This Week in Milwaukee
Call Me Lightning, Haunted Bar Tour and Sleeping in the Aviary
THURSDAY, DEC. 22
Music Under Glass: U2Zoo @ Mitchell Park Domes, 6:30 p.m.
The familiar songbook of U2, as performed by the Midwest tribute band U2Zoo, will be juxtaposed against the beautiful background of the Floral Show Dome at the Mitchell Park Conservatory. The performance is part of the Domes' "Music Under Glass" concert series, running Thursdays until the end of March. Visitors can also check out the Domes' "Holly, Jolly Holidays" exhibit, which displays a collection of international Santa figurines and features thousands of colorful poinsettias. Admission is $6.50 for adults 18 and up, $5 for children and teens, and free for kids 5 and under.
Scrooge in Rouge @ Tenth Street Theatre, 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Over the last few decades, spoofing A Christmas Carol has become almost as strong of a Christmas tradition as Charles Dickens' original tale. In Tandem Theatre's riff on the story, Scrooge in Rouge, is one of the funnier takes, with humor reminiscent of Monty Python. The show is essentially a play within a play, the premise being that the majority of an acting troupe has fallen ill, leaving only three members left to put on A Christmas Carol and save the production. Director Jane Flieller maintains the same winning cast from recent years: Matt Daniels, Chris Flieller and Marcella Kearns. The production runs through Dec. 31; tonight's 7:30 performance will feature a talk-back with the actors and director following the show.
FRIDAY, DEC. 23
Sigmund Snopek's Christmas Show @ Old German Beer Hall, 8:30 p.m.
Who better to lead a holiday celebration than Milwaukee's prog-rock staple since the '60s, former Violent Femmes sideman and incontestable Christmas junkie Sigmund Snopek? The eccentric rocker's 2002 powerhouse album, fittingly titled Christmas, features song after holidaythemed song (thoughtfully throwing in a couple about Thanksgiving, a great holiday without much of a musical tradition). Known for his talent across instruments, Snopek can be seen jumping from the flute to the harmonium and even occasionally to his 12-foot Alpine horn— which, in the confines of the Old German Beer Hall, would take the term "intimate" to a new level.
Call Me Lightning w/ John the Savage and Absolutely @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Since the release of their great 2010 album, When I Am Gone My Blood Will Be Free, a full-throttle rock opera in the grandiose spirit of The Who's classic works, every local performance from the Milwaukee punk trio Call Me Lightning has had the feel of a major event. This pre-Christmas show should be no different. The bill pairs the band with John the Savage, Milwaukee noise-makers whose fire-andbrimstone carnival music nods to Tom Waits and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and Absolutely, who became one of the local punk scene's breakout acts this year with the release of their debut, Learns to Love Mistakes. The show is a benefit for the Hunger Task Force, so bring a can of food or two.
Haunted Bar Tour @ Shaker's Cigar Bar, 7 and 8:30 p.m. (also Saturdays)
Those who seek supernatural thrills are dared to face their fears, albeit with a well-poured drink in hand, at Shaker's weekly haunted bar tours. Serving up authentic absinthe concoctions as well as fanciful yarns inspired by its notorious past, the historic cigar bar has fully embraced its roots as a one-time speak-easy, brothel and general reprobate haunt, where seedy types spent their days (and sometimes met their violent ends). Shaker's also offers overnight packages in the bar's haunted penthouse, where guests are invited to spend the night in the same room where a bordello girl was brutally murdered.
MONDAY, DEC. 26
Now You Have Audio w/ Ivy Spokes and Tonight, the City Skyline@ BBC, 8 p.m.
Milwaukee power-poppers Now You Have Audio could be confused with a lighter version of pop-punk band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus; both deal with similar angsty themes of love and loneliness, and both feature a pair of musically inclined brothers. The band's debut, When Everything Falls Apart, displayed brothers Pete and Dan Lee's keen ears for hooks, while their newest full-length record, Every Time We Close Our Eyes, gives fans something more substantial to rock out to. Emo-leaning local groups Ivy Spokes and Tonight, the City Skyline lend support on this "Holiday Bash" show.
MONDAY, DEC. 26
Sleeping in the Aviary w/ Mike Krol@ Frank's Power Plant, 9:30 p.m.
Minneapolis-by-way-of-Madison rockers Sleeping in the Aviary have polished away a lot of the scuzz from their off-kilter garage-pop over the last half-decade, but even with the makeover their tunes remain as quirky as ever on their wonderfully strange 2011 album, You and Me, Ghost, a record rich with traces of The Clean, The Knack and Guided by Voices. The band shares this bill with sometimes collaborator Mike Krol, who this year released I Hate Jazz, a short, punky and ridiculously catchy set of sneered power-pop.
TUESDAY, DEC. 27
Yeah Der—Wine, Cheese and Beer Tour @ Various locations, 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Declaring that "tours take place rain, snow or sunshine," Tour Milwaukee offers a foodcentric spin on its popular "Walk on Water" tours with the "Yeah Der" wine, cheese and beer tour. For the price of a plate at one of Milwaukee's more upscale restaurants, this walking tour gives you a chance to try delicious dishes from six different locations in one fell swoop. Taking you on a whirlwind walk around Milwaukee's business district, the tour clocks in at approximately three hours and 1.5 miles, which allows you to both work off the calories and observe the unique architecture distinct to Downtown Milwaukee. While the tasting locations are kept under wraps until the tour begins, past restaurants have included Karl Ratzsch's, Cubanitas and Clear (in the InterContinental).