This Week in Milwaukee
Sharon Van Etten, Robert Plant and Ra Ra Riot
THURSDAY, APRIL 7
Sharon Van Etten w/ Little Scream and Juniper Tar @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten built on the achy, sparsely adorned folk sound of her 2009 album Because I Was in Love on last year's follow-up, Epic, a
short but near-perfect record that fitted her with a full backing band.
The result was a tougher, more assured collection that retained the
emotional charge of her debut but added a bit more of a bite, with Van
Etten putting her intense voice to use on pointed songs about bouncing
back from a truly terrible relationship. More recently Van Etten sang on
The National song "Think You Can Wait." She's working with Aaron
Dessner from that band on her next album. The Pabst Theater presents her
concert tonight for free.
Over The Rhine @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
the Rhine, the long-running husband-and-wife duo of Karin Bergquist and
Linford Detweiler, plays subtle, atmospheric alternative pop that, over
the years, has taken on a restrained, rootsy chill (perhaps the result
of the couple's side gigs as sometimes-members of the Cowboy Junkies),
as well as a whiff of jazz. Named for the historical Cincinnati district
where they got their start, the group has released 13 albums of
smoldering vocals, plinking pianos and rustic, plucked guitars, the
latest of which is this year's The Long Surrender.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8
Kramp & Adler Comedy Festival @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
hard not to note the irony that FM 102.1 DJs Kramp and Adler's comedy
bill includes Eugene Mirman, who may be best-known locally as the "I
have a radio inside my finger" spokesman for rival station 94.5 FM The
Lake. Of course, in the years since he filmed those TV spots, Mirman has
emerged as one of stand-up's funniest (and most surreal) acts, and has
made hilarious contributions to TV programs including "Flight of the
Conchords" and "Bob's Burgers." He shares this bill with Kristen Schaal,
his co-star from both of those shows, and veteran comedian and podcast
host Marc Maron.
Tiësto w/ DJ JSlay @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
first turned heads in the '90s with DJ sets that frequently ran over
six hours long, Dutch DJ and producer Tiësto mixes sinewy trance tracks
with throbbing drum and bass. His style has evolved significantly since
his modest acid-house beginnings, as he has incorporated bigger,
glossier sounds into each album. His most recent records, 2007's Elements of Life and 2009's Kaleidoscope, doubled down on contemporary electronic rhythms and guest vocals. Kaleidoscope features
contributions from Nelly Furtado, Bloc Party's Kele Okereke, Tilly and
the Wall's Kianna Alarid and Sigur Rós singer Jónsi.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Movits! w/ Plight of a Parasite and Gypsy Kitchen @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
the pundits he lampoons, Stephen Colbert often boasts of his own clout,
priding himself on a phenomenon he calls "The Colbert Bump," the
increased interest in a person or product after it has been mentioned on
his program. One of the oddest recipients of that bump has been
Movits!, a Swedish hip-hop band featured on "The Colbert Report." The
response was great enough that Comedy Central Records released the
group's debut album, Äppelknyckarjazz. The group's affiliation with
Comedy Central is a mixed blessing. It's given them excellent exposure,
but it also suggests that their mix of old-fashioned swing music and
modern hip-hop (recited entirely in Swedish) is more of a shtick than it
8th Annual Oyster Roast for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society @ Harley Davidson Museum, 6 p.m.
roasts are more of a southern tradition than a Midwestern one, but
Milwaukee's annual benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society puts a
local spin on the tradition by incorporating motorcycles and beer.
Tickets to this fundraiser are $75 and include all-you-can-eat South
Carolina oysters, a Cajun buffet and live music. There will also be a
silent auction that includes a Florence The Machine package, with
tickets to the band's July 6 Marcus Amphitheater show with the Black
Keys and a backstage meet-and-greet with the band.
Legends of Hip-Hop @ Milwaukee Theatre, 8 p.m.
had to happen eventually. Rap music gets the oldies revue treatment on
Salt-n-Pepa's Legends of Hip-Hop Tour, which pairs the groundbreaking
'80s and '90 female hip-hop duo (and their longtime DJ Spinderella) with
genre pioneers Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and Naughty By
Nature. Between them, expect a night of old-school hip-hop hits,
including "Push It," "Whatta Man," "The Show," "Go See the Doctor,"
"O.P.P." and "Hip Hop Hooray."
MONDAY, APRIL 11
Robert Plant and the Band of Joy w/ North Mississippi Allstars @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
Zeppelin singer Robert Plant has played with several incarnations of
the blues-folk group Band of Joy since the 1960s, most recently
reforming the band last year with a completely new lineup to support him
on his solo album Band of Joy. The new record is a continuation of Plant's Grammy-winning 2007 collaboration with bluegrass belle Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, that
pushes Plant's rustic roots-rock into some darker territory. With his
gift for making even the most unlikely covers sound like lost American
traditionals, Plant gives haunting, folky makeovers to songs by Los
Lobos, Richard and Linda Thompson and, most unexpectedly, slowcore
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13
Ra Ra Riot w/ Generationals and Scars on 45 @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Ra Riot couldn't help but attract comparisons to another young, chipper
indie-rock band charming New York college campuses around the same
time, Vampire Weekend, and even the most casual listeners couldn't help
but notice how closely singer Wes Miles' fluttering voice mirrors that
of Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig. The indie-pop sextet distinguishes
itself, though, with string-heavy, bouncy baroque arrangements. Those
joyful arrangements grew denser and more elaborate on the band's 2010
sophomore album, The Orchard, which was mixed by Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla.
Jon McLaughlin w/ Serita Cheeks @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
On his 2007 album Indiana, pop-rock
singer Jon McLaughlin carved lovelorn songs with soft Christian-rock
undertones out of light acoustic guitars and sighing pianos. He revamped
his image drastically, though, in the aftermath of his Academy
Award-nominated contribution to the movie Enchanted, "So Close." For his 2008 album OK Now, he
ditched his farm-boy singer-song- writer persona to reinvent himself as
a commercial-pop star. The record was buffed to a bright, electro-pop
sheen by Jonas Brothers producer John Fields.
My Chemical Romance w/ Neon Trees @ The Rave, 7:30 p.m.
greatly from their beginnings as a hardcore emo band, New Jersey's My
Chemical Romance has gone glam on recent albums, creating arena-minded
alt-rock epics little like anything else on modern-rock radio. The
band's latest concept album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, continues in the spirit of 2006's lofty theatrical Queen homage The Black Parade. The
new album plays a bit like a sci-fi musical, with defiant rock anthems
and righteous, anticorporate lyrics. Openers Neon Trees play danceable
pop-rock in the vein of The Killers.