w/ Erin and Dan @ Circle-A Café, 8 p.m.

Riverwest troubadour Danny Price writes morose tales about alcoholics, sinking ships and luckless crewmen, singing them with the stern conviction of Nick Cave and playing them for maximum catharsis. That’s not to say he’s a bummer, though. His band, The Loose Change, brightens his hardscrabble tunes with peppy, brassy arrangements and hopeful accents of heartland Americana. Following the group’s set, DJ Lemonie Fresh spins records at 10 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 26

Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Bradley Center, 3 and 7:30 p.m.

When the Trans-Siberian Orchestra debuted their symphonic take on Christmas music in the late-’90s, it sounded an awful lot like a novelty. In the years since, however, their progged-out, light-showassisted tours have become an enduring tradition—not to mention a lucrative one. The group’s recent tours have been raking in about $40 million a year, and the band has proved so popular that it split into two entities to better capitalize on the seasonal demand. The group doesn’t want to be entirely pigeonholed as a Christmas act, though. In 2009 they released their

Pat McCurdy @ Shank Hall, 9 p.m.

Logging about two dozen shows a month as a staple of pretty much every southeastern Wisconsin outdoor festival lineup and clubs throughout the Midwest, Pat McCurdy is one of Milwaukee’s most prolifi c performers. Riffi ng on the absurdities of modern life and spoofi ng traditional images of masculinity, his songs are essentially Tim Allen skits put to rock music, and they make ample use of crowd sing-alongs and call-and-response. That interaction has made his shows perpetually popular with col- second non-holiday allege crowds and festival audiences alike. bum, Night Castle. Paul O’Neill of Trans-Siberian Orchestra Le Noise 1956