This Week in Milwaukee
Hot Blind Debates, The Fatty Acids and Pearl Jam
THURSDAY, SEPT. 1
Hot Blind Debates @ Riverwest Public House, 7 p.m.
An adult spin on the classic high-school debate club format, Milwaukee's Hot Blind Debates adds an extra element of uncertainty (debaters are selected at random) and a whole lot of booze (spectators are given kazoos or confetti and encouraged to be loud). A fund-raiser for the nonprofit anti-poverty microlending group Kiva, the inaugural event pits debaters against each other on issues both heavy (religion and education) and less so (Riverwest vs. Bay View and Nicolas Cage vs. R. Kelly). The winners of each round advance to debate unannounced topics in a mystery round, and one will be crowned “Milwaukee's Master Debater.”
FRIDAY, SEPT. 2
The Fatty Acids w/ Kane Place Record Club, Sat. Nite Duets and Rio Turbo @ Linneman's Riverwest Inn, 8 p.m.
From their jokey beginnings, Milwaukee's Fatty Acids have grown into one of the city's most exciting and ambitious indie-rock bands. The band's new album, Leftover Monsterface, follows their debut, Stop Berries, Berries and Berries, Berries, by just a year, but it expands on their goofball synth-pop remarkably, pushing it to proggy, psychedelic extremes and saturating it with drunken, cheerful horns. The record can seem a bit chaotic on the surface, but the band has written some seriously epic songs here. They play a joint release show tonight with openers Kane Place Record Club, left-field blue-eyed-soul enthusiasts who will be giving out 100 copies of their To Our Friends EP at the door.
Tedeschi Trucks Band @ The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m.
When blues-rock singer Susan Tedeschi in 2001 married Derek Trucks, a virtuoso slide guitarist and leader of The Derek Trucks Band as well as a regular player with the Allman Brothers, it seemed only a matter of time until the two would begin collaborating together. From time to time, they played together with members of both of their bands as The Soul Stew Revival, but it wasn't until last year that they put their separate bands on hiatus to dedicate all their time to their joint venture, now christened the Tedeschi Trucks Band. A dazzlingly soulful celebration of blues and roots-rock, the group's new album, Revelator, has garnered some of the strongest reviews of either artist's career.
The Big Lebowski @ Discovery World, 5 p.m.
With their lone marijuana-themed film, Joel and Ethan Coen created one of the most popular cult films of all time, The Big Lebowski. The brothers' 1998 comedy stars an inspired Jeff Bridges as a laid-back dude who gets caught up in a kidnapping scheme that involves, among many other things, a defiled carpet, bowling and German nihilists who “believe in nothing,” but the plot takes a backseat to bizarre characters and gorgeously filmed fantasy sequences. The movie screens at dusk tonight outside as part of Discovery World's “Fish Fry & a Flick” series, following a Bartolotta fish fry that begins at 5 p.m. There will also be a host of food trucks and specials on Point beer.
The Big Lebowski
Milwaukee Rally @ Various Locations
Every Labor Day weekend, thousands of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts converge in the city that gave birth to their favorite bike company for the city's largest motorcycle rally, the Milwaukee Rally. Events at this year's three-day gathering include live music from Metal Men, Chasin' Mason, Southern Impact and Sucker Punch Sally, an exhibit of rare cycles and custom equipment, a wet T-shirt contest and female mud wrestling pit, and an attempt to build the world's largest beer bong. Close your windows if you live near a Harley-Davidson dealership, the Harley-Davidson Museum or the Wisconsin State Fair grounds, because it's going to be loud this weekend.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 3
Pearl Jam Pearl Jam Destination Weekend @ Alpine Valley, noon
It was 20 years ago that a heavily flannelled Pearl Jam released their debut album, Ten, a blockbuster that helped fuel the '90s alt-rock explosion and introduced the band as the everyman alternative to Nirvana. The band's long run is particularly noteworthy considering the tragic fates of many of the other Washington grunge bands of the era, so this weekend the group is celebrating by hosting a weekend of music at Alpine Valley—think of it as a Gathering of the Juggalos, only with Eddie Vedder instead of Juggalos. The two-day concert will include performances from The Strokes, Queens of the Stone Age, Mudhoney, John Doe, Joseph Arthur, Glen Hansard, Liam Finn, thenewno2, David Garza and Star Anna. (Also Sunday, Sept. 4.)
Made in Milwaukee @ Cathedral Square Park, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Since it was conceived a decade ago to showcase talent from Milwaukee's many arts scenes at scattered events around the city, Made in Milwaukee has ballooned into a huge outdoor festival, drawing more than 10,000 people to Cathedral Square Park at its event last year. This year's lineup is even bigger. Among the attractions are an outdoor fashion show, a performance from the Friction Dance Company, free coffee tastings from four local roasters, a Milwauktoberfest beer tasting, a morning farmers' market and displays from more than 30 local artists and stands from 20 local businesses. That's all on top of a large music lineup that begins at noon and includes, among others, Tristan Royalty Squad, John the Savage, Group of The Altos and two groups marking album releases, The Wildbirds and The Celebrated Workingman.
Uptown Saturday Night @ Mad Planet, 10 p.m.
Through their record label Dope Folks, Milwaukee hip-hop enthusiasts John “Kid Millions” Kuester and Chris Schulist reissue long-out-of-print (and sometimes completely unreleased) treasures from rap's golden era, from artists like Stranj Child, Prophets of the Ghetto and Rock La Flow. For their Uptown Saturday Night event at Mad Planet the first Saturday of each month, though, they stick to the hits, spinning familiar rap favorites from the '80s and '90s to keep the crowd dancing. Some nights also feature guest DJs or appearances from old-school emcees; all will feature $2 PBRs until midnight.