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Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009

September 3 - September 9

This Week in Milwaukee

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Thursday, Sept. 3

Jazz in the Park w/ The Jazz Orgy @ Cathedral Square Park, 6:30 p.m.
The Fox Valley’s resident jazz heads prefer variety to traditionalism. Claiming that if they played Miles Davis and John Coltrane all night it would put their audience to sleep, The Jazz Orgy plays a variety of funk, Latin, Cajun or whatever they’re in the mood for on a particular night. A rotating cast of characters makes up the band’s lineup on any given night, which keeps their separate five-night-a-week residencies from going stale. Expect them to break out some special surprises for their Jazz in the Park spotlight show tonight.

Friday, Sept. 4

Rhymefest w/ Mikkey Halsted and Adebisi @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.

Beating Eminem in a freestyle battle wasn’t enough to instantly establish Chicago rapper Rhymefest, who worked as a university janitor for years after his storied Scribble Jam victory until his real breakthrough came when he co-wrote the Grammy-winning “Jesus Walks” with Kanye West. Rhymefest’s 2006 debut album, Blue Collar, earned him a critical following, and mixtapes with super-producer Mark Ronson, like last year’s Michael Jackson-themed Man in the Mirror, furthered his reputation. Rhymefest threw fans for a loop this year, though, with a mixtape that sounds like the first shots of a potentially bloody culture war. El Che: The Manual Mixtape baits progressive-minded hipster and backpack rap fans with its brazen homophobia, which Rhymefest is suddenly flaunting as loudly as Fred Phelps outside a production of The Laramie Project. At times it’s hard to tell whether Rhymefest’s hateful new lyrical bent is part of some kind of publicity-garnering, Bruno-esque social experiment, or whether one of the underground’s most respected rappers really has turned into one of the scene’s biggest bigots.


Dark Side of the Rainbow @ Discovery World, 6 p.m.
As just about everyone involved with the recording has made clear time and time again, Dark Side of the Moon was never intended to sync up with the 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz—and 1973 studio technology would have made syncing the two nearly impossible to pull off even if Pink Floyd had wanted to. Because Dark Side of the Moon is filled with so many open-ended lyrics and fleeting sounds, it’s easy to see why fans have volunteered the album as the film’s unofficial second soundtrack, but the truth is you can run the album during just about any film—or TV show, sports game, political debate; anything, really—and it’s bound to seemingly sync up at some point. Tonight at dusk, Discovery World offers a free outside screening of The Wizard of Oz with its stoner-approved soundtrack, following a 6 p.m. fish fry.

Tulpan @ UW-Milwaukee Union Theatre, 7 p.m.
Near the conclusion of his four-star review of Tulpan, Roger Ebert acknowledges the difficulties of convincing American audiences to see a dramedy about shepherds in barren Kazakhstan. “You’ll enjoy it, not soon forget it, and you’ll tell your friends about it and try to persuade them to go,” Ebert promises, “but you’ll have about as much luck with them as I’m probably having with you.” In spite of its unlikely source material, the film has been met with open arms by American critics, who have fallen for this humble story about a sailor in the Kazakhstani desert who, in order to acquire the land needed to fulfill his dreams of becoming a herdsman, must marry the only eligible woman in his village, the title character. (Through Sunday, Sept. 6.)

Loyal Order of Water Buffalo w/ The Carolinas @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Loyal Order of Water Buffalo is not, as its name suggests, a group of diners fiercely dedicated to a popular Third Ward restaurant on the corner of Water and Buffalo streets—in fact, the group predates that establishment by more than two decades. Loyal Order of Water Buffalo is one of Milwaukee’s longest-running alt-country and roots-rock bands, with deep ties to the local scene that date back to primary singer/songwriter John Bitenc’s inclusion in an early lineup of The Spanic Boys. Tonight, the group splits a bill with another veteran Milwaukee alt-country act that now limits its shows to just once in a blue moon, The Carolinas.

Saturday, Sept. 5

Truth in Fiction @ The Miramar Theatre, 6 p.m.
Truth in Fiction’s “Brown Sweater” might be the catchiest piece of sugarcoated pop-punk to arrive since the great Jimmy Eat World boom of 2001, and the Milwaukee band’s debut album, Fireflies, is filled with similarly hooky, All-American Rejects-esque emo-pop, deftly produced by bassist Kristian Riley, formerly of Citizen King. It’s one of the most radio-friendly records Milwaukee has yielded in years, and though the band hasn’t made much of a dent on the radio yet, they’ve been building a following with shows on the Warped Tour and opening for Fall Out Boy. Truth in Fiction tops a loaded bill tonight also featuring (deep breath): Danger Is My Middle Name, Mathletes, Love Me Electric, The High Life, You’ll Love Me Tomorrow and Leah Stargazing.


Truth in Fiction

Fable & the World Flat w/ The Fatty Acids and Bad Indians @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Fable & the World Flat aims to make its crowds dance, a goal that would seem unexceptional enough if not for the style of music they play: Instead of funky dance-punk or up-tempo electro-clash, the Milwaukee group grounds its unlikely dance music in the somber, jazzy tones of turnof-the-century indie-rock groups like Karate and Aloha, bands more likely to crush spirits than lift them. This summer, in addition to releasing their debut album, Ladies and Gentlemen…, a collection marked by Dntel-like, glitchy beats, the group added two new members: bassist Paul Fleming and keyboardist Nick Perow.

Sunday, Sept. 6

Labor Day Weekend Laugh-a-Thon w/ Mike Epps @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
If it weren’t for Chris Tucker declining to return to his role as Smokey for the sequel to the 1995 cult classic Friday, the world might not know Mike Epps the way it does today. Although he has been featured for his stand-up on Def Comedy Jam several times throughout his career, Epps is best known for his on-screen work opposite Ice Cube, which began with Next Friday and continued with Friday After Next and All About the Benjamins. After Epps’ remake of The Honeymooners with Cedric the Entertainer flopped hard, Epps decided to team up once again with Ice Cube for Janky Promoters, which will pair the two as promoters who fail to book Young Jeezy for their club. But first Epps tops a comedy bill at the Riverside Theater tonight.

Tuesday, Sept. 8

Free Energy w/ Juiceboxxx and Big Fun 4Ever @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
When all the dust settles from the requisite “end of the decade” wrap-ups, and magazines return to their usual “bands to watch in 2010” lists, Philadelphia’s Free Energy will no doubt command plenty of ink. The group has been signed to DFA Records and secured LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy to produce their debut album, which is surprising, perhaps, considering how the group eschews the spry electro that label is best known for in favor of traditional-as-can-be, sing-along classic rock, with particular debt to Cheap Trick—and especially particular debt, perhaps, to Cheap Trick’s “That ’70s Show”-approved cover of Big Star’s “In The Street.” The band’s Murphy-produced single “Free Energy” has already charmed the Internet this summer, so their full-length could genuinely prove to be one of 2010’s breakthrough records.

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Alan Parsons Live Project @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.

Move over T-Pain, Kanye West, Cher and even Roger Troutman. Though all of those artists are pioneers in the use of the voice-manipulating vocoder, Alan Parsons was using that divisive studio device before any of them, incorporating it into his 1976 Alan Parsons Project song “The Raven.” Of course, as a dutiful prog-rock band, the Alan Parsons Project used all sorts of cutting-edge (and sometimes not-so-cutting-edge) studio technology during the ’70s. These days Parsons, who earned his first studio credit when he was just 18 years old (on The Beatles’ Abbey Road, of all records), continues to tour with an altered version of his signature band, now called the Alan Parsons Live Project.