July 16 - July 22
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, July 16
Festa Italiana @ Summerfest Grounds, 2 p.m.
For its 32nd year, Festa Italiana pays tribute to fairy-tale author Carlo Collodi’s most enduring creation, Pinocchio, an endearing wooden puppet with a Sarah Palin-esque penchant for stretching the truth. A team of world champion sculptors will be pounding away at a 20-foot recreation of the little fibber, working with 150 tons of sand to sculpt Pinocchio’s story. A daily Pinocchio parade at 5:30 p.m. will feature puppet shows, Italian music and folk dancers. Other attractions include an “Italian Idol” singing contest, cultural cuisine and free midway rides for kids, as well as the usual nightly Bartolotta Fireworks spectacle. (Through July 19.)
The Dutchess and The Duke w/ The Goodnight Loving and The Sugar Stems @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.
If you can’t make it down to Chicago for this weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival, you’re not completely out of luck: Some of the better bands playing the festival will also be stopping at various Milwaukee venues over the next week. Milwaukee’s Pitchfork sampler, which includes The National, Blitzen Trapper and The Walkmen, begins tonight with a Club Garibaldi performance from the Seattle folk-rock duo The Dutchess and The Duke, which scored some impressive reviews for their debut album, She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke, a sugary but ominously psychedelic collection of songs that’s part early Rolling Stones, part Peter, Paul and Mary (without, perhaps, the Paul).
Friday, July 17
Pauly Shore @ Jokerz Comedy Club, 8 and 10:30 p.m.
The first MTV host to find big-screen stardom, Pauly Shore was ubiquitous throughout the early and mid-’90s, lending variations of his stoned and aloof Generation X slacker persona to the movies Encino Man, Son in Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty and Bio-Dome. Around the turn of the century, Shore began phasing out the shtick that made him famous for his new stand-up routines, while experimenting with directing independent movies. After satirizing himself in 2003’s Pauly Shore Is Dead, Shore lampoons celebrity adoptions in his upcoming Adopted, a Borat-styled mockumentary filmed in Africa. Click for an interview where Shore discusses his new movie—and defends his old ones. (Also July 18.)
The National @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
After years of floundering, the Brooklyn, N.Y., indie-rock quintet The National finally broke through in 2007 with their fourth record, Boxer, a bleary-eyed, lived-in album that became one of that year’s most acclaimed. Between singer Matt Berninger’s warm baritone and his melancholic yet disarming songwriting, the record remains like little else in indie-rock, a respite from the zany arrangements and experimental theatrics of more ostentatious buzz bands. The band hopes to release a follow-up in the next year, but in the meantime has remained in the spotlight, recording a new song called “So Far Around the Bend” for this year’s Dark Was the Night charity album, which the band’s guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner spearheaded.
The Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken w/ Toad King @ The Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m.
Tonight’s concert marks a first for the Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken, the completely improvisational jazz-funk-psychedelia ensemble that since 2001 has performed every Tuesday night at the Jazz Estate: It’s the first time they’ve ever charged a cover. The band, which includes members of De La Buena, Kings Go Forth and Invade Rome, is asking for five bucks for tonight’s show, which celebrates their ninth anniversary and promises appearances from guest musicians. It’s also the first advertised weekend concert the quartet has ever played, and probably their last. But if you miss it, you may still have a chance to hear it later: The band hopes to record the show and release it as a live record.
Curumin w/ The Fresh Cut Collective @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
Luciano Nakata Albuquerque, a musician from Sao Paulo, Brazil, better known by his stage name Curumin, brings with him an instrument Milwaukee rarely sees at live concerts: a cavaquinho. It’s a small four-string guitar similar to a ukulele, prominent in Brazilian samba. The cavaquinho carries the bulk of Curumin’s funky samba music, which earned Albuquerque a contract with Quannum Projects, the independent label of the hip-hop duo Blackalicious. Albuquerque, who sings in his native Portuguese, returns to the Stonefly Brewery tonight after a January appearance. He’s playing behind Curumin’s second album, JapanPopShow.
Saturday, July 18
Port Washington Fish Day @ Port Washington Harbor, 10 a.m.
Outsiders are often shocked to learn that Wisconsin claims the world’s largest music festival, but they’d probably be less shocked to learn that it also claims the world’s largest fish fry. Set near the downtown harbor, Port Washington’s Fish Day serves up nearly 10,000 pounds of cod and 13,000 pounds of fried potatoes every year. The festival kicks off its 45th year with a Fish Day Parade. Other entertainment includes a craft show, a classic car show and five music stages, with Molly Hatchet headlining the main stage at 8 p.m. The day ends with fireworks over the harbor at 9:30 p.m.
