This Week in Milwaukee
The Tossers, Semi-Twang and Huey Lewis and The News
THURSDAY, MARCH 17
The Tossers @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.
not as commercially successful in their genre as contemporaries the
Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, The Tossers formed years before
those bands, in 1993 in Chicago's Irish south side neighborhoods. Rowdy
and raucous, The Tossers' energetic approach imports the flair of a
raging Irish pub scene, replete with furious fiddles, banging banjos,
merry mandolins and truculent vocals distilled by malt whiskey. On a
Fine Spring Evening was released last year under their primary label,
Victory Records, and is the six-piece Celtic-punk outfit's eighth studio
Gaelic Storm @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
cameo in James Cameron's 1997 weeper Titanic—performing "An Irish Party
in Third Class" as the ship's steerage band—helped establish Gaelic
Storm as one of the more popular Celtic-rock touring acts. The bagpipe-
and bouzouki-assisted Santa Monica, Calif., quintet now plays over 125
shows a year and has released seven albums, the most recent of which was
last year's Cabbage.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18
Natalia Zukerman w/ Garrison Starr @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
into a family of musicians, Natalia Zukerman didn't follow the route of
her violinist father, Pinchas, or opera-singing sister, Arianna.
Instead, she took to influences Ani DiFranco and Joni Mitchell and
forged her own path in rustic Americana folk-jazz. Well versed in a
variety of guitar styles including slide and lap steel, Zukerman varies
her tempos and vocals to perform either bluesy roots ballads or swinging
roadhouse funk numbers. Zukerman is also a member of the band
Winterbloom, which formed with fellow folkies Antje Duvekot, Meg
Hutchinson and Anne Heaton in 2008. Gas Station Roses, Zukerman's fifth
album, dropped earlier this month.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18
The Fighter @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
O. Russell scored a critical hit with his 2010 boxing drama The
Fighter, earning seven Academy Award nominations, including supporting
acting wins for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (who beat co-star and
fellow nominee Amy Adams). The film was a labor of love for Mark
Wahlberg, who stars as working-class boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and worked
without a stunt double, taking real punches. The film screens for $5
tonight as part of Turner Hall Ballroom's "Beer and a Movie" series.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19
Semi-Twang w/ The Rocktails and Jeffrey Foucault @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
It's been 23 years since Milwaukee's country-rock band Semi-Twang last released a record.
album, 1988's Salty Tears, was intended to be the first of a
seven-album deal for Warner Bros. Records and made the band early heroes
of the burgeoning alt-country scene, but its modest sales limited the
group's time on the label. This week sees the release of Wages of Sin,
the long-awaited follow-up album from the reunited band, which has
played scattered shows in recent years around singer-songwriter John
Sieger's other projects. The new record takes on a harder, bluesier edge
than the group's long-ago debut, yet retains the same deep reverence
Milwaukee Admirals w/ Huey Lewis and The News @ The Bradley Center, 7 p.m.
Milwaukee Admirals conclude this season's post-game concert series with
a performance from Huey Lewis and The News following the team's match
against the Lake Erie Monsters. The soul-inspired rock band, best known
for '80s hits like "Hip to Be Square" and Back to the Future tieins "The
Power of Love" and "Back in Time," last year released its ninth studio
album, Soulsville, a tribute to Stax Records that draws from some of the
less obvious corners of the label's songbook.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19
The Constellations @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
the Atlanta soul/rock/hip-hop group The Constellations landed a home
on Virgin Records, they were receiving regular radio play in, of all
places, Milwaukee. Radio Milwaukee took an interest in the band,
spinning their Cee Lo-assisted single "Love Is a Murder," among other
tracks, and the group has repaid the favor, visiting the city regularly.
Last year saw the major-label re-release of their 2008 album Southern
Gothic, and a singles push for its Asher Roth collaboration "We're Here
to Save the Day," which has been licensed to TV shows including
"Chuck" and "The Vampire Diaries."
Brewcity Bruisers Roller Derby @ U.S. Cellular Arena, 7 p.m.
its feminist makeover last decade, roller derby has been on the rise
internationally, with leagues in over 20 countries. Aided by word of
mouth and some extra attention from the 2009 Ellen Page/Drew Barrymore
flick Whip It, the full-contact sport has been working its way to the
mainstream over the last few years. In cities like Milwaukee, D.I.Y.
roller derby bouts have grown into massive spectacles; last month the
city's Brewcity Bruisers broke an attendance record, drawing more than
3,500 people to its event at the U.S. Cellular Arena. The league will
try to top that record again with two bouts this evening, when the
Shevil Knevils take on the Crazy Eights and Maiden Milwaukee battles the
SUNDAY, MARCH 20
Walter Trout w/ Altered Five Band @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Jersey native Walter Trout began his professional guitar-playing
career during the '60s, backing up blues acts like Joe Tex and playing
as a member of Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. In 1989, he
founded his blues- and Southern-rock-minded Walter Trout Band and
began releasing a steady stream of albums with that group and its
offshoots. His latest record, 2010's slow-burning Common Ground, is his
20th as a solo artist or band leader.
TUESDAY, MARCH 22
Chick Singer Night @ Caroline's, 8 p.m.
over five years, Milwaukee's Chick Singer Night concert series has
been showcasing women singer-songwriters. The event's latest bill
touches on rock, jazz and country music, with performances from Ellen
Winters, Katie Smith, Jamie Brace and Charissa Mrowka, a 14-year-old
country singer and guitarist. Despite its name, the event isn't a
womenonly affair. Guys will back some of the performers as the Chick
Singer Night Band, and singer-songwriter Jim Bohn will perform during
the show's "Are You Man Enough" segment.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23
Patty Larkin @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Patty Larkin grew up with the piano, but became an eminent guitar
player after teaching herself in high school and then honing her
jazz-based style at the Berklee College of Music. Larkin's urban-infused
folk-pop hinges on inventive, spellbinding guitar spirals that aptly
frame her tale-telling. In 1985, Larkin released her first album, Step
into the Light, but she didn't crack the Billboard charts until 2003's
Red=Luck. Two years later, Larkin produced the collaboration album La
Guitara, a collection of songs by accomplished women guitarists.
Released last March, her most recent album, 25, contains 25 new tracks
as a tribute to her 25th anniversary as a professional recording artist.