Home / Columns / This Week in Milwaukee / This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011

This Week in Milwaukee

Keith Urban, Melt-Banana and Cirque du Soleil: Quidam

Google+ Pinterest Print



THURSDAY, OCT. 13


Keith Urban @ Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m.

The South Pacific isn't exactly known as a breeding ground for country music, but from his Australian beginnings the New Zealand-born Keith Urban has emerged as one of the most popular country stars in America. It took him a while, though. The 43-year-old received his first boost of career momentum when he moved to Nashville in the early '90s and began working as a guitarist for the country duo Brooks & Dunn. It wasn't until 1999 that he released the self-titled album that netted him three Top 5 hits and a slew of new-artist awards.

With his follow-up hit "Somebody Like You" and the Grammy-winning "You'll Think of Me," both from the 2002 record Golden Road, he paved the way for his highest-selling album, 2004's Be Here.

French Horn Rebellion w/ Fresh Cut Collective and Kane Place Record Club @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.

How does the Milwaukee-bred, Brooklyn-based duo French Horn Rebellion differentiate itself from the hundreds of other colorful electro-pop bands with an affinity for disco grooves, New Wave hooks and all things falsetto? Well, for one thing, they actually use a French horn, though it takes a back seat to synthesizers, of course. This brother-brother duo has also shown a real knack for concise, candied pop hooks, well displayed on their recent full-length, The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion.



FRIDAY, OCT. 14

Portugal. The Man w/ Alberta Cross @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.

After a succession of increasingly strong, annual records, the poorly punctuated Portland, Ore., band Portugal. The Man went for the kill with its 2009 album, The Satanic Satanist, a psychedelic pop fest that draws liberally from classic-rock, T. Rex and Mott the Hoople-styled glam, Beck-esque funk and Flaming Lips-like warm and fuzzies. The music has flowed fast and gloriously ever since. The band's 2010 follow-up, American Ghetto, was even more expansive and packed even tighter with hooks, and the group's latest, this July's In the Mountain in the Cloud, is a typically uplifting slab of invitingly odd psychedelia.

The Thing w/ Savini Effect @ Times Cinema, 11 p.m.

On the night that a prequel with the same title opens in wide release, the Times Cinema screens John Carpenter's 1982 cult classic, The Thing. A flop upon its initial release (unsurprisingly, audiences preferred E.T., the sci-fi movie with an alien that didn't violently devour every life form it came into contact with), it's one of Carpenter's scariest films, with grotesque depictions of an extraterrestrial biomass that slaughters man and dog alike and steals their appearances. Before the screening, the horror-themed Milwaukee band Savini Effect, which covers classic fright-film music, will perform.

Taking Back Sunday w/ The Maine and Bad Rabbits @ The Rave, 7 p.m.

Taking Back Sunday earned a fast following with their 2002 full-length debut, Tell All Your Friends, but it wasn't enough to keep the feuding band members together; a year later bassist Shaun Cooper and gui- tarist John Nolan left on bitter terms. Taking Back Sunday went on to enjoy bigger commercial successes, but without Nolan's raspy voice and fierce, post-hardcore guitar riffs, they had lost some of the rawness that made their debut so striking. To the surprise of fans, who had assumed that a reunion of the Tell All Your Friends-era lineup was all but impossible, considering how thoroughly bridges had been burned, Cooper and Nolan rejoined the group last year. Their presence catalyzes frontman Adam Lazzara on this year's self-titled Taking Back Sunday album, which recaptures the vital edge of the band's earliest efforts.



SATURDAY, OCT. 15


Heat It Up: Milwaukee's Bloody Mary & Chili Challenge @ Cathedral Square Park, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

 

Touchy fall weather too often cuts Milwaukee's festival season short, but it probably won't matter much if there's a bit of a bite to the air at the East Town Association's latest outdoor event. The crowd is invited to vote for the city's best Bloody Mary and best chili (in both meat and veggie categories). Chili samples will be available for $2, or $10 for unlimited, and Bloody Marys will be $4 each, or $15 for unlimited.

