Home / Columns / This Week in Milwaukee / May 1 - May 7
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May 1 - May 7

This Week in Milwaukee

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Thursday, May 1
Kathleen Edwards w/ The Last Town Chorus @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
  Canadian alt-country songstress Kathleen Edwards has become a favorite of the “World Caf” set since her lauded 2003 release, Failer. Subsequent offerings have seen her build on that album’s rollicking yet melodic sound. Her latest, Asking for Flowers, a record that moves far beyond the empty lyrical patriotism present in most current mainstream country music, showcases harsh sentiments about the audacity of the Bush administration and the devastating effects of war. Brooklyn, N.Y., opening act The Last Town Chorus is a vehicle for the slide guitar-work and breathy vocals of Megan Hickey. Last year’s outstanding Wire Waltz features a slew of slow-burning gems, including an achingly beautiful, dirge-like cover of David Bowie’s “Modern Love.”


Friday, May 2
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club w/ The Duke Spirit @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.
  As the band’s name suggests, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club specializes in loud, rambunctious garage rock, making the group outcasts from an indie-rock scene that now prefers downtrodden songwriting or handclap-laden quirk. Blending abrasive guitar-driven straight-ahead rock with plenty of nods to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s most fuzzed-out moments, the band’s most recent release, Baby 81,is a return to its trademark sound after the introspective folk of 2005’s Ginsberg-inspired Howl. Opening the show is The Duke Spirit, a band led by the throaty, emotive vocals of Liela Moss, who fuses styles as wide-ranging as the spacey guitar rock of Frank Zappa to the doo-wop of ’60s girl groups.


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club


Cedric the Entertainer @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
One of the most genial names in comedy returns to Milwaukee tonight as Cedric the Entertainer takes a break from his respectable film career to return to his roots as one of stand-up comedy’s nice guys.


The most family-friendly personality from Spike Lee’s 2000 comedy concert film The Original Kings of Comedy, Cedric has spent much of his career since that breakthrough working small parts in family-friendly movies and television shows. Unlike some actors who cherish the chance to crush their PGfriendly image on-stage, Cedric for the most part prefers to keep his act clean.

Murder By Death w/ Dios Malos, Gasoline Heart @ Marquette University Union Sports Annex, 8 p.m.
  Bloomington, Ind.’s Murder By Death has harnessed several disparate muses to create a sweeping, cinematic sound on its fourth full-length, Red of Tooth and Claw. The album finds the four-piece band settling on a more restrained delivery than its previous efforts, with the cacophonic drums and violent bursts of electric cello taking a backseat to more standard, clean instrumentation. The album also finds frontman Adam Turla’s vocals presiding in a more subdued manner over the swirling, raucous backdrop than Murder By Death manufactures at its wildest and best, but smart money is on the band kicking up some serious racket live.

Map of Memories @ Danceworks, 8 p.m.
  Wild Space Dance Company ends its season this weekend with multiple performances of an ambitious conceptual program themed around Milwaukee’s multicultural JonesIsland. The program’s dances and images are derived from tales of the Eastern European immigrants who inhabited the island in the late-1800s. For added historical perspective, Milwaukee historian-extraordinaire John Gurda will speak about the island’s history before the Friday and Saturday night performances.

Robbie Fulks @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
  Robbie Fulks, one of many fruitful singer-songwriters to emerge from Chicago’s ’90s alt-country scene, is nothing if not multifaceted. He loves stripped-down, sparse country, but he also likes hard-driven roots rock. He writes silly country toss-offs, but he also writes serious ballads. He has an ambitious concept album to his credit (2001’s Couples in Trouble), but his 2005 album Georgia Hard relied on witty jaunts like the ones Shel Silverstein used to pen for the country greats. He finds a happy balance between all these sides during his live performances, as documented on his recent live double album, Revenge!


Robbie Fulks

Saturday, May 3
Maritime w/ White, Wrench, Conservatory @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
  Once coldly dismissed as another Promise Ring side project—and not a particularly interesting one at that—local indie-rockers Maritime have picked up a well-deserved following over the years, as their records became better and their live shows stronger. Last fall they released their finest record yet, the tuneful, peppy Heresy and the Hotel Choir, which met with a symphony of local accolades. Some of the praise surely resulted from hometown pride—with long-distance bassist Eric Axelson (formerly of Dismemberment Plan) out of the picture, Maritime now feels like a true local band, not a transnational side project—but equally strong reviews from the national press further fueled the sense of excitement surrounding the group. Openers White, Wrench, Conservatory put a bold spin on the traditional shoegaze sound, thanks to some help from an old Hammond organ, an accordion and a half-dozen or so effects pedals.

Sunday, May 4
Dead Meadow w/ Father Phoenix @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
  “Dead Metal?” Jimmy McNulty asked on a recent episode of “The Wire,” mishearing the name of the band his teenage sons were listening to. “What’s wrong with The Ramones?” Such is the generation gap. Despite Dead Meadow’s proclivity for a little bit of extra noise, and a few longer, spacey tangents, however, there’s nothing all that foreign about the D.C. group’s sound. Their songs begin with the same hard and bluesy foundation that heavy rock bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin have been using since the late-’60s. That they’re signed to the ever-cool Matador Records lends them a certain prestige that many similar stoner-rock bands never acquire.

Monday, May 5
The Presidents of the United States of America @ The Rave Eagles Club, 8 p.m.
  It’s doubtful that even a casual music fan from the ’90s wouldn’t remember at least one of The Presidents of the United States of America’s charming novelty hits (after all, “Lump” was parodied by “Weird Al” Yankovic, a surefire mark of pop indelibility). Most, however, are less aware of the work the “Drew Carey Show” theme-song-singing Seattle band has done since their peak. After a few hiatuses and some shuffling of personnel, the band has returned to the road behind the recently released These Are the Good Times People, their sixth studio effort, one filled with songs in the spirit of “Kitty” and “Peaches.”


The Presidents of the United States of America

Tuesday, May 6
Protestant @ The Borg Ward, 8 p.m.
  Respected fixtures of Milwaukee’s increasingly powerhouse DIY punk scene, Protestant melds ultra-heavy black metal riffs with fast and ferocious, Black Flag-styled hardcore, but still finds room for enough experimentation to push some songs past the five-minute mark on their latest album, The Hate. The Hollow. They inaugurate the new album tonight with a CD-release party in advance of a short tour out east later this month. Pulling Teeth, Under Pressure, Malachi and Northless open.

Wednesday, May 7
Streetlight Manifesto w/ MU330, The Supervillains @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
  When the Pabst Theater organization announced that it would begin booking concerts at the Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukeeans knew to expect different kinds of acts than the ones that typically play the Pabst, but nothing could have prepared them for the sheer amount of ska groups booked at the ballroom. Case in point, New Jersey’s Streetlight Manifesto, one of the ska scene’s youngest and most commercially promising bands, returns to the ballroom for their second show in less than five months tonight. With their punkish enthusiasm and requisite punchy horns, they’re one of the few modern ska bands to demonstrate appeal outside the usual circles. They’ll share the bill with ska veterans MU330 and relative upstarts The Supervillains.


Streetlight Manifesto