This Week in Milwaukee
Holly Golightly, Young Widows and Neon Indian
FRIDAY, MAY 13
Datsik @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.
Born in British Columbia, Canada, Troy Beetles derived his DJ name from his Xbox Live gamertag, which he created in honor of notorious Russian fighter Viacheslav Datsik. Like his namesake, Datsik's dark, robotic blend of dubstep packs a bass-heavy punch. The music arose from his beginnings producing hip-hop tracks for rap artists, and though his primary genre and musical focus have changed, Datsik's current style credits the funky hype-hop flavor of his formative DJ years, such as his sinister sonic breakdown single “King Kong,” which remolds layers of spiraling, furtive beats upon a singular hook from the rapper Bare.
Green Sneakers @ Village Church Arts, 8 p.m.
Windfall Theatre presents the Milwaukee premiere of Green Sneakers, an “opera for baritone, empty chair, string quartet and piano” by Ricky Ian Gordon for a limited run May 13, 14, 20 and 21 in the company's performance space at the Village Church, 130 E. Juneau Ave. Gordon's songs have been championed by many of today's best-loved Broadway and opera stars. This 2008 song cycle is an intimate recounting of the composer coming to grips with the death of his partner from AIDS. Larry Birkett sings with a live ensemble.
SATURDAY, MAY 14
Mad Hot Ballroom @ Bradley Center, 9 a.m.
Nearly 2,000 fourth- through sixth-graders from 39 local schools will compete in the fifth annual, citywide Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap Competition at the Bradley Center.
Following the opening ceremony at 9 a.m., the young dancers will perform in age and style categories featuring Latin, swing and funky tap, with a final round at 12:45 p.m. The ballroom competition featuring waltz, salsa and swing begins at 2:30 p.m., with the final round at 5:30. Guest performers will appear throughout the day. The event is free and open to the public.
Asia @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
By the early '80s, prog-rock groups like King Crimson, Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer had folded, but players from those bands found a new home playing with the supergroup Asia, started by ex-King Crimson bassist John Wetton. Asia hit its commercial peak early when their self-titled 1982 debut album stayed at the No. 1 spot in the United States for nine weeks and yielded the hits “Only Time Will Tell” and “Heat of the Moment,” earning a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist of the Year. The band has continued to evolve in style and lineup, adding and subtracting members while experimenting with stripped acoustic sets and more progressive rock elements, but this tour reunites all four founding members.
Seether w/ Escape the Fate @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Seether may have formed in South Africa, but their hearts are in Seattle, from where they channel the grimier, hard-rockier side of grunge artists like Nirvana and Alice in Chains. Perpetually disgruntled singer Shaun Morgan filled his band's 2007 album, Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces, with piss and profanity, fuming at his ex-girlfriend, Evanesence singer Amy Lee, and assailing celebrity culture on the angry hit “Fake It.” The bad times keep coming on the group's upcoming album Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray, which will be released May 17. It is the band's first and last album with one-time Evanesence touring guitarist Troy McLawhorn, who left Seether on frosty terms amid unsubstantiated rumors (fanned by an angry Morgan via Twitter) that he was rejoining Evanesence.
SUNDAY, MAY 15
Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs @ Mad Planet, 8 p.m.
Holly Golightly's oft-cited credentials—her roots in the seminal garage-rock band Thee Headcoatees and her one-time ties to The White Stripes—don't do justice to the range of records that she makes. Golightly has honed a hyper-nostalgic (but decidedly non-kitschy) early-'60s sound, inspired not only by garage-rock but by the more wistful side of girl groups and, in particular, late-night country records. The singer continues to record at a fast clip. Her latest album, Medicine County, is her fourth in as many years that she recorded with the Brokeoffs, her duo with longtime tour mate Lawyer Dave.
Young Widows w/ My Disco, Sweet Cobra and SIVINI @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
One of the more accomplished members of a growing school of bands too young to remember firsthand the Big Black/Jesus Lizard movement of noise-rock, but happy to reimagine it, the Louisville, Ky., trio Young Widows has grown more austere with each record. Their 2008 sophomore album, Old Wounds, tempered some of the jumpiness of their 2006 debut, Settle Down City, and their new In and Out of Youth and Lightness is their most restrained yet, a record that conveys its edginess through unsettled guitars and stern, lowered voices rather than sheer volume.
TUESDAY, MAY 17
Joe Purdy @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Since producing his debut self-titled album in 2001, American folk singer-songwriter Joe Purdy has churned out 11 more records over the span of a decade, including three in 2006 alone. Purdy found exposure on soundtracks for TV shows including “Grey's Anatomy” and “Lost,” while his songs “I Love the Rain the Most” and “Can't Get It Right Today” became staples of TV commercials and sitcoms with their rolling, porchstyle guitar playing and wistful lyrics.
Purdy's most recent album, 2010's 4th of July, capitalizes on his relatable storytelling with a return to a more traditional folk sound.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 18
Rick Springfield @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
Rick Springfield's career began promisingly enough, with the handsome, young Australian singer-songwriter scoring kind reviews and early buzz with his 1972 debut, Beginnings, but a nasty payola scandal quickly tarnished Springfield's brand before he'd even established it, and the singer-songwriter spent the rest of the decade trying to reignite his career, with little success. He was so desperate that he began picking up side acting gigs to pay his bills, joining the cast of “General Hospital” in 1981—as fate would have it, just months before his album Working Class Dog blew up thanks to its hit single “Jessie's Girl.”
The combined exposure from his music videos and the soap opera established Springfield as one of the most prominent teen idols of the early '80s. A reliable touring draw after all these years, Springfield returns to Milwaukee for a four-night run through Saturday, May 21.
Neon Indian @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
As Neon Indian, 20-something Texan Alan Palomo makes lo-fi, danceable songs that are essentially Daft Punk tunes played over an 8-bit video game console. They click and pop in catchy, interesting ways, smothered in reverb, drowned in noise and washed in keyboards. That sound, captured on 2009's Psychic Chasms, made Palomo one of the most celebrated musicians of the so-called “chillwave” movement, and on the road Neon Indian has proved itself one of the few chillwave groups capable of translating their act into an engaging live show. This spring Neon Indian released a vinyl-only split collaborative EP with The Flaming Lips. Neon Indian
UFO w/ MindFlow @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m
One of UFO's best-known members, guitarist Michael Schenker, also of Scorpions, may have left the mothership a long time ago, but the seminal British hard-rock institution often cited as one of the forefathers of heavy metal has carried on, touring, re-releasing their classic albums, and recording some new ones that have energized old fans. In 2009 they celebrated their 40th anniversary with the album The Visitor, their 20th, which eschewed heavy-metal riffing in favor of scorching, bluesy hard-rock. The band is planning to release a follow-up this summer.