This Week in Milwaukee
Bay View Bash, Okkervil River and SWANS
FRIDAY, SEPT. 16
Pizzle @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
It shouldn't be too surprising that Pizzle has revealed himself to be one of Milwaukee's most pop-savvy rappers with his new album, Fame in Vain. . His Packerscheering Wiz Khalifa remake “Green and Yellow,” with Prophetic, was ubiquitous on local airwaves in the run-up to this year's Super Bowl, so he clearly knows what plays on the radio. With its polished R&B hooks, glossy synthesizers, rowdy club tracks and contemplative, occasionally grandiose Kanye West-styled digressions, Fame in Vain deftly touches on a number of contemporary styles. This release show for the album, which he has posted for free download, will also feature performances from Aliesa Nicole, Prophetic, Young Major, Lah-Kid, Sheba Baby, Yung Oki, Blizz McFly and CMG.
Yo Gabba Gabba! Live @ The Pabst Theater, 3 and 6 p.m.
Currently entertaining children—and their parents—via Nick Jr. networks across the world, “Yo Gabba Gabba!” and its host, DJ Lance Rock, mix '80s animation with musical performance and a pack of odd characters by the names of Muno, Foofa, Brobee and Toodee. The deliberately absurdist, retro-minded show has featured a number of celebrity guests over its run, including The Shins, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood and Sean Kingston. The show maintains that “look who stopped by” quality for this live tour, which features beat-boxing hip-hop legend Biz Markie.
Paula Poundstone @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
With her gentle observations on children, cats and the absurdities of everyday life, Paula Poundstone was one of the more visible comedians of the '90s, appearing regularly on HBO, “The Tonight Show” and “Hol- lywood Squares” until tabloid-flagging charges of child endangerment after a drunken-driving arrest in 2001 sidelined her career. She has addressed her struggles with alcohol in her recent stand-up material and her 2006 memoir, There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say, which includes ruminations on her career and motherhood. Pizzle
SATURDAY, SEPT. 17
Unlooped vs. Dilla @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
On hiatus since last year, the electronic-music fusion series Unlooped returns with a new focus. Each event will now be themed around a set subject. For this first show, that honor goes to the late hip-hop producer J. Dilla, whose skewed, loop-based compositions will be reinterpreted by a six-piece band that includes violin, cello, double bass and turntables and features members of the groups Codebreaker, Plight of a Parasite and I'm Not a Pilot. There will also be DJ sets from Jank, DJ Tarik and K-Mart.
Bay View Bash @ Kinnickinnic Avenue, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
While staying true to its roots as a working-class, residential neighborhood, over the last decade Bay View has emerged as one of Milwaukee's most fashionable districts, as scores of young Milwaukeeans attracted by the affordable housing have quite literally set up shop there. The neighborhood's signature thoroughfare, Kinnickinnic Avenue, is now lined with quirky shops, novel restaurants, trendy galleries, comfortable coffee shops and hip bars, so the annual Bay View Bash serves as something of an open house for all these businesses. There will also be cultural demonstrations, children's activities and three stages of music, featuring bands including King Solomon, The Ragadors and Gabriel Sanchez's The Prince Experience.
Michael Ian Black @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
To casual TV viewers, Michael Ian Black may be best known as one of the drier commentators on VH1's endless “I Love The…” specials, but to comedy enthusiasts, he's renowned as one of the creative forces behind the sketch-comedy shows “The State” and “Stella” and for his many projects with former cast mates from those programs.
Since Comedy Central canceled his most recent show with frequent collaborator Michael Showalter, “Michael and Michael Have Issues,” Black has stayed busy, launching the podcast Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, beginning a book and touring behind his latest stand-up material. Michael Ian Black
Lindsey Buckingham @ The Pabst Theater, 7:30 p.m.
Fleetwood Mac alum Lindsey Buckingham finally scored the critical reappraisal he so obviously longed for with his 2006 album Under the Skin, a stripped-down singer-songwriter disc that contained some of his best songs in a decade. Buckingham has walked with an extra pep in his step ever since, taking advantage of his renewed critical standing with a rush-released live album and a quick studio follow-up, 2008's Gift of Screws, which rocked a little harder than its tempered predecessor and reunited him with pals from his Fleetwood Mac days. His new Seeds We Sow was recorded alone in his home studio, and it sounds that way. It's sparser and more chilling than any record he's ever made.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 18
Erasure w/ Frankmusik @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
Vince Clarke was one of the co-founders of Depeche Mode, but as that band treaded into darker territory, he left for sunnier pursuits, most prominently the synth-pop band Erasure, which he founded in 1985 with singer Andy Bell. The band never found much success in the United States beyond their 1988 singles “Chains of Love” and “A Little Respect”— Bell speculated that his undisguised homosexuality may have been a commercial handicap—but they've retained a loyal following over the decades, as their music has grown dancier. In October they will release their 14th album, Tomorrow's World.
MONDAY, SEPT. 19
Garrison Keillor @ Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m.
An old favorite of the NPR crowd, Garrison Keillor is more than just a soothing voice. While he is known mainly for his work on the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” he also penned the screenplay for the 2006 movie version and has written for The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. A familiar figure to Milwaukeeans and Minnesotans alike, Keillor addresses the idiosyncrasies of life in the Midwest, whether it be via the fictional Lake Wobegon or through the character of Guy Noir, “private eye,” one of his more popular radio roles.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 20
Electric Six w/ Kitten and Mark Mallman @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
With a little help from a red-hot Jack White, Electric Six scored one of 2003's most memorable singles with “Danger! High Voltage,” a timely slab of infectious dance-rock. The Detroit group wasn't able to parlay the excitement around that song into lasting mainstream success, but they've maintained a loyal fan base through rigorous touring and a steady output of reliably fun (if less than groundbreaking) albums, including 2010's Zodiac, which doubled down on manic, four-on-the-floor grooves following 2009's darker, more rock-based Kill. Another new record, Heartbeats and Brainwaves, is set for next month.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21
Okkervil River w/ Wye Oak @ Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
Austin indie-rockers Okkervil River have steadily grown an audience over the last decade for their brainy fusion of literate rock, symphonic folk and rough-and-tumble Americana. After a pair of invitingly catchy records that took them to new levels of popularity, 2007's The Stage Names and its 2008 sequel, The Stand Ins, the band returned this year with the more demanding I Am Very Far. The record is denser with studio trickery, but the focal point remains Will Sheff's sharp songwriting. Baltimore openers Wye Oak are currently on a three-game hot streak. The band's latest, Civilian, teems with hushed, spine-chilling dream-pop, but in concert the duo opts for a heavier, more direct guitar-rock offensive.
SWANS w/ Sir Richard Bishop @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Michael Gira led many iterations of his experimental/industrial group Swans throughout its initial 15-year run, so it was only fitting that when he “reunited” the band after a 14-year hiatus for a new album last year, he did so with a smattering of players who had performed with the band at various points, as well as members of his post-Swans project Angels of Light. The result, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, may be the closest thing there is to a definitive Swans record; it's as invigorating, beautiful and frightening as anything Gira has created.