This Week in Milwaukee: Oct. 10-16
So You Think You Can Dance @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
Created as a way to fill airtime on Fox during the off season of “American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance” has been a reliable hit in its own right, albeit nowhere near the cultural sensation that “Idol” was in its prime. Like “Idol,” the show hits the road at the end of each season with a tour spotlighting the top 10 finalists, proving that, indeed, they can dance. Challengers dance to a variety of genres including jazz, contemporary, classical, street and ballroom.
Friday, Oct. 11
RadioLab Live: Apocalyptical @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
Produced by WNYC in New York, “RadioLab” has a sound all its own. Hosts Jad Abumrad, an award-winning radio producer, and Robert Krulwich, a heralded science reporter, bring their diverse mix of perspective and knowledge to varied topics, and use vivid storytelling and innovative sound design to explore the mysteries of science. For this program, “Apocalyptical,” Abumrad and Krulwich will be joined by comedian Kurt Braunohler and the band On Fillmore to consider the end of the world.
Minus The Bear w/ INVSN and Slow Bird @ The Rave, 8:30 p.m.
With their twisty, tangled guitars and number-crunching chord changes, Minus The Bear sounds increasingly disconnected from an indie scene that now prefers wishy-washy, abstract pop or tranquilized, NPR friendly troubadours, but by staying true to the brainy indie-rock of yore the group has continued to grow its audience. Of course, it also helps that this Seattle group has honed its craft over recent albums and EPs, moving from the calculated stiffness of early releases toward warmer, sweeter songs. Their 2010 album Omni introduced new synthesizer and drum-machine textures to their sound, some of which carried over to last year’s more overtly proggy Infinity Overhead.
Josh Thompson w/ Chasin’ Mason and Katie Kessler @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Perhaps it’s fitting that Wisconsin native Josh Thompson’s debut single was titled “Beer on the Table.” Thompson found his quick fame as a country singer-songwriter after he moved to Nashville in 2005. His childhood experiences, working alongside his father pouring concrete instilled the value of hard labor, and those values come across in songs like “Way Out Here” and “Won’t Be Lonely Long.” His songs inspired by blue-collared life—of love, loss and hurt—have clearly resonated with country audiences, as have his songs about frosty drinks. His latest single is “Cold Beer with Your Name on It.”
Lucky Tubb and The Modern Day Troubadours @ Harley-Davidson Museum,
Country music runs in Lucky Tubb’s blood. The Texas musician is the great nephew of honky tonk great Ernest Tubb, a legend who recorded literally dozens of charting hits during the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, and he doesn’t stray too far from the ragged, old-time style of country music that his famous relative perfected. Tonight Tubbs and his rockabilly band Modern Day Troubadours perform in the Harley-Davidson Museum’s Experience Gallery.
Saturday, Oct. 12
Bill Maher @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
Forever infamous for his turn-of-the-century show “Politically Incorrect” (and the controversies that show spawned), Bill Maher hasn’t left political humor behind. The proud libertarian has continued hosting a political roundtable for HBO, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and touring behind a stand-up set that focuses heavily on Washington dysfunction. The government shutdown and endless in-fighting over the debt ceiling should leave him with plenty to discuss tonight.
Chuck Palahniuk: Adult Bedtime Stories @ UW-Milwaukee Union, 7 p.m.
Best known for his shocking, violent, bleakly funny 1996 debut novel Fight Club, which spawned one of the great cult movies of the ’90s, Chuck Palahniuk is one of the modern masters of the macabre, reliably churning stomachs with each new release. This month he released his latest novel, Doomed, the second in a trilogy following dead teenager Madison Spencer as she navigates the afterlife, but tonight’s appearance won’t be a typical book reading. Instead, Palahniuk has framed the event as a program of “Adult Bedtime Stories.” Attendees are encouraged to wear pajamas (and even bring a teddy bear, if they wish) for a night that will include trivia, games and giveaways (most likely of the disturbing variety).
Co-Op Fest @ Garden Park, 10 a.m.
Recent years have seen the introduction of a number of cooperative businesses around Milwaukee, with many of them centered in the city’s Riverwest neighborhood. This weekend the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance, an organization of cooperatively owned businesses, will celebrate their shared values with a two-day event that begins Saturday in Garden Park (at Locust and Bremen) and continues Sunday with special events at nearby co-ops. There will be music, food, beer and family activities, as well as information sessions about how to start a cooperative business.
Sunday, Oct. 13
Man Man w/ Xenia Rubinos @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Pots and pans, breaking plates, spoons and fireworks are just some of the “instruments” this eclectic band will incorporate into their music. This multi-instrumental band, which came to attention touring with acts like Modest Mouse and Yeasayer, has coined a particularly eccentric style of indie-rock that often plays like an out-of-control, all-night circus. Their fifth and latest record On Oni Pond, which reunites them with Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis, is packed with festive trumps and strings, while retaining the slightly dark lyrical lean of part records.
Tuesday, Oct. 15
Sarah Jarosz @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
After starting her music career in her young teens, Sarah Jarosz signed her first recording contract at the age of 16. She proved herself a natural musician, able to play the guitar, clawhammer banjo and octave mandolin, and on her albums she’s drawn from her diverse arts background to create her own style of contemporary bluegrass. On her latest record, Build Me Up From Bones, her third for Sugar Hill Records, she puts her soothing voice to work on a collection of often-somber songs that showcase her ever-maturing songwriting voice.
Wednesday, Oct. 16
Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ The Congress @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band is the progeny of husband-and-wife rockers Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, veteran road warriors who in 2010 merged their individual bands into one made up of 10 members. They knew they were on to something with the success of their first album under the Tedeschi Trucks umbrella, 2011’s Relevator, which took home a Grammy for Best Blues Album. This summer they released a follow-up record, Made Up Mind, a more varied set that includes several songs heavily inspired by the vintage soul of Stax and Motown.
Dave Mason Band and Sam Llanas @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason has performed with The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson, and even did time in Fleetwood Mac, but to most listeners he’ll always be best known for his feel-good hit “Feelin’ Alright,” which he recorded with his band Traffic. These days the English musician tours at his own pace with his Dave Mason Band, which tackles songs from his vast solo discography as well as Traffic, but he occasionally records new material as well. His latest album is 2006’s 26 Letters—12 Notes.