Mar. 5 - Mar. 11
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, March 5
The Seventh Seal @ The Weasler Auditorium, 8:30 p.m.
The two book-ending images in Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 existential masterpiece The Seventh Seal, Death playing a game of chess and Death’s victims dancing, are two of the most parodied in film, satirized by everyone from Woody Allen to Monty Python and Bill and Ted. It’s likely Bergman himself would have appreciated these parodies. Though The Seventh Seal has a reputation as the most somber of Sweden’s many somber fi lms, no doubt because of its dour subject matter, the film is loaded with humor and levity— even Death himself is more personable than the typical grim reaper, and the fi lm’s ultimate message about fi nding meaning in the absence of God is at its core an optimistic one. The film screens tonight for free as the final salvo in Marquette’s Foreign Film Festival.
Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Ralph Stanley is now 82 and his voice has grown frail with age, but it still cuts with the strident twang of the most pure bluegrass music, and Stanley’s banjo playing is still fast and reckless, prone toward the higher registers. Stanley was among several roots musicians who benefited from the bluegrass revival sparked by the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack in 2000. He contributed to a frills-free version of “O Death,” though he actually had a much longer history with the fi lm’s signature song, “Man of Constant Sorrow.” It was Stanley and his brother Carter who as the Stanley Brothers popularized the traditional song with their 1950 version.
Beatallica w/ Adler’s Appetite @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
The joke should have grown stale by now—band mashes up Beatles favorites with Metallica lyrics and a thrash-metal attitude—but Milwaukee’s Beatallica keeps finding ways to keep it fresh. The group’s latest album, Sgt. Hetfield’s Motorbreath Pub Band, contains songs like “Blackened the U.S.S.R.,” “Hey Dude” and an “Enter Sandman”/“Taxman” sendup called simply “Sandman.” Tonight the high-concept cover band opens for a very low-concept cover band, Adler’s Appetite, the sad paying gig of one-time Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler, a man so troubled that Dr. Drew couldn’t fix him. Anyone wondering what the entire Appetite for Destruction album would sound like as played by members of Quiet Riot and Enuff Z’Nuff won’t want to miss this.
Friday, March 6
Anderson @ Art Bar, 9 p.m.
Amsterdam’s indie-electro duo Anderson crafts its glitchy compositions on the same proverbial laptop as The Notwist and The Postal Service, but where those acts are wallflowers at heart, Anderson comes from a more extroverted place, pairing Sufjan Stevens-esque songwriting with inclusive, Pet Shop Boys-inspired nods to club culture. The duo’s sophomore album, It Runs in the Family, an ambitious suite charting the desperate lives of an estranged family, has only been released in Japan so far, but the group is touring America ahead of a planned stateside release this summer.
John Prine w/ Iris DeMent @ Marcus Center, 8 p.m.
John Prine started his career meekly, delivering mail in Maywood, Ill., before Kris Kristofferson noticed him at open mics in Chicago. The folk singer gained national attention with his 1971 self-titled debut, which would eventually rank 458th on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time. Prine released his 2005 album Fair & Square after battling throat cancer, giving the singer a more hoarse voice, but the combination of poignant songs and poignant back-story was enough to win a Grammy Award. Prine’s latest, Standard Songs for Average People, is a stab at traditional country music with bluegrass musician Mac Wiseman.
The Dark Knight @ The Times Cinema, 11:50 p.m.
The Goth kids who once wore combat boots and black T-shirts with pictures of Brandon Lee as The Crow on them are still dressing more or less the same as they did 15 years ago, except now they wear T-shirts with Heath Ledger’s Joker on them. It’s another sign that, for all its precedent-setting commercial success, at its heart The Dark Knight is really just an epic cult film, one rich with wonky comic book references and macabre images designed with fan boys at heart, making it prime material for the midnight-movie circuit. The Times Cinema and WMSE team up to bring what will likely be the first of many late-night screenings of the film tonight.
Saturday, March 7
Big Fun 4Ever w/ Terrior Bute and Freight @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Two bands from the local label Vicious Pop celebrate new releases tonight: Big Fun 4Ever, a synth-pop band with a big heart and sweet, cooing vocals that lend an organic humanity to their vibrating compositions, have issued a 7-inch for their new single “Teenage Sensation,” five minutes of indie-electro bliss, while Terrior Bute, a synth-punk trio schooled on Devo but prone to clever, noisy freakouts a la The Mae Shi, go all-out with a new full-length, Realm Dwellers. The bill begins on a bittersweet note, with a farewell performance from Freight, a Milwaukee band that earned innumerable Jesus Lizard comparisons for their drunken math-rock, yet never let the foreboding undertones in their music get in the way of having a good time live.
U2 Zoo @ Shank Hall, 9 p.m.
Now that Bono and the Edge are writing the score for the web-slinging Broadway musical Spider-Man, it’ll be interesting to see if the Milwaukee U2 tribute act U2 Zoo starts donning Spider-Man and Green Goblin costumes. The four-piece tribute, named of course for U2’s 1993 live tour “Zoo TV,” has been recreating the sights and sounds of a U2 concert since 2003—lead singer Scott Neis even wears Bono’s notorious Bvlgari sunglasses. There’s no word on whether the actual U2 will return to Milwaukee as part of the tour behind their just-released album, No Line on the Horizon, but U2 Zoo will already be working material from that record into their set tonight.
Sunday, March 8
Wynton Marsalis @ The Marcus Center, 7:30 p.m.
The Alec Baldwin to his brothers’ Daniel, William and Stephen Baldwins, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is one of the most talented jazz musicians not only in his family but also in all of jazz, period, though he’s irked plenty in the scene with his revisionist views that any jazz that deviates too far from its New Orleans roots is heretical. Marsalis is an unapologetic classicist, but there’s no denying that the man knows his jazz history (or his jazz history up to 1960, at least). His performance tonight with his 15-piece Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra won’t feature selections from legends more avant-garde than Thelonious Monk or perhaps Herbie Hancock, but Marsalis can be trusted to play the hell out of them, while retaining his trademark formality.
Rockabilly Chili Contest @ MSOE Kern Center, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There are as many chili recipes as there are chefs. The popular winter dish can be made with pineapples, peanut butter, potatoes, tofu—if you can eat it, it’s probably been in a chili somewhere in the world. That there’s no single, defining chili recipe has made winter events like WMSE’s Rockabilly Chili Contest, now in its seventh year, so popular. The event drew more than 1,500 people last year, and with 39 restaurants and 52 chili varieties on tap, this year should be another packed affair. Awards will be given out for best meat, vegetarian, heat and table presentation. Proceeds, of course, go to 91.7 WMSE.