The Etiquette w/ Quinn Scharber and The… @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.
In 2002, The Etiquette were nicely positioning themselves as Milwaukee’s answer to The Strokes. On the strength of Ages, a hyper-catchy EP that however accidentally coincided with the era’s rock revival, The Etiquette captured the ear of music managers and promoters, and found support on college radio and at CMJ magazine, but bad business decisions and lineup changes sidelined the band. Tonight, seven years later, The Etiquette finally celebrate the release of their overdue debut full-length, …Eons, a party record marked by gargantuan hooks, oversized twin guitars and double-tracked vocals. It’s a great rock album, even if it arrives about six years too late to earn the band a Spin magazine cover.
Korn @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
By the late-’90s, the seminal nu-metal group Korn was so popular that their video for “Got the Life” became the first video ever to be retired by MTV’s “Total Request Live.” Korn has struggled to recapture those commercial and critical heights after the turn of the century, however, confounding fans with unsure albums like 2007’s Untitled, which downplayed the band’s usually funky assault in favor of Beatlesque melodies and moody keyboards in the spirit of The Cure. This year, Korn is returning to the studio with their original producer, Ross Robinson, in hopes of recreating the energy that made them so popular a decade ago. That could prove to be a daunting task, though, given the departure of lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch and drummer David Silveria.
Sunday, July 19
Peter Murphy @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Former Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy has billed his latest tour as the “Secret Cover Tour,” teasing the release of four cover songs that he’ll soon make available for download. Milwaukee is the final stop of that tour, though, so the identity of those covers isn’t quite so clandestine anymore, especially since Murphy’s take on John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” surfaced in a TV commercial for Chase banks earlier this year, and his version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is already on iTunes. Nevertheless, the show promises actual surprises, since the “Godfather of Goth” has promised to play new material from his upcoming, Trent Reznor-produced album.
Monday, July 20
Blitzen Trapper w/ Loch Lomond @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Much as it ushered in grunge two decades ago, Seattle’s Sub Pop Records has been a leading proponent of the recent flannel-in-the-forest indie-folk movement, signing artists like Iron and Wine, Daniel Martin Moore, Vetiver, Tiny Vipers and Loney, Dear. One of its most promising acquisitions has been Blitzen Trapper, a Portland, Ore., ensemble that gets better with each album. The band’s Sub Pop debut, Furr, which toned down some of the band’s early indie-quirk in favor of a more traditional homage to Neil Young-styled Americana, garnered praise not only from the usual blogs but also from Rolling Stone, which placed it as No. 13 on the magazine’s list of the best albums of 2008. Tonight fans can expect to hear some of the Furr outtakes and B-sides, which will be released in late August on Blitzen Trapper’s Black River Killer EP.
Tuesday, July 21
The Walkmen w/ Cass McCombs @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
The Walkmen’s distinctly bittersweet take on turn-of-the-century New York guitar rock is at turns blissful and brutal, a dynamic best captured on their 2004 album Bows Arrows and its seething single “The Rat.” After persistent, early buzz, stock fell in the band as they oversaturated the market with two 2006 releases, the place-holding A Hundred Miles Off and the oddity Pussy Cats, a track-by-track remake of a Harry Nilsson album, but the band rebounded with last year’s return-to-form You & Me, and The Walkmen retain their reputation as a must-see live act. Over the years, opener Cass McCombs, a Baltimore singer-songwriter, has dialed down the overeager arrangements of his early records in favor of stripped-down, fromthe-heart folk songs. His barren new album, Catacombs, contains some of his finest work yet.
Wednesday, July 22
The Reverend Horton Heat w/ The Necromantics @ The Miramar Theatre, 8 p.m.
Critics have never come to a consensus as to which genre of “billy” the Reverend Horton Heat falls into. Is it Rockabilly? Psychobilly? Punkabilly? Whatever blend or combination of “billy” they call it, it’s kept the Reverend himself, Jim Heath, busy for the past 20 years. The trio, which plays an average of 150 shows a year, plans on releasing its 10th album this fall, Laughin’ and Cryin’ With the Reverend Horton Heat, which promises some of the Reverend’s most irreverent, overtly whimsical songs yet.