September 10 - September 16
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, Sept. 10
Jazz in the Park w/ Chicago Afrobeat Project @ Cathedral Square Park, 6:30 p.m.
All Afrobeat bands owe some debt to genre pioneer Fela Kuti, but the Chicago Afrobeat Project is particularly beholden to his legacy. The group’s recent album, (A) Move to Silent Unrest, even features cover art painted by G. Lemi, the artist who designed many of Kuti’s albums. This isn’t to say that the Chicago Afrobeat Project is strictly traditionalistic, though. Even more than most Afrobeat acts, the ensemble has a kitchen-sink mentality, drawing from the deep, bass sounds of Chicago house music in addition to the percussive funk and African influences that characterize their namesake genre.
Friday, Sept. 11
Wizard of Cause @ The Cactus Club, 9:30 p.m.
With the hip-hop group Def Harmonic, beat-maker J Todd deftly created some of Milwaukee’s spaciest, futro-funk beats before throwing listeners a 100-mph curveball with his electro-rock project, Leo Minor. Todd’s latest band, Wizard of Cause, is essentially a continuation of Leo Minor, but one that moves him deeper into the world of underground rock. The frilly ’80s synth-pop flourishes are still there, but this time they’re counterbalanced by dissonant fuzz and shoegazey minimalism. The group’s excellent self-titled debut is so lo-fi it could have been recorded on Lou Barlow’s borrowed tape recorder. With Lookbook, Daylight Robbery and Johnny Prophylactic.
Caddyshack @ Discovery World, 6 p.m.
Given their respective reputations for being difficult, it’s not too surprising that Chevy Chase and Bill Murray don’t much care for each other. The two legendary comedians have only appeared in one movie together, sharing only one scene, but that film, Caddyshack, is routinely ranked as one of the funniest movies of all time by the powers that rank such things. Harold Ramis’ 1980 comedy about class warfare at a golf club inspired a slew of imitators and established Rodney Dangerfield, of all people, as a major film star. Discovery World screens the film for free at dusk tonight following a 6 p.m. fish fry. We’re guessing the same treatment will never be given to Caddyshack II, the reviled 1988 sequel in which the franchise’s gopher is given—shudder—a speaking voice.
Welcome to the Holy Land @ Latino Arts Gallery
A Mexico-raised, Chicago-based artist who takes cues from Salvador Dali and Bill Sienkiewicz, painter Luis De La Torre explores what it means to be a modern Mexican-American in his exhibition, “Welcome to the Holy Land,” which opens today and runs through Oct. 9 at the Latino Arts Gallery. The challenges he depicts in this “Holy Land,” though, are universal to Americans of all ethnicities. In both watercolor and oil, he paints abstractions of war, commercialization and economic crisis.
Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival @ Riverside Park, West Bend, 5:15 p.m.
Former Jefferson Starship cadet turned soft-jazz guitarist Craig Chaquico kicks off West Bend’s upscale Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival this evening, ahead of a 7:15 p.m. set from smooth jazz saxophonist Warren Hill and a 9:15 headlining performance from the contemporary jazz ensemble The Rippingtons. Saturday’s lineup veers from the smooth jazz template of Friday to feature Davina and The Vagabonds, a New Orleans-styled act, and three acts who take generous cues from R&B and funk music: Najee, Joyce Cooling and Walter Beasley (pictured).
Saturday, Sept. 12
Alesana @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Each year finds the North Carolina melodic metalcore outfit Alesana a little more ready for prime time. Where the group’s mythology-themed 2006 debut, On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax, was a raw screamo record, 2008’s follow-up, Where Myth Fades to Legend, downplayed the bloodcurdling growls in favor of the sweeter sound of singer/guitarist Shawn Milke, whose clean singing complements the emo-pop songwriting hiding underneath the band’s menacing veneer. Next year the group will release its third album, The Emptiness, which could find them moving ever closer to regular radio play. Tonight Alesana shares a bill with The Bled, Enter Shikari, Asking Alexandria and Broadway.
Sunday, Sept. 13
The Uptown Savages @ Frank’s Power Plant, 6:30 p.m.
The Uptown Savages are Milwaukee’s premier rockabilly band, though if you want to get technical about it, they aren’t really a rockabilly band—their brassy brand of early R&B and rock ’n’ roll is more informed by jump blues than anything. In a city with an insatiable appetite for rockabilly culture, though—and for 10 years, at that—The Uptown Savages have happily sated that fix. Tonight the group celebrates its aluminum anniversary with a free concert at one of its regular haunts, Frank’s Power Plant.
Tuesday, Sept. 15
Pet Shop Boys @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
In defiance of the manic, sugar-rush dance pop that ruled the ’80s, England’s Pet Shop Boys created cutting-edge synth pop with an almost postmodern edge, with singer Neil Tennant’s bored, disaffected vocals replacing the usual dance-music perk. The iconic cover of the Pet Shop Boys’ 1987 album, Actually, even featured a photograph of Tennant mid-yawn. In an era when critics still dismissed dance music as a disposable genre, Pet Shop Boys were among the genre’s first widely acclaimed stars, and they’ve carried that cachet with them for decades. The duo’s latest album, Yes, features orchestral accompaniments from Final Fantasy violinist and sometimes Arcade Fire collaborator Owen Pallett.
Marilyn Manson w/ Lockjaw @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
As his relevance dwindled after the late ’90s, when he was briefly the most controversial musician in America, Marilyn Manson remained a public figure, albeit more for his romances with teenage actresses and the occasional burlesque performer than his music. Despite a cleverly glammy lead single, “Heart-Shaped Glasses,” and an exploitative accompanying music video, Manson’s 2007 release, Eat Me, Drink Me, met with mixed reviews and general indifference from the public, and Manson’s latest album, this May’s The High End of Low, has shown even less legs. The new disc is of interest to fans, though, as it marks the return of Manson’s longtime bassist, Twiggy Ramirez.
Wednesday, Sept. 16
Buckethead w/ Heatbox and Wolff @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
One of the oddest entities to make a name in the expansive jam scene, Buckethead is a masked performer with a bucket on his head. He also claims to have been raised by chickens. His difficult and dense progressive metal riffs have earned the whirlwind guitarist collaborations with Les Claypool, Guns N’ Roses, Mike Patton and Serj Tankian. His latest release is From the Coop, a release of an unearthed 1988 demo tape that shows the roots of Buckethead’s avant-garde ax-manship and proves that, even in his salad days, the guy could play guitar like he had eight extra fingers.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.After a start playing saxophone for Lenny Kravitz, then fronting the ’90s acid-jazz ensemble The Greyboy Allstars, Karl Denson hit jam-band gold with his eclectic, accessible ensemble Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. This is jazz-funk at its most accessible, all tambourine shakes, sweaty organ licks and feel-good songs about, well, feeling good.