This Week in Milwaukee
Los Straitjackets, Seth Meyers and MAM After Dark
The post-Pulp Fiction surf-rock revival spawned plenty of instrumental surf bands, but Nashville's Los Straitjackets didn't have any difficulty distinguishing themselves—it's easy to stand out when you perform Keith in Lucha Urban Libre-style wrestling masks. Still masked after all these years, on recent tours the band has doubled down on the kitsch, sharing the stage with the New York dance act The World Famous Pontani Sisters, who will make up the burlesque portion of tonight's "Rock 'n' Burlesque Spectacular."
Seth Meyers @ The Pabst Theater, 6:30 p.m.
Since joining the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in 2001, Seth Meyers has worked his way up the show's ranks, becoming head writer in 2006 and a "Weekend Update" anchor shortly afterward. At a time when the pointed politics of comedy programs like "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" had begun to make "Saturday Night Live" and its softer strain of humor feel toothless in comparison, Meyers revitalized the program with his astute sketches about the 2008 presidential campaign, which featured Tina Fey's candidate-defining Sarah Palin impersonation.
Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival @ UWM Union Theatre and Oriental Theatre
For the 24th year in a row, UW-Milwaukee's Peck School of the Arts brings international LGBT cinema to the city. Through Sunday, Oct. 23, UWM's Union Theatre and the Oriental Theatre will again host Milwaukee's LGBT Film/Video Festival. The United Kingdom's Andrew Haigh opens the festival with his film Weekend, an emotional narrative about a man grappling with the loneliness of everyday life. That drama will be followed by a slew of other thought-provoking films by renowned directors hailing from as far as Israel, India and Italy. About a third of the screenings are free, or free with food donations. The festivities continue after the final showings of the first two days, with after-parties at Beans & Barley on Thursday and Art Bar on Friday.
FRIDAY, OCT. 21
DJ Pauly D @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Paul "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio wasn't the breakout star of MTV's "Jersey Shore"—that honor goes to his girl-chasing housemate The Situation—but he was the first cast member to receive his own spinoff. MTV's upcoming show about DelVecchio will focus on his career as a DJ. Laugh if you will, but he's already off to a good start: This August he signed a three-album deal with 50 Cent's G- Unit Records. Is he any good? That probably doesn't matter to most of the crowd that shows up to see him. This Stellar Spark-promoted bill, which has been rescheduled from Sept. 30, also includes DJ JSlay and a host of other DJs and dance acts.
Evanescence w/ The Pretty Reckless and Rival Sons @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
It took the Arkansas goth-metal band Evanescence a full five years to follow up their 2006 sophomore album, The Open Door, with their new self-titled record, thanks to a few lineup changes (something the group is no stranger to at this point) and some false-start sessions with producer Steve Lillywhite, who was later replaced with Nick Raskulinecz. For all that drama, the end result is actually the group's least turbulent album. The Evanescence signatures are still there: Guitars rage, strings weep and eye-shadowed singer Amy Lee still bellows like an opera singer in peril, but there are softer electronic tones around the edges, and the songs are catchier and less vindictive than those of The Open Door. This is the work of a band finding its comfort zone.
David Seebach's Illusions in the Night @ Greenfield Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.
David Seebach continues one of Milwaukee's longest-running Halloween traditions with his glitzy "Illusions in the Night" show, which started in 1991. In past years, the local magician has examined Jack the Ripper, conversed with a mummy and summoned ghosts. This year's production promises witches, ghosts, enchanted jack-o'-lanterns and mindreading feats, as well as a woman who will be sawed in half. (Multiple weekend performances through Oct. 29.)
MAM After Dark: RunUp to the Runway @ Milwaukee Art Museum, 5 p.m.
The Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates Gallery Night with another installment of MAM After Dark, this time in conjunction with the museum's new "Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper" exhibition. The centerpiece of the night is a 9 p.m. runway show featuring the new collection from Ra'Mon Lawrence of "Project Runway" and more than half a dozen local designers. There will also be cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, as well as music from Jai Cherney and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.
SATURDAY, OCT. 22
Drive-By Truckers Drive-By Truckers w/ Those Darlins @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.
Athens, Ga., rockers the Drive-By Truckers followed up 2008's revelatory Brighter Than Creation's Dark, a stripped-down and largely acoustic album recorded after guitarist Jason Isbell left the band, with last year's The Big To-Do, one of the group's most rocking albums, a disc that owes particular debt to the roots rock of Tom Petty. This year's Go-Go Boots is much more acoustic and
stripped down, and it feels a bit tossed-off compared to the two great records it followed. Even on a lesser Drive-By Truckers album, though, the bittersweet songwriting of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley offers plenty to love. Openers Those Darlins bring a little girl-group glamour and sweetness to the rugged sound of outlaw country.
SUNDAY, OCT. 23
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Like many young New Orleans musicians, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews marries his city's heritage jazz with the youthful music of his own generation, creating a swampy, hip-hop-influenced jazz-funk fusion. Named for his city's Sixth Ward and produced by Galactic's Ben Ellman, his 2010 debut for Verve records, Backatown, was a major critical and commercial success, cementing his status as one of New Orleans' brightest young talents. His just-released follow-up, For True, is a flashier, more diverse expansion of that album, a lavishly produced record that features guest appearances from Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes, Ledisi and, most surprisingly, Kid Rock.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 26
Method Man, Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T. @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
Though he was the Wu-Tang Clan's first breakout star, Method Man has been one of the crew's most uneven solo artists—he can seem bored and disinterested on his own albums. Lately, he's been doing his best work in collaboration with others: His 2009 Redman sequel Blackout! 2 found him at his most spirited, and last year's Wu-Massacre, with Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, featured some of his most cutthroat raps in a decade. Meth coheadlines this Smoker's Club Tour with two rappers who share his love of weed: Curren$y, the former Lil Wayne protégé, has released a full six albums of stoned, psychedelic rap in just the last three years— most of them great—and Big K.R.I.T., a Mississippi rapper and producer whose latest mixtape, Return of 4Eva, is one of the most kinetic, lovable Southern rap releases of the year. Smoke DZA and The Pricks round out the bill.