This Week in Milwaukee: Dec. 5-Dec. 11
Radio Milwaukee Music Awards @ Studio Milwaukee, 6:30 p.m.
Radio Milwaukee 88Nine has plenty to celebrate at this year’s sixth annual Radio Milwaukee Music Awards. Earlier this year the station moved operations to an extravagant new studio complex and performance space at 220 E. Pittsburgh Ave., which will host this year’s awards party. The lineup features some of the local artists nominated for various awards, including Fever Marlene, the Greg Koch Band, Kane Place Record Club, Dana Coppa & SPEAK Easy, and Kiings—all of whom have received airplay from the station.
Sheryl Crow @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
Though she first caught the music industry’s attention as a backup singer for Michael Jackson during his 1987 “Bad” tour, Sheryl Crow resisted early offers to record as a dance-pop artist, waiting until 1993 to release her first album, Tuesday Night Music Club, which established her as a something-for-everyone singer-songwriter. Crow’s singles have found her straddling the line between Lilith Fair folkie (“If It Makes You Happy,” “Strong Enough”), pop starlet (“Soak Up the Sun,” “All I Wanna Do”) and, more recently, covert country-crossover singer (“Picture,” “The First Cut Is the Deepest”)—all hats that she has worn to considerable commercial success. Crow’s relationship with musical genres continues to be polygamous. On 2008’s Detours, a record inspired by her breakup with cyclist Lance Armstrong and her victory over breast cancer, Crow re-embraced the confessional folk and roots-rock that first gave her a taste of fame in the ’90s, while 2010’s 100 Miles from Memphis paid homage to the earthy soul and R&B of Nashville. Her latest album, Feels Like Home, opts for a more modern style of country music. It’s Crow’s most overt grab for the mainstream country crowd yet.
Friday, Dec. 6
Kacey Musgraves w/ John & Jacob @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
It seems fateful that Kacey Musgraves grew up not all that far from the part of East Texas where Miranda Lambert was raised, since Musgraves would go on to write a hit for Lambert (“Mama’s Broken Heart”) and garner plenty of comparisons to that country star as she became a star in her own right. Hers wasn’t a fast path to success, by any means. Musgraves didn’t make much of a splash when she competed on the 2007 “American Idol” knockoff “Nashville Star,” where she finished seventh, but after three commercially ignored independent albums, this year she finally released her breakthrough record, Same Trailer Different Park, an endearingly wide-eyed country album with a quaint, traditionalist streak. It earned plenty of acclaim even from publications that don’t cover much commercial country music, including Spin and Rolling Stone, which ranked the disc as one of 2013’s albums of the year.
Steez w/ Indigo Sun and Conundrum @ Shank Hall, 9 p.m.
Steez, self-proclaimed pioneer of “creepfunk,” has trademarked a fittingly bizarre term for its jam-band fusion of synthesized funk, gritty rock and up-tempo fusion. With its blaring saxophone and freaky keyboards, this Madison quintet often seems to imagine an acid-spiked jam session between Prince, Steely Dan and Herbie Hancock, though song titles like “Trouser Snakes” make it clear the band doesn’t take itself too seriously; they’re just interested in hammering out some formidable grooves.
Last Minute Art @ The Marshall Building, 6 p.m.
Too Much Metal, an eccentric T-shirt boutique tucked on the third floor of the Marshall Building in the Third Ward, will do its part to help art-minded Milwaukeeans out with their holiday shopping with a pop-up marketplace in its showroom. This free event will feature work from more than a dozen local artists, including Michael Arms, Kelli Busch, Dan Fleming, Kari Garon, Sonji Hunt, Jessica Kaminski, Thea Kovac, Jeanne Nikolai, Olivieri Plushzilla, Brianna Prudhomme, Jeff Redmon, Becky Tesch and Della Wells, as well as vintage fashion finds from Cocoon Room. Too Much Metal won’t take a cut of any of the sales; all the money will go directly to the artists.
Saturday, Dec. 7
Milwaukee Wave Home Opener w/ Daughtry @ U.S. Cellular Arena, 6 p.m.
Under the management of new owner Sue Black, Milwaukee’s indoor soccer team the Milwaukee Wave is hoping for big things in its 30th season, which it inaugurates tonight with a home opener against the Baltimore Blast at the U.S. Cellular Arena. Tickets include a post-game concert by neo-grunge rockers Daughtry, the eponymous band of “American Idol” finalist Chris Daughtry. This will be something of a make-good performance for the group, which last year cancelled a planned appearance at Summerfest’s BMO Harris Pavilion.
Sunday, Dec. 8
Hover Craft @ Turner Hall Ballroom, noon-6 p.m.
This year a popular local craft institution came to an end. After ten years, Art vs. Craft held its final event last weekend. Thankfully, there’s still another local marketplace where shoppers can buy unique handmade goods directly from Milwaukee-area businesses, craftspeople and artisans: Hover Craft, which this year will feature dozens of vendors at Turner Hall Ballroom. Among the goods: singular pillows, knitted hats and mittens, silk scarves, unusual bracelets, boutique baby accessories, quirky terrariums and even craft mustard.
Tuesday, Dec. 10
JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound w/ Vic and Gab @ Turner Hall Ballroom 6:30 p.m.
Last month brought news of two big changes to the Milwaukee media landscape: The Onion announced that it would cease printing and close the A.V. Club Milwaukee office, and Radio Milwaukee revealed it was parting ways with its program director Mark Keefe. The Turner Hall Ballroom will send both Keefe and A.V. Club Milwaukee off with this free party, featuring Chicago soul revivalists JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, who take cues from Stax Records-style Memphis R&B—Radio Milwaukee listeners probably know them best for their unlikely cover of “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” a longtime staple of the station’s playlist. Milwaukee favorites Vic and Gab kick off the night.