This Week in Milwaukee
Ice Cube, Cold War Kids and Call Me Lightning
THURSDAY, MARCH 10
Keller Williams @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Williams generates a sound much bigger than that of the typical one-man
band. The touring troubadour uses live looping to layer multiple
instruments over each other, creating perpetually morphing suites of
jazzy funk and acoustic rock that have made him a novelty in the
has also shown more of an interest in the studio than many of his jam
counterparts. Since his 1994 debut, Freek, he has released more than a
dozen records, including a 2010 kids' album titled, fittingly enough,
FRIDAY, MARCH 11
Beer and a Movie: Reservoir Dogs @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Turner Hall Ballroom premieres its "Beer and a Movie" series with a
screening of Quentin Tarantino's 1992 directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs.
A heist movie without an actual heist, the fi lm introduced many of
Tarantino's trademarks: a nonlinear narrative, shocking violence and
glib, larger-than-life characters with epic stretches of dialogue.
Future screenings in the series include Inception (March 12), The
Fighter (March 18) and Clerks (March 25).
Arumim @ Artist and Display, 7 p.m.
of artists paint to music, but the Netherlands' Tali Farchi and
Michigan's Royce Deans have turned the act into performance art. As
Arumim, they make improvisational paintings in response to live music.
For tonight's show at Artist and Display, 9015 W. Burleigh St., they'll
be painting to the sounds of local musicians Matthew Riebe and Tony
Smith. Farchi will also host two painting-with-music workshops at Artist
and Display on Saturday, March 12.
The Spinners @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
they were born of Detroit and initially signed to Motown, The Spinners
were mostly ignored by the legendary Motor City label, even after the
1970 success of their Stevie Wonder-penned hit "It's a Shame." It was
only after Atlantic Records and the visionary Philly soul producer Thom
Bell adopted the group in the '70s that The Spinners went on to record
some of the biggest soul hits of their era, including "I'll Be Around,"
"Could It Be I'm Falling In Love," "One of a Kind (Love Affair)" and
"The Rubberband Man." The group never stopped touring, even after their
reign on the charts had ended by 1980, and although in the last decade
they've suffered the deaths of several members, they still tour with
original vocalists Bobby Smith and Henry Fambrough.
The Sandcarvers w/ Green Tea @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
The Sandcarvers categorize themselves as a Celtic music band, aside
from some sly Irish lyrical jargon or the occasional wind instrument
cameo, they don't much abide by the conventions of the genre—at least
not these days. The Sandcarvers began as a more traditional Celtic act
on their album This Time Around, but ramped up the vocals and guitar
riffs for a sound more attuned to alternative rock on their next two
releases, Dealin' Craic and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, records replete with
churlish Irish innuendo and fast-paced rock riffs in the style of The
SATURDAY, MARCH 12
DJ Abilities w/ Kid Millions @ MOCT, 9 p.m.
DJ Abilities is now on the road as an unwilling solo artist, following
the tragic death of his longtime collaborator, battle rapper Eyedea,
last October. As Eyedea & Abilities, the two left behind a rich
recorded legacy, including a spry self-titled 2004 album and a darker,
grunge-inspired 2009 album, By the Throat. The last album is a near
masterpiece, albeit one that's diffi cult to listen to in the wake of
Eyedea's drug overdose. It's haunted by lyrics that read like suicide
Ice Cube @ The Rave, 8:30 p.m.
his trifecta of essential early-'90s albums—AmeriK- KKa's Most Wanted,
Death Certifi cate and The Predator—Ice Cube established himself as the
most controversial fi gure in rap, shocking the public with unforgiving,
vicious takes on race relations. Nobody could have predicted that such
an incendiary fi gure would go on to star in such family-friendly movies
as Are We There Yet? Between his frequent acting gigs Ice Cube has
continued to cut records at a decent clip. On his latest, 2010's I Am
the West, he makes the case that Hollywood hasn't changed him while
rapping over contemporary beats by producers including Tha Bizness,
Bangladesh and The Fliptones.
Cold War Kids w/ A Lull @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
Cold War Kids' breakout debut album, 2006's Robbers & Cowards, the
Long Beach quartet's signature clanging piano keys, off-kilter guitar
and murky bass notes collude with Nathan Willett's soaring, gospel-like
vocals for an unusually raw and soulful listen. Recreating that "Hang Me
Up to Dry" magic has proved difficult for the group, however. The
band's politically minded 2008 follow-up, Loyalty to Loyalty, was
overbearingly loud and bluesy, lacking their debut's finesse, and their
new record, Mine Is Yours, suffers from the opposite problem. Willett's
throaty squall has settled into an easygoing Tracy Chapman emulation,
and the band's jarring instrumentation has mellowed into a barely there,
Joe Bonamassa @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Joe Bonamassa has had a long and storied career for a player who is
still in his early 30s, but he benefited from an early start. He began
playing at age 8, and by 12 he was already opening for B.B. King. Though
born and raised in Utica, N.Y., Bonamassa shreds through the blues more
like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and other British guitarists than any of
his American predecessors. Perhaps for that reason, his albums have
fared better on the U.K. charts than in the United States. He plays this
show in advance of his latest studio album, Dust Bowl, slated for
release on March 22.
SUNDAY, MARCH 13
Fishbone @ Miramar Theatre, 8 p.m.
the most singular American ska act of the '80s, Fishbone fused the
hyperactive rhythms of ska with the freaky, oddball spectacle of vintage
Parliament-Funkadelic performances. And the band's sound only grew
heavier and weirder throughout the '90s. Their output slowed
considerably around the turn of the century amid record-label turmoil
and a slew of lineup changes. The band's latest album is 2006's Still
Stuck in Your Throat, a typically manic set of ska-punk.
Eilen Jewell @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
native Eilen Jewell began her music career 12 years ago as a college
student playing in bars, becoming a constant presence in the Boston-area
music scene after teaming up with drummer Jason Beek. Together, they
created a return-totradition form of Americana country blues on the 2006
album Boundary County. Breezy folk tales and spunky instrumental
arrangements draw emotion from Jewell's forlorn singing and the
clip-clopping of Beek's percussion. Jewell's latest album, Sea of Tears,
further plays on these motifs, drawing deeper from the dark soul music
of the '60s.
MONDAY, MARCH 14
Call Me Lightning w/ Holy Shit @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.
celebrates its 30th anniversary with a slew of sponsored concerts
throughout the week of March 14, among them several free local
showcases, including this bill, which joins the epic, Who-inspired local
punk trio Call Me Lightning with the nimble hardcore group Holy Shit.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16
The Dirty Heads @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
they've been playing reggae-rock together in some form since 1996, The
Dirty Heads only recently made a commercial dent, with last year's
summertime hit "Lay Me Down." That song's Sublime-esque feel was no
coincidence: Its guest vocals came from Sublime's replacement singer and
Bradley Nowell sound-alike Rome Ramirez, whose merry chorus played off
the band's island-themed grooves and Dustin "Duddy" Bushnell's