Taking Back Sunday w/ The Maine and Bad Rabbits @ The Rave, 7 p.m.

Taking Back Sunday earned a fast following with their 2002 full-length debut, Tell All Your Friends, but it wasn't enough to keep the feuding band members together; a year later bassist Shaun Cooper and gui- tarist John Nolan left on bitter terms. Taking Back Sunday went on to enjoy bigger commercial successes, but without Nolan's raspy voice and fierce, post-hardcore guitar riffs, they had lost some of the rawness that made their debut so striking. To the surprise of fans, who had assumed that a reunion of the Tell All Your Friends-era lineup was all but impossible, considering how thoroughly bridges had been burned, Cooper and Nolan rejoined the group last year. Their presence catalyzes frontman Adam Lazzara on this year's self-titled Taking Back Sunday album, which recaptures the vital edge of the band's earliest efforts.



Peter Wolf Crier w/ Milagres and Fahri @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.

That the Minneapolis duo Peter Wolf Crier released their debut record, Inter-Be, on Jagjaguwar, the same label as Bon Iver, only further invited comparisons that were probably already inevitable. That album was cut from much the same cloth as Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago—right down to the warbling falsetto, the raw, self-recorded aesthetic and the "man in transition" lyrical motifs—though the group distinguished itself somewhat with singer-songwriter Peter Pisano's feverish guitar and the blunt, primal percussion of drummer Brian Moen. The duo's latest album, Garden of Arms, dou- bles down on both of those assets: It's a fiercer, harder-rocking album that doesn't fear distortion.

Melt-Banana w/ Centipedes and Protestant @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

Japan's Melt-Banana has been making freaked-out, spastic noise-punk for nearly two decades, and they haven't tamed a bit with age. Ichirou Agata's screechy guitar still hits masochistically shrill notes, and Yasuko Onuki still yelps, barks and screams with such zeal that her nose sometimes bleeds. The band has continued to push their sound in new directions, though. Their latest record, 2009's Melt-Banana Lite Live: Ver. 0.0, ditches their trusty guitars in favor of equally extreme synths and samples.

SUNDAY, OCT. 16

Rubblebucket Orchestra w/ Stepdad and Chalice in the Palace @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.

Dynamic and energetic, Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth of the Brooklyn ensemble Rubblebucket look beyond the usual pop, dance and jam-music influences to create an experimental fusion of funk, jazz and Afrobeat. Leaning more on the brass than the strings, Rubblebucket tours with an ever-changing lineup of backing instrumentalists, often packing the stage not only with guitarists, bassists, drummers and keyboardists, but also trumpeters, saxophonists, euphonium players and others. The band recorded its latest full-length, Omega La La, at DFA Studios with LCD Soundsystem producer Eric Broucek.

Jo Koy @ The Pabst Theater, 6 p.m.

Though he flails around onstage as manically as many other comedians who make much of their living on the college circuit, Los Angeles comedian Jo Koy also has a gift for unhurried, longform monologues and perceptive insights into familial relationships. Much of his material stems from his background as a Filipino-American, and he particularly mines his eccentric parents for laughs. Spots on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and "BET's ComicView" have increased his profile, as have his regular panel appearances on "Chelsea Lately."

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam @ Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m.

Centering on a fantastical world dreamed up by its young protagonist Zoé, Quidam (Latin for "a nameless passer-by") is Cirque du Soleil's ninth production and a much darker cousin to its fellow shows. Featuring mysterious characters—including the titular figure, a headless man said to simultaneously embody "both everyone and no one"—and macabre theatrics, Quidam addresses feelings of isolation and ennui. While the show evokes the dreaminess of a fairy tale, it remains grounded, if only metaphorically, in its acrobatic roots: Quidam's set design utilizes a new rigging system that makes it possible for performers to enter and exit while already aloft, further adding to the dreamlike nature of the show. (Through Sunday, Oct. 23.)