This Week in Milwaukee: July 10-16
Thursday, July 10
Veruca Salt w/ Battleme @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Veruca Salt weren’t one of the most important bands of the alternative era, but they were one of the more fun ones, packing their 1994 debut album American Thighs and its 1997 sequel Eight Arms to Hold You with spunky, amped-up alterna-pop that provided a welcome counterpart to the sometimes overly serious grunge of the time. By 1998, however, the band’s lineup had been gutted by internal feuds, leaving singer Louise Post the only remaining original member, and though she continued touring and recording with the band for another decade, few were paying attention. Thankfully, time has a way of healing old wounds. Last year the original lineup of the band reunited, writing on their Facebook page, “Let’s just say this: hatchets buried, axes exhumed.”
Zepparella @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Led Zeppelin’s driving and relentless updating of the blues has spawned countless imitators and cover bands. One of the most influential groups in hard rock, they provided a gateway from blues music to rock music that has influenced likely every rock band to came after them. Instead of making music inspired by Zeppelin, the all-female tribute band Zepparella decided to honor them in the most straightforward way possible. The Bay Area foursome takes their love of all things Zeppelin and turns it into skillful and faithful covers of the group’s extensive discography, while the gender swap provides a twist that separates them from the countless other Zeppelin tribute acts on the market.
Friday, July 11
South Shore Frolics @ South Shore Park, 4 p.m.
The all-American alternative to Bastille Days’ celebration of French culture, South Shore Frolics is one of Bay View’s oldest summer traditions. After 65 years, the feel is still old-timey and family friendly, with plenty of events for small children and their grandparents, including kids’ games, oldies and cover music, a Friday fish fry, a Saturday parade down Kinnickinnic Avenue and a Sunday car show. For those who didn’t get their fix last week, there are also nightly fireworks.
Ben Kweller @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Ben Kweller has been making music since he was 12, and been making a living doing it for nearly as long, having drawn a major label deal with Mercury Records as part of the band Radish while still a teenager. The high expectations failed to yield much commercial success however, and Kweller left to pursue a solo career. Five studio albums and consistent touring, including an infamous show at Austin City Limits music festival cut short by a profuse nosebleed, have established him as a working musician. Grunge influences speak to his formative years in the ’90s, while his unassuming voice brings an endearing quality to sweetly sad lyrics.
Saturday, July 12
Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival @ Veterans Park, 9 a.m.
An ancient Chinese tradition, dragon boat racing traditionally takes place during the celebration of the Duanwu Festival. Boats bedecked with fierce dragon heads and intricate colorings are propelled through the water by teams of rowers following the beat of a drum. The second annual Dragon Boat Festival in Milwaukee features a rowing competition open to the public. Dragon boats are provided to participants as part of the registration fee, and both teams and individuals are welcome to sign up to race across the lagoon in Veterans Park. The festival also features traditional dancing and entertainment between heats of dragon boat racing.
Turquoise Jeep @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Without a record label or major sponsors, Turquoise Jeep has nevertheless built up a following through a YouTube channel featuring DIY music videos and tongue-in-cheek songs like the hilariously awful and thoroughly enjoyable “Lemme Smang It.” Utilizing an entirely in-house production and promotion team, the group makes overtly sexual and self-aware hip-hop that satirizes the industry while remaining outside of it. Expect outsize personalities and fake mustaches at the show, as well as hits like “Treat Me Like a Pirate” and “Naughty Farmer” delivered by Flynt Flossy and Yung Humma.
Sunday, July 13
Milwaukee Challenge 2014: The Ultimate Urban Scavenger Race @ Trinity Three Irish
Pubs, 2 p.m.
The Ultimate Urban Scavenger Race pits teams against each other to scour the city for clues and be the first to cross the finish line. Participants will use the clues to reach various destinations and snap a picture of their team before heading on to the next stop. The Milwaukee Challenge is just one part of the national Scavenger Race series, with the top 50 teams from each city qualifying for nationals in Las Vegas. Cash and gift card prizes are on the line in the competition, which had 179 participating teams in Milwaukee last year.
Monday, July 14
Bone Jugs ’n’ Harmony @ The Jazz Estate, 9 p.m.
Bone Jugs ’n’ Harmony takes a cacophony of sounds drawn from xylophones, woodwinds, jugs and yes, bones, and manages to form them into a coherent structure. Ragtag xylophone plinks and riotous kazoo are underlain by a foundation of percussion sturdy enough to keep the songs together while voices whoop and holler wildly, occasionally coming together for a moment of agreeable harmony. Performing with an attitude the group describes as “seriously silly,” Bone Jugs ’n’ Harmony covers folk and blues songs in addition to original compositions.
Welcome to Night Vale @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
An homage to the late-night radio thrillers of the ’30s and ’40s, the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” was destined to find a cult audience from the moment it was conceived. Structured as a dry community radio broadcast from a remote desert town where the locals don’t seem to make much of all the ominous supernatural occurrences that pepper daily life, within a year of its 2012 launch the creepy program was one of iTunes’ most downloaded podcasts, and has developed an eerily devoted online following. For this live recording of the show host Cecil Baldwin will be joined by musical guest Eliza Rickman.
Tuesday, July 15
Boy and Bear @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Boy and Bear’s soft indie-rock has won them acclaim in their homeland of Australia, with both their first and second albums debuting in the top ten and receiving multiple nominations at the Australian Recording Industry Awards. Their first album Moonfire was recorded in Nashville, and the city’s country influences are evident. The group’s music delivers an insistent rhythm with no rough edges, as guitar, keyboards and percussion blend into a smooth mixture that puts their echoing vocals on full display.
Jackson Browne @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
Beginning his career in the mid ’60s in Los Angeles folk clubs, Jackson Browne combines an intimate artistry with a strong vision of social justice. Since his debut album came out on Asylum Records in 1972, Browne has released 13 studio albums and three collections of live performances, writing and performing a moving oeuvre of songs imbued with honesty and a strong sense of personal politics. Browne is known for his advocacy on behalf of the environment, human rights and arts education, co-founding Musicians United for Safe Energy, nukefree.org, and the Success Through the Arts Foundation, which provides education opportunities for students in South Los Angeles.