This Week in Milwaukee
Kyuss Lives!, Russian Circles and Beady Eye
THURSDAY, DEC. 1
Kyuss Lives! w/ The Sword and Black Cobra @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 6 p.m.
Though they amassed an impressive body of work in their own right, the stoner rock band Kyuss has become known mostly for its many offshoot bands—Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal among them. From their humble beginnings in “generator parties” out in the SoCal desert—small backyard gatherings where gas-powered generators were used for electricity—to their later tour dates with Metallica, Kyuss gained a reputation as one of the most deft psychedelic metal bands of their era, garnering frequent comparisons to Black Sabbath before their 1995 breakup. Although original guitarist Josh Homme frowned upon the group's 2010 reunion, the band has been touring as Kyuss Lives! with Bruno Fevery as Homme's replacement. They plan to release a new album next year.
Marcia Ball @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
With her tremulous but remarkably strong voice, Marcia Ball's unique pipes bring to mind the blues outfits since her 1972 solo debut, Freda and the Firedogs. For the last decade, the singer and pianist has been recording for Alligator Records, which released her latest album, Roadside Attractions, earlier this year.
We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco @ Milwaukee Art Museum, 6:15 p.m.
The 2010 documentary We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco explored the beginning of the AIDS epidemic through the eyes of San Franciscans who lived through the era. While the '60s and '70s opened the door to a more sexually free America, the '80s introduced a sobering disease that shook the gay community to its core. We Were Here illuminates not only the suffering San Franciscans experienced at the hands of this deadly virus, but also its political and social impact. Despite the inherent solemnity of that period, this documentary illustrates the inspiring level of solidarity within the gay community, who fought hard against the disease. Tonight's screening is presented by the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival.
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). Topics at the second installment of this event include a vampire throwdown (Twilight vs. True Blood), a Mexican restaurant match (Conejito's vs. Corazon) and a debate to determine the one true religion (Mormonism vs. Scientology). The winners of each round advance to debate unannounced topics in a mystery round, and one will be crowned “Milwaukee's Master Debater.”
FRIDAY, DEC. 2
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah w/ Waters @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.
Back in 2005, when it was still rare for bands to make much noise without a record deal—oh, how times have changed—Clap Your Hands Say Yeah won over the Internet with a heavily buzzed self-titled album that brimmed with exuberant hooks and quirky arrangements. A 2007 Dave Fridmann-produced sophomore album that toned down some of the band's eccentricities, Some Loud Thunder, divided fans and cooled some of the hype around the group, and the band took a couple of years off before recording this year's Hysterical, another collection of synth-heavy indie-rock.
Russian Circles w/ Young Widows and Anatomy of Habit @ Cactus Club, 9:30 p.m.
Drawing from the crushing math-rock of Don Caballero as well as more traditional metal influences, Chicago's instrumental trio Russian Circles has grown more nuanced with each release. On the band's latest albums, 2009's Geneva and this year's stunning Empros, the group has dramatically toned down the bruising riffs of their early work, instead emphasizing softer, post-rock passages that only heighten the songs' almost unbearable tension. It's fitting, then, that they share this bill with Young Widows, a Louisville, Ky., trio that has also taken their sound in exciting directions by mellowing it. Young Widows' new album, 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.
Metropolis @ Times Cinema, 11 p.m.
On the list of classic science-fiction films, Fritz Lang's Metropolis ranks near the top. The 1927 dystopian film deals with the disconnect between the luxurious lifestyle of the upper class and the never-ending labor of the proletariat. Addressing Marx and Engels' ideas on the dichotomy of society, Lang sets the story in Metropolis, a “mega-city” bearing eerie similarities to urban America at its most stratified. The most expensive silent film ever made, Metropolis dazzled audiences with its frenetic pace and elaborate sets. Over the years, there have been many restorations to the film as well as changes to the soundtrack. For its multiple screenings this weekend, the Times Cinema will be using the 1984 score, which includes tracks by Pat Benatar and Freddie Mercury, among others. (Also Dec. 3 at 11 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.)
SATURDAY, DEC. 3
Hover Craft @ Sweet Water Organics, noon-6 p.m.
Dozens of local businesses, artists and designers (both professional and amateur) will be selling unique mittens, notebooks, jewelry, headdresses, paintings, bath soaps and greeting cards at the second annual Hover Craft, a one-day marketplace hosted this year at Bay View's Sweet Water Organics (2151 S. Robinson Ave.) There will also be food vendors, DJs, performance artists, craft demonstrations and free makeand-take tutorials. The event is followed by an after-party at Frank's Power Plant featuring the bands Technicolor Teeth, The Facts Machine and Eric & The Happy Thoughts.
SUNDAY, DEC. 4
Chad Faries @ The Nut Factory, 7 p.m.
Savannah State University assistant professor (and UW-Milwaukee alum) Chad Faries will read from his memoir, Drive Me Out of My Mind, at the Nut Factory, a communal art space at 3720 N. Fratney St. The book charts Faries' volatile upbringing in Michigan's economically ravished Upper Peninsula, and how his hardscrabble early years inspired him to take up poetry.
TUESDAY, DEC. 6
Beady Eye w/ Black Box Revelation @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
After main songwriter Noel Gallagher's acrimonious exit from Oasis, remaining members Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Andy Bell decided to continue making music together as Beady Eye. As you'd expect from a band fronted by the flashier Gallagher brother, Beady Eye's debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, is a cocky collection of Beatles- and Stones-worshipping throwbacks not all that far removed from Oasis' rock fantasies. (The other Gallagher, meanwhile, has started his own band, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, which records music in the style of Oasis' more sweeping, grandiose works.)
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 7
Reel Big Fish w/ Streetlight Manifesto, Lionize and Rodeo Ruby Love @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
After 2005's We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy, a bitter rumination on their unceremonious fall from stardom after ska fell out of popular favor, Reel Big Fish returned to the silly, irreverent party music fans expected of them for 2007's Monkeys for Nothin' and the Chimps for Free and kept the mood similarly light on 2009's covers album Fame, Fortune and Fornication, a collection of cartoony, punked-out covers of songs by Poison, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. The band is now touring behind a greatest-hits collection, A Best of Us for the Rest of Us, which features re-recorded and “skacoustic” takes of the band's bestknown songs.
Devin Townsend @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Rooted in metal, but with a voice that can tackle anything from opera to screamo, Canadian musician Devin Townsend is noted for his chameleon-like ability to shift from genre to genre. Versatile and vocally varied, Townsend has gone through many musical changes over the years, starting out as a lead vocalist for Steve Vai and shortly thereafter starting his extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad. Townsend's latest undertaking, aptly titled The Devin Townsend Project, is a quadrilogy of albums recorded after the musician gave up drugs and alcohol. Each album is its own universe, with an entirely different ambiance, message and even musical style, which is only fitting for an artist of Townsend's range.