Feb. 7 - Feb. 13
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, Feb. 7
Daniel Johnston @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Equal parts visionary and maniac, Daniel Johnston has seen his fame skyrocket since the 2005 release of The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a documentary detailing his struggles with mental illness.
2006 saw the proper release of Welcome To My World, Johnston’s 37th self-recorded album. Concertgoers who are unfamiliar with his work will likely hear something they’ve heard covered in the past few years by notable followers such as M. Ward, Sufjan Stevens and Beck. A 2004 tribute double-album titled The Late Great Daniel Johnston showcased many of these choice covers on one disc and featured Johnston himself hammering away on the other.
Iris DeMent w/ Jason Wilber @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
After a long career as a country chanteuse, Iris DeMent has found a rather cozy niche in her collaborations with country-folk legend John Prine. During this tour with members of Prine’s band, DeMent will play material from her solo works as well as a number of tracks from the sublime In Spite Of Ourselves, the 1999 duet covers record she cut with Prine.
Marilyn Manson @ The Eagles Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Although he has seen much of his relevance dwindle since his heyday in the late-’90s, Marilyn Manson remains a visible figure, albeit more for his romances with teenage actresses and the occasional burlesque performer than his recent musical forays. Despite a clever lead single, “Heart-Shaped Glasses,” and a sensational accompanying music video, Manson’s 2007 release, Eat Me, Drink Me, met with mixed reviews and general indifference. But this tour comes with a hook to lure back in Manson’s longtime supporters: It reunites the shock-rocker with his estranged guitarist, Twiggy Ramirez.
Friday, Feb. 8
Louis C.K. w/ Todd Barry @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Although some of his creations have found cult notoriety, Louis C.K.’s rsum is filled with commercial flops like “The Dana Carvey Show,” Pootie Tang and, most recently, “Lucky Louie,” the HBO sitcom that, despite its conventionality, viewers could never figure out. The stand-up comedy circuit has a way of rewarding those who stick with it long enough, though, and these setbacks have only furthered C.K.’s profile. Opening act Todd Barry is arguably funnier than the headliner, but hasn’t been as ambitious.
He’s a dry but subversive stand-up who consistently steals the scene with any meager television role he’s offered.
Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
The longevity of Pink Floyd laser shows like this one, which has been touring for more than two decades, suggests that there’s still an untapped market for other Pink Floyd spinoffs. With so much money to be made, it’s only a matter of time until we see touring acts like “The Wall on Ice” or a crowd-pleasing, romantic jukebox musical based loosely around Dark Side of the Moon.
Saturday, Feb. 9
Six Organs of Admittance w/ Mick Turner @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
Early in their career, Six Organs of Admittance’s psychedelic songs were unstructured and largely instrumental. On recent releases, however, bandleader Ben Chasny has honed his songwriting and played up his vocals, adding a beating heart to his hypnotic, droning ragas. The group’s latest, 2007’s Shelter From The Ash, darts between acoustic and electronic textures as Chasny anchors another set of serene songs that unfold slowly but pay off beautifully. Opening is Six Organs’ Drag City Records peer Mick Turner, the guitarist whose solo career is consistently overshadowed by his work with critical favorites Dirty Three. Fans of Dirty Three know what to expect: wistful, earthy instrumentals that reward patience.
Diplo @ The Moct, 8 p.m.
The hipster remix master of choice these days, Philadelphia-based Diplo favors the party-anthem over the increasingly ethereal approach employed by so many DJs. After his 2004 solo debut Florida, he began to focus on altering the works of others, like Bloc Party and Kanye West, turning their already familiar hits into club staples. But history may remember him best as the man who introduced the world to current critical icon M.I.A., exposing the electro/dancehall singer on his smash 2004 mixtape, Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1. (Also Feb. 8.)
Disney’s High School Musical: The Ice Tour @ The U.S. Cellular Arena, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Disney may have a lock on tween culture right now, but the corporate giants know that even their biggest brand names have a limited shelf life, so they’ve been quick to capitalize on the success of High School Musical. In the brief two years since the popular made-for-TV production premiered, Disney has churned out a sequel, a concert tour, a stage musical and, most recently, an ice show that is blitzing the country through multiple, quickly assembled touring troupes. This particular production bombards the U.S. Cellular Arena with seven performances from Feb. 7 through Feb. 10.
Sunday, Feb. 10
Tea Leaf Green w/ Moonalice @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
More melodically inclined than their jam-rock counterparts, Tea Leaf Green have steadily increased their fan base through incessant touring and a few endorsements from heavy-hitters like Trey Anastasio. 2005’s Taught To Be Proud is their most recent studio work, but their 2006 live album Rock ’n’ Roll Band showcases the group in the ragged and improvisational setting in which they’ve come to be adored.
Wednesday, Feb. 13
All That Remains w/ Chimaira @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Like so many modern popular metal bands, Massachusetts’ All That Remains fuse the heavy extremes of death metal with clean, melodic hooks. They somewhat separate themselves from the masses with knowingly glum lyrics worthy of Morrissey. Chimaira, meanwhile, is an Ohio metalcore outfit that seems to get thrashier and more ferocious with each passing year. Their sound is bleak but their future is bright: Their most recent album, last year’s Resurrection, is their highest charting and most critically acclaimed disc yet.