Aug. 28 - Sept. 3
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, Aug. 28
Lewis Black @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 11 p.m.
Though he’s likely blown any chance he had at film stardom after a string of appearances in awful movies like Robin Williams’ Man of the Year and the 2006 kid film Unaccompanied Minors, angry comedian Lewis Black (pictured) has had better luck cashing in his “Daily Show” celebrity on the stand-up circuit, where he’s now a top-tier touring act. He’s also found modest success with his own Comedy Central show, “Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil,” a (very) high-concept court program that returned for a second season last month. This June, Black, a non-practicing Jew, released his second book, Me of Little Faith, a series of ruminations on religion.
Brian Lynch Quartet @ Jazz Estate, 9:30 p.m.
In the quarter-century or so since he graduated from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Milwaukee native Brian Lynch has been a member of the Horace Silver Quintet, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and played with Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Prince and Maxwell. He’s also become an important figure in jazz music in his own right, making particular contributions to Latin jazz. His 2006 album with Latin jazz great Eddie Palmieri, Simpatico, showcased Lynch’s sharp arrangements and featured guest spots from some of the genre’s great play ers, past and present. Tonight, Lynch does a rare show with his own quartet.
Kid Rock @ Miller Park, 9 p.m.
Harley-Davidson’s infamous 100th anniversary concert in Milwaukee wasn’t a complete failure. Although the company suffered a PR nightmare by letting rumors run rampant that The Rolling Stones would headline, then disappointed its biker base by instead unveiling WTF headliner Elton John, Harley at least scored a minor victory with opener Kid Rock, whose rowdy rock ’n’ roll was far more enthusiasti cally received than John’s piano bal lads. It’s logical, then, that Detroit’s rapping-cowboy rock er returns tonight as part of the compa ny’s epic 105th anniversary celebra tion, capping off a day that also includes performances from Sugarland, The Billy Bob Thornton Band and Joan Jett.
Friday, Aug. 29
Maritime @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Once coldly dismissed as yet another Promise Ring side project, local indie-rockers Maritime have picked up a well-deserved following over the years, as their records became better, their live shows stronger and their pop sensibilities tighter. Last year 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, which is now rightly heralded as one of the true crown jewels of the Milwaukee music scene.
Foo Fighters w/ Three Days Grace @ Roadhouse at the Lakefront, 7 p.m.
While a biker-friendly lineup of bands like ZZ Top, Los Lonely Boys, The Black Crowes, Foghat and Amanda Overmyer plays the neighboring Summerfest grounds as part of Harley- Davidson’s 105th anniversary celebration, the night’s biggest ticket is the general-admission Foo Fighters concert. Though fans may grumble that Dave Grohl has sucked all the playfulness and sweet pop sensibilities out of his band for its recent, humorless albums, Grohl clearly knows what he’s doing; the latest Foo Fighters album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, was one of the most commercially successful modern-rock releases of the year. Foo Fighters share tonight’s bill with Three Days Grace, a one-noted post-grunge band that sings angry songs with unrelenting, dire urgency. Their latest album, One-X, is riding high on a trio of feel-bad hit singles: “Never Too Late,” “Animal I Have Become” and “Pain.”
Saturday, Aug. 30
On their 2005 debut album, So Much Drama, Red Knife Lottery shouted out songs about murder and betrayal, sounding like a far younger, far thrashier version of The Pretenders. This year they returned with Hip Bruisers, a 7-inch that further tempered the band’s violent punk with jazzy tones and the increasingly soulful wails of screeching, powerhouse singer Ashley Chapman. This fall, the band heads to the studio to record their sophomore album, but not before they play a pair of shows this week, includ ing a Thursday, Aug. 28 concert at MOCT as part of Harley Fest, and tonight’s show at the Cactus Club, which they share with two mathy punk band’s, Chicago’s Haymarket Riot and Milwaukee’s Father Phoenix.
Red Knife Lottery, photo by Justin Krol
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band @ The Roadhouse at the Lakefront, 9 p.m.
Not that Bruce Springsteen was ever unpopular, commercially or critically, but since 2002’s poignant comeback album, The Rising, The Boss has grown even more revered. While his longtime followers at Rolling Stone were stamping five-star reviews on The Rising and his latest album, Magic, two glossy rock discs with a solemn side, younger musicians that had long been skeptical of The Boss’s wide appeal began to come around, as a new gener ation of indie-rock bands like Arcade Fire and The Hold Steady trumpeted Springsteen’s pure-spirited populism. Still known for their fist-pumping, work manlike live shows, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band return to Milwaukee tonight after their Bradley Center appearance this March.
Boiled In Lead @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Like many modern Irish bands, Minneapolis’ Boiled In Lead views the tra ditional sounds of the old country as merely a starting point, often burying their Celtic motifs behind grinding lead guitars. Although hometown critics have dubbed them Irish folk-punk, their 2008 album, Silver, actually owed more to progressive rock than punk, invoking the renaissance tinges of Led Zeppelin while still stirring up celebratory choruses to raise a pint glass to.
Sunday, Aug. 31
Though conceived, like so many other concerts and festivals around the city this week, for the army of visiting Harley riders, Locust Street’s Sunday Survivor Fest is perhaps this week’s biker-friend ly event with the most appeal for non bikers, since its entertainment lineup is most like that of a typical Milwaukee street festival. Southbound, The Delta Routine and Brother Louie all headline different stages with their up-tempo, biker-friendly rock, while less traditional rock bands like Freshwater Collins, The Mistreaters and Call Me Lightning top the Shepherd Express/Lakefront Brewery Stage.
Tuesday, Sept. 2
Many of the nation’s top critics used their dismissive reviews of the new comedy House Bunny to lament the unfortunate career of its star, Anna Faris, with a few mentioning Smiley Face, a barely released 2007 stoner comedy, as one of the few films that actually lives up to the potential of its lead actress. This story about a woman who accidentally con sumes pot cupcakes is a cut weirder than the typical Dude, Where’s My Car fare, in part because it was directed by Gregg Araki, whose best-known films are stark dramas about drug-addled, dysfunctional youths. Needless to say, Smiley Face is a far brighter, more optimistic movie than Araki’s previous film, Mysterious Skin, a character study of two sexually molested teenagers. (Smiley Face also screens on Sunday, Aug. 31.)
Wednesday, Sept. 3
Billing themselves as “emissaries from your local, tightly knit community of anarchists and squatters,” Santa Cruz, Calif.’s Blackbird Raum embodies a distinctly youthful sub-sub-genre of dark protest folk. Borrowing accordion and banjo from the more morbid corners of traditional European and American music, the young group plucks up aggressive acoustic music as they share their none-too-subtle politics. Their Milwaukee stop is part of their “burnin’ gasoline while there’s still such a thing” tour, ahead of the release of their new album Swidden.