Apr. 24 - Apr. 30
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, April 24
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Intertwined melodies in the spirit of Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons are spread across husband-and-wife duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion’s Exploration, their most recent set of originals, which they recorded with members of Son Volt and The Jayhawks. Guthrie, as her surname suggests, is the respective daughter and granddaughter of Arlo and Woody, and though some of her songs focus on the touching subject of domestic tranquility, most of her work doesn’t stray far from the social consciousness one would expect from the progeny of folk royalty.
Friday, April 25
EOTO @ Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m.
It appears that the String Cheese Incident, once reigning gods of the jam scene, has all but broken up, but two of the group’s members, drummer Michael Travis and percussionist Jason Hann, have continued to perform together. Their new project, EOTO, is a far cry from the mostly rootsy sound of the Incident; instead, it’s an electro-rock hybrid, particularly indebted to jungle and drum ’n’ bass music. Unlike many “jamtronica” acts, whose songs devolve into trippy, sleepy soundscapes, EOTO tries to keep their music upbeat and danceable—a challenge, to be sure, since the duo’s concerts are entirely improvised.
The Tiptons @ The Jazz Estate, 9:30 p.m.
With their counterpoint-laden, three-saxophones, one-drummer dynamic, the all-woman jazz quartet The Tiptons nods particularly to Blue Note-styled hard bop, but in true improvisational fashion also incorporates the sounds of Afro-Cuban, New Orleans and Eastern European jazz. Fittingly, the group is named after the infamous pianist/saxophonist Billy Tipton, who on stage and in her private life lived as a man, her true gender only revealed after her death in 1989.
Saturday, April 26
Pyromancy @ Bucketworks, 8 p.m.
This collaborative, one-off performance puts a modern twist on the old Greek divination-by-fire ritual. The fire-dance troupe Arson Etiquette provides the choreography and, of course, the flames, while Concentric and This Specific Dream throw down an instrumental soundtrack and video artist Scott Lashay broadcasts additional visuals.
The Cave Singers w/ Trusty Knife, Wooden Robot @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Featuring former Pretty Girls Make Graves guitarist Derek Fudesco, Seattle trio The Cave Singers are led by Pete Quirk, whose nasal, quivering voice floats over the entirety of the band’s debut Invitation Songs. Quirk’s delivery is engaging, but the cascading horns and ghostly backing choirs are the real treats, fading in and out at just the right times. It is a record full of tender lyricism broken up with a few stomping tracks that recall The Violent Femmes, only with a more rustic, folky aesthetic. The back-porch feel of much of the record doesn’t fit the typical Seattle mold; instead, the album sometimes has the Southern-tinged sound of Iron & Wine, with gentle strumming offsetting the fervor of the dynamic instrumentation.
Larry the Cable Guy @ The Riverside Theater, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
With his not so subtly racist, homophobic, red-state humor and faked, redneck accent, Larry the Cable Guy makes Jeff Foxworthy look tastefully sophisticated. Although he lent his voice to the children’s movie Cars, you wouldn’t want this guy anywhere near your fifth-grader. He’s a covert, Confederate soldier from the culture wars disguised as an affable, goofball comedian, and he won’t stop until he’s made the word “queer” as acceptable a part of the American lexicon as his trademark “Git-r-done.” In the meantime, he’s making a fortune by cranking out ultra-low-budget comedy films that invariably turn a major profit, if only because the overhead is so modest.
Sunday, April 27
Fishboy @ The Borg Ward, 8 p.m.
With their feel-good, puppies-and-kittens-for-everybody mentality, the fast-rising, experimental indie quartet Fishboy has garnered a reputation for their quirky, over-sugared stage show. Their latest release, Albatross: How We Failed To Save The Lone Star State With The Power Of Rock And Roll, finds them pairing swaggering horns and chiming guitars to soundtrack honest, biographical lyrical rants. Eric Michener’s vocals recall Daniel Johnston’s warbling, boyish delivery, but the lyrics are far heavier than Johnston’s simple themes. The group shares tonight’s show with Milwaukee bands Quinn Scharber and Energy=Genius.
Monday, April 28
Van Halen @ Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m.
At this point, Van Halen must just flip a coin to decide which of their on-again, off-again singers they recruit for any given reunion tour. For this latest jaunt, the coin landed on the David Lee Roth side—sorry, Sammy Hagar fans. Meanwhile, in a maddening display of nepotism that crushed dreams of a complete reunion of the band’s beloved early lineup, longtime bassist Michael Anthony was unceremoniously booted from the group in favor of Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen (who, while competent, doesn’t live up to the lofty expectations of his name, obviously). The lineup tweak shouldn’t stop Van Halen from dusting off old Roth-era hits like “Jump” and “Hot For Teacher,” though.
The WAMI Awards Show @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.
Honors in 36 genre-spanning categories are up for grabs at the Wisconsin Area Music Industry’s 28th-annual awards show. The ceremony will include performances from plenty of the nominated performers, including Milwaukee buzz-band Fever Marlene and the longrunning ska outfit The Invaders, and each ticket includes admission to an after-show party.
Wednesday, April 30
Steve Forbert @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Though he is one of many on the long list of artists afflicted by Bob Dylan comparisons, folk singer Steve Forbert hasn’t let that restricting, critically anointed parallel stop him from churning out dozens of thoughtful, distinctly individualistic folk records over his long career. Forbert is touring behind last year’s Strange Names & New Sensations, which contains a reworked version of his best-known song, the 1980 hit “Romeo’s Tune.” He shares tonight’s bill with Wisconsin singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault.