July 23 - July 29
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, July 23
GZA/Genius @ Apartment 720, 9 p.m.
Debates over the best solo Wu-Tang Clan albums inevitably boil down to two 1995 releases, Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… and GZA’s Liquid Swords. The latter is the more cinematic and foreboding of the two, a fitting showcase for GZA’s dense but seldom flashy raps. Since Liquid Swords thrived on the chemistry between the rapper and Wu-Tang producer RZA, it’s unsurprising that GZA’s subsequent albums with less involvement from RZA haven’t made the same impression, but on 2005’s excellent Grandmasters GZA found a fine collaborator in Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs. Last year’s Pro Tools was filled with more of GZA’s intricate verses, though its mostly undistinguished beats only further cemented the conventional wisdom that, though GZA is a world-class rapper, his albums are only as good as their producers.
GZA Retribution Gospel Choir w/ Into Arcadia @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.
Though they’re the quintessential slowcore band, Low is seldom as quiet as that tag implies. The band plays slow, sure, but the trio can also be as loud and heavy as many of their ’90s peers—on recent releases in particular, they’ve cranked up the volume to excellent effect. Low singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk more explicitly indulges his rock fantasies with his side project Retribution Gospel Choir, which also includes Low bassist Steve Garrington. Without abandoning the searing tension and intrigue that defines their primary band, they pummel their way through brooding, psychedelic rock.
GermanFest @ Summerfest Grounds
Of the many ethnic festivals held at Henry Maier Festival Park each year, GermanFest claims the strongest ties to the city’s heritage. Once dubbed the “German Athens,” Milwaukee at one point carried more German-language newspapers than it did English ones. Serving as a showcase for traditional German food and culture, this year’s 29th German- Fest includes a sheepshead tournament, the third annual dachshund races, the 5k Run/Walk for the Hungry and a Sunday Catholic Mass in the Marcus Amphitheater. This year also welcomes German pop superstar Styrina to the mix of traditional polka and folk bands. Also new this year is the Saturday night air show, featuring high performance acrobatic planes maneuvering through pyrotechnic displays. (Through July 26.)
James Kloiber, New Work New York @ Underwood Gallery, 5 p.m.
James Kloiber, a Milwaukee artist who designed some of the city’s most memorable concert posters before moving to New York a year and a half ago, returns to Milwaukee this weekend for two gallery openings. He beats the Gallery Night rush with a Thursday evening wine-andcheese reception for “James Kloiber, New Work New York,” a collection of his watercolor and charcoal pieces, then returns Friday night for an exhibition titled “Unframed/Uninhibited” at the Skylight Opera Theatre, a show he splits with portrait painter Jenipher Sob. The Friday night reception will give way to a dance party around 10 p.m., with digital projects and music from DJs Fortune and Chris Grant lasting until the early-morning hours.
Friday, July 24
Kings Go Forth w/ JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Between cleaning house at this year’s 88Nine Milwaukee Music Awards—where they took home honors for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year (“One Day”), Best New Artist and Most Likely to Blow Up—and signing to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop Records, 2009 has been kind to Kings Go Forth. Tonight the local 10-piece retro funk/soul group, which uses three singers to recreate the sound of early-’60s vocal ensembles like The Esquires and The Seven Sounds, celebrates the release of its debut LP. Given the quick success the group found after recording just a handful of songs, it should be interesting to see what they accomplish now that they have a full length under their belts. Openers JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, from Chicago, draw from a different branch of soul music, the Memphis R&B popularized by Stax Records.
Tarik Moody Going-Away Party @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
As regular 88Nine Radio Milwaukee listeners know, station DJ Tarik “The Architect” Moody is taking a leave of absence as he ships out this month to prepare for a 10-month deployment to Baghdad. He hopes to continue blogging for the station and to conduct a podcast while he’s abroad, serving as a public-affairs officer for the Army. First, though, he DJs his own going-away party tonight at the Stonefly Brewery, with The Rusty Ps, Adi Mack and Jonathan Frost.
MAM After Dark: Gallery Night @ The Milwaukee Art Museum, 5 p.m.
This month’s installment of the MAM After Dark series offers late-night access to the recently acquired American Originals exhibitions, “The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs” and “The Eight and American Modernisms.” The recently reinstalled Contemporary Galleries will also be on late-night display, featuring a healthy selection of abstract expressionist, minimalist and conceptual art from the museum’s 1970s-1990s collection. Special activities include a mystery history scavenger hunt, the opportunity to create music with the Tonal Motion Music Lab and a live interpretation of the movie Clue simulcast by The Warped Cast as the movie plays. Cash bar and snacks will be available, too.
Saturday, July 25Coldplay w/ Elbow @ Alpine Valley Music Theatre, 7 p.m.
Accusations of plagiarism hurled by Joe Satriani last year and more recently by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) unsurprisingly haven’t taken a toll on Coldplay’s unstoppable popularity. Just this month Chris Martin and company became the first artists to sell 1 million full digital albums in the United States. After the chilly critical response to the band’s third album, 2005’s X&Y, which prompted a scathing takedown in The New York Times, the band reclaimed their early critical standing and cemented their superstar status with last year’s Viva La Vida, a brisker album that supplemented the band’s grand ballads with dynamic, studio-kissed arrangements.
Sunday, July 26
Tortured Soul w/ Codebreaker @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Tortured Soul has successfully made the case that you don’t need a DJ to create house music.This Brooklyn trio has honed a formula that combines disco, funk and jazzy house with sweet soulful vocals that flow from drummer John-Christian Urich, who lays down the beats behind these pulsating grooves. Opening for the group is Milwaukee’s electro-funk ensemble Codebreaker, who similarly aim for the dance floor. Last year’s collaborative track “Fire,” featuring the U.K.’s Kathy Diamond, and their new single “Follow Me” were both released on the band’s startup label, Demolition Disco Records.
Monday, July 27
Downtown Employee Appreciation Week @ Downtown and Third Ward locations
Freebies, entertainment and time-wasters abound this week as part of Downtown Employee Appreciation Week, a hodgepodge of morale-boosting free events held throughout Downtown and the Third Ward. The week’s opening ceremony begins today at noon at Chase Tower on Water and Wisconsin, where Cousins Subs will be giving away 1,000 mini subs and chips. The four-night Downtown Volleyball Challenge at Bradford Beach also begins tonight, running from 5 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, July 28
Hayward Williams w/ Robert Hansen and Adam Sullivan @ Linneman’s, 9:30 p.m.
Though his confessional songwriting recalls Townes Van Zandt and his sparse, beguiling guitar work suggests Jeff Buckley and Chris Isaak, it’s Hayward Williams’ big, husky voice that makes the first impression. With its gritty tones, it screams Bruce Springsteen, so it’s not surprising that Williams does a mean version of “Thunder Road.” In 2007 the Milwaukee troubadour released Another Sailor’s Dream, a rustic set of Americana that won Williams a dedicated European following while establishing him as one of the city’s most promising songwriters.