This Week in Milwaukee
Cheap Trick, MAM After Dark and School of Seven Bells
Thursday, Jan. 20
Cheap Trick @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
Cheap Trick followed up their breakthrough At Budokan album with a real curveball: 1979’s Dream Police, an ambitious concept album that gave their signature power-pop an epic makeover, layering on synthesizers and orchestrations. It went on to become one of their best-selling records. Cheap Trick will honor that album, playing it in its entirety along with other hits, during a 12-show extended engagement at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Northern Lights Theater that begins tonight and lasts through Feb. 26. Expect a massive sound: The band will be joined by a 25-piece symphony and choir.
JC Poppe Listening Party @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
During a busy 2010 that he spent blogging about the local hip-hop scene, promoting shows and managing a stable of local rappers, Milwaukee rapper JC Poppe continued to write and record his own material—enough of it, in fact, for two albums. At a listening party tonight, he’ll preview both of those records. Shadowlands, the more introspective and autobiographical of the two, documents Poppe’s history with the local rap scene and collects his thoughts on the state of rap. The politically charged Tea Party, meanwhile, is dominated by themes of social strife and ideological division. Both records are streaming on Bandcamp in advance of their Jan. 24 release. Kid Millions and DJ Bizzon will spin hiphop records throughout the night.
Friday, Jan. 21
MAM After Dark: MAD Hot @ Milwaukee Art Museum, 5 p.m.
Highlighted by a curator’s tour of prints and drawings by Rembrandt, Picasso and other art notables, the latest installment of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s after-hours celebration will also feature live Latin music from the Milwaukee band Cache, salsa dancing, a craft studio, photo booths, a cash bar and DJs from Radio Milwaukee.
Wiz Khalifa w/ Young Shotz @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
With a weed-mellowed fl ow reminiscent of a more alert, less introspective Kid Cudi, Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa has succeeded where most blog rappers have not: translating his early critical acclaim and underground buzz into genuine commercial success. His Stargate-produced Pittsburgh pride anthem “Black and Yellow” has been ubiquitous on both urban and pop stations for weeks, inspiring a slew of regional remakes, including the Packers rally cry “Green and Yellow” from Milwaukee rappers Pizzle and Prophetic. Now comes Wiz Khalifa’s next challenge: cementing a release date for his major-label debut on Atlantic Records.
Deflection w/ Mathew Haeffel @ Shank Hall, 10 p.m.
It’s not as groundbreaking as Radiohead’s pay-what-you-like distribution model, or as technologically cutting-edge as the innumerable albums posted for free streaming and download online, but Mathew Haeffel has settled on an agreeable, down-toearth way of distributing his debut album, Rhythm Ethics: Just ask him and he’ll give you a copy for free. The Milwaukee-born folk-pop songwriter’s sound mirrors that of John Mayer and Jason Mraz, right down to the gentle crooning and acoustic guitar. Tonight Haeffel warms the stage for Defl ection, a Milwaukee quartet that divides its set between hard-edged alternative rock and Coldplay-styled ballads. The $10 cover to this show includes a copy of Defl ection’s new CD.
Saturday, Jan. 22
Uptown Saturday Night @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
The Milwaukee vinyl-only label Dope Folks specializes in reissuing lost golden-age hip-hop to vinyl, and for its latest release the label has uncovered a local treasure: prime, out-of-print recordings from Milwaukee rapper Rock La Flow that date back to around 1994. Dope Folks will celebrate the release at the latest installment of its regular Uptown Saturday Night classic hip-hop spin, which this month plants itself at Stonefl y Brewery and will feature Rock La Flow’s producer, DJ Tory Tee, who will join the Dope Folks DJs to spin some of his favorite rap records.
Atlantic Wave @ House of Guinness, Waukesha, 9 p.m.
The members of Atlantic Wave hail from Milwaukee, but they specialize in the sounds of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton. The upbeat pulse of the mandolin, guitar and fi ddle provide the backbone for the band’s folky tunes, while singers Barry Houlehen and John Karr conjure images of rolling green hills and the old country. While heavy on traditionals, their sets also explore the less-mined corners of the Celtic songbook.
Sunday, Jan. 23
School of Seven Bells w/ Light Pollution @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
After playing with the band for seven years, Benjamin Curtis split from his space-rock group The Secret Machines, leaving behind his brother Brandon Curtis to launch a new project with twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, School of Seven Bells. The group’s 2008 debut album, Alpinisms, was an astute throwback to the early-’90s shoegaze of bands like Lush and My Bloody Valentine, but their 2010 follow-up Disconnect From Desire is harder to pin down, a heavily synthesized and more emotionally turbulent set that blends ethereal dream-pop and electronica. The album is the band’s last with Claudia Deheza, who left the group three months after its release.
Wednesday, Jan. 26
Miranda Cosgrove w/ Greyson Michael Chance @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
Building on the success of Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers, Disney expanded its teen-pop empire with Miranda Cosgrove, the School of Rock tot who went on to star in the mouse’s hit teen sitcom “iCarly.” Last spring Cosgrove released her debut album, Sparks Fly, a saccharine half-hour of flighty dance-pop that tames Ke$ha’s valley-girl assault for a younger audience. The 17-year-old shares the bill with YouTube sensation Greyson Michael Chance, a 13-year-old singer/pianist who is being primed as the next Justin Bieber after turning heads with a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”