This Week in Milwaukee
John Oliver, Aaron Neville and Attack Attack!
FRIDAY, JAN. 27
John Oliver @ The Pabst Theater, 7:30 p.m.
Since his 2006 debut as the “senior British correspondent” on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” John Oliver has emerged as one of the program's breakout stars, anchoring his segments with a mix of dry humor and comic absurdity. The show is just one of Oliver's many gigs now: He also hosts the Comedy Central series “John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show,” records the weekly podcast “The Bugle,” and appears semi-regularly on the NBC cult comedy “Community” as an egotistical psychology professor with a bit of a drinking problem. Oliver's stand-up routine is a good deal less manic than some of his on-screen performances, but it often touches on political (and sometimes historical) themes that should delight “Daily Show” fans.
Bad Boy Bill w/ Nick Rockwell, DanAconda and NoizePollution @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Before he was a storied DJ, Bad Boy Bill was just another Windy City house fan, mixing records in his bedroom at 4 a.m. and priming for a shot on the decks. Like many players of the '80s scene, Bill made his own promo tapes, distributing them to movers and shakers and giving them away at his shows. Eventually they piqued the interest of legendary Farley “Jackmaster” Funk of WBMX's Hot Mix 5 team, and Bill soon became one of the Chicago house scene's biggest exports. After 25 years of spinning, Bill's live sets continue to reflect his hip-hop influences, with the DJ often using four (and sometimes even six) turntables at once. In 2009, he released his first proper full-length record, The Album.
SATURDAY, JAN. 28
Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
Since the Drew Carey-hosted American remake of the British improv comedy program “Whose Line Is it Anyway?” ended its run in 2004, two of its principal players, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, veterans of both the American and British versions, have toured behind a two-man version of the show, revisiting the show's games and creating new ones, with ample audience interaction. This show will mark their seventh straight year of performing at the Pabst Theater.
Eastside Jazzfest 4 @ Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 6 p.m.
For its fourth installment, the Eastside Jazzfest, an ongoing series designed to showcase jazz artists from Milwaukee or with ties to the city, spotlights four unique acts from very different corners of the jazz world. Headlining is The Dan Nimmer Trio, led by the Milwaukee-born pianist who has held a prestigious role playing for Wynton Marsalis since 2005, both in Marsalis' quintet and in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The bill also includes the organ-based Who's Your Daddy Trio—which presents a funkier spin on jazz, updating the sweaty soul of Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff—and guitarist Manty Ellis, a longtime staple of the Milwaukee jazz scene who will perform with his latest quartet. The Milwaukee Jazz Vision Student Combo opens the night, highlighting some of the city's youngest jazz talent.
James Durbin w/ New Medicine and DoryDrive @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Since Bo Bice, every season of “American Idol” has yielded a rock contestant. Last year's was James Durbin, a faux-hawked, power-voiced singer who, despite his struggles with both Tourette and Asperger syndromes, finished fourth in the contest. Unlike most “Idol” rockers, Durbin preferred wild, over-the-top '80s hair metal to croaky post-grunge—though like most of his “Idol” predecessors, his 2011 debut album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, was polished to an artificial, contemporary-pop sheen.
Rear Window @ The Times Cinema, noon
Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 Jimmy Stewart/ Grace Kelly vehicle, wasn't just one of Hitchcock's most effective suspense films; it was the director's great treatise on what it feels like to be a movie viewer. Like Stewart's photographer, a man in a wheelchair who passes his days spying on his neighbors with a pair of binoculars—until he becomes convinced he's witnessed a murder—the audience is stuck in their seats, watching helplessly as action unfolds that they have no control over. The Times Cinema screens this classic twice this weekend, at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
SUNDAY, JAN. 29
Attack Attack! @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
In addition to the loyal stable of fans they've built up over three albums, the Ohio metalcore band Attack Attack! also claims a different kind of Internet notoriety: They're the originators of a sort-of genre called “crabcore,” so titled because of the way they crouch into extreme, crab-like squats in their music videos and onstage—as if their fusion of metal and electronica didn't already seem bizarre enough to audiences over a certain age. YouTube videos and .gif images of the band in these uncomfortable-looking positions have made them an enduring Internet meme. This month they released their latest album, This Means War, on the Oregon metal label Rise. Also on the bill: The Ghost Inside, Sleeping With Sirens, Chunk! No Captain Chunk! and Dream on, Dreamer.
The Division 1 Experience @ The Wherehouse, 7 p.m.
Milwaukee native Rico Love, the Grammy-winning songwriter and producer behind recent hits for Usher, Kelly Rowland and Nelly, presents this showcase for the latest artist signed to his Division 1 label, the R&B singer Emjay. Love will share hosting duties with R&B star Brandy, with whom he's been working on a new album. The night will also feature performances from a trio of Milwaukee artists: G. Womack, Aliesa Nicole and Cigarette Break. Following the showcase there will be an after-party at 618 Live on Water with performances from Young Chris, another Division 1 artist, and local rappers Pizzle and The Cranberry Show.
MONDAY, JAN. 30
Remarkable Milwaukee 2012@ The Pabst Theater, 4:30 p.m.
Historic Milwaukee, the organization behind the annual Doors Open Milwaukee event, has assembled a panel of more than a dozen local figures who have contributed to the city's economy or cultural prestige for a round-table discussion about the city's future. Participants include former Mayor John Norquist, historian John Gurda, Pabst Theater Foundation Director Gary Witt, Bartolotta's Joe Bartolotta, and ART Milwaukee's Angela Damiani, as well as many other visionaries and entrepreneurs. Tickets for the discussion are $20; a $90 ticket also includes a lavish dinner reception after the panel at the Turner Hall Ballroom, which will be followed by a program with philanthropist Michael Cudahy.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1
Aaron Neville @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
For the last couple of decades, singer Aaron Neville has done double duty, continuing to tour (and occasionally record) with The Neville Brothers, a group that blended broader R&B sounds with the musical traditions of their native New Orleans, while tending to his solo career. That solo career has taken him in some unexpected directions: He charted with a trio of duets from Linda Ronstadt's 1989 album Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, earned some surprising country-radio airplay with his 1993 cover of George Jones' “The Grand Tour,” and recorded a 1994 cover of “I Fall to Pieces” with Trisha Yearwood. His latest release is 2010's I Know I've Been Changed, a gospel album that reunited him with pianist Allen Toussaint, with whom Neville has recorded on and off for more than 50 years.