Feb. 14 - Feb. 20
This Week in Milwaukee
Friday, Feb. 15
The BoDeans @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
It’s unlikely that Fox will license another BoDeans song for a hit program, but the hometown heroes have stayed busy since their ’90s breakthrough, gigging and recording steadily. Although they’ll spend much of this year promoting their upcoming eighth album, Still, which reunited the group with producer T-Bone Burnett and delivers plenty of their signature, upbeat rootsrock, tonight’s set promises to draw mostly from their back catalog.
Carrie Rodriguez w/ Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
This World Cafe-friendly bill pairs two burgeoning roots songwriters. Lucinda Williams gave vocalist/violinist Carrie Rodriguez an emphatic endorsement in The New York Times last year, which was curious since Rodriguez’s twang-laden, chicken-fried songs bear no traces of Williams’ subtlety and depth. Much better is spunky songstress Sarah Borges, who performs with her group, the Broken Singles. Simultaneously rollicking and sweet, Borges melded the aesthetics of outlaw country and girl groups on her lovely 2007 disc, Diamonds in the Dark.
Saturday, Feb. 16
The Whigs w/ Tulsa @ Eagles Ballroom, 8 p.m.
This Georgia trio has garnered some lofty comparisons to influential and wide-ranging bands like The Replacements, My Morning Jacket and Superchunk, but they seem comfortable with the high expectations. Frontman Parker Gispert’s frantic and evocative voice presides over a mess of jangling guitar and frenetic, ballsy drumming.
Since their self-released 2006 record, Give ‘Em All a Big Fat Lip, they have signed with Dave Matthews’ ATO Records. Tonight they arrive fresh off an appearance on the suddenly indie-friendly “Late Show with David Letterman” in support of their new record Mission Control, released last month. Openers Tulsa evoke the boisterous, punk-inflected underground rock of Husker Du, the Meat Puppets, the Minutemen and pretty much any other group that ever released an album on SST Records in the ’80s.
The Source Party @ Moct, 10 p.m.
Last year Moct hosted a party in celebration of the local hip-hop act Black Elephant’s coverage in The Source magazine. With a solo album now under her belt, Black Elephant singer/rapper/socialite Element is hoping to make these parties an annual tradition. Tonight, in conjunction with her birthday, Element hosts another party at Moct. There will be music from DJ Kid Cut Up, giveaways from The Source and complimentary shots from Jack Daniel’s.
Sunday, Feb. 17
The English Beat w/ RX Bandits @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
As this page has pointed out many times, if a band exists on-and-off again for long enough, eventually it will splinter into two groups touring under the same name. At least The Beat, the popular ’80s British ska band, were well positioned for their inevitable schism, since the group had two vocalists: Dave Wakeling, the Brit-pop crooner, and Ranking Roger, the rastafied toaster. Wakeling now fronts the American version of the Beat performing tonight as The English Beat, while Roger has carried The Beat torch in the United Kingdom.
Confusingly, both singers have vague and separate hopes of releasing new material under the old group moniker, but it’s unlikely any new Beat/English Beat album would be greeted with much fanfare, since it was always the interplay between Wakeling and Roger’s oddcouple vocals that made the band pop.
Tuesday, Feb. 19
Galactic w/ Chali 2na @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
In addition to the noodly guitar synonymous with jam music and the requisite funk and jazz influences expected from a respectable New Orleans group, Galactic has demonstrated a particular fondness for hip-hop, collaborating with MCs like Lyrics Born, Juvenile and Blackalicious’ Gift of Gab. Their most recent album, From the Corner to the Block, was their most rap-driven yet. For tonight’s show, they’ll share the stage with Chali 2na, the recognizable baritone rapper from now-defunct oldschool rap advocates Jurassic 5.
Zoroaster w/ Sourvein and Ganon @ Vnuk’s Lounge, 9 p.m.
On their MySpace page, Atlanta metal-rockers Zoroaster describe themselves as sounding like “DINOSAURS TAKING A SHIT,” an unbecoming but not entirely inaccurate simile for their droning, monstrous sound. Like Zoroaster, openers Sourvein, of North Carolina, kick up a giant racket, distorted as though the entire band were sharing one beaten, oversized amp they picked up at a rummage sale. Also on the bill is Ganon, a Michigan group that bridges the indie/metal divide with gorgeous, postrock-influenced passages and unforgiving, Black Sabbath-sized riffs.
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Catholic School Girls @ The Boulevard Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Although the title of this Casey Kurtti play cleverly riffs on one of America’s most enduring sexual taboos, the play itself isn’t a ribald sex farce but rather a gentle coming-of-age dramedy that follows four friends as they work their way through a Catholic education. Along the way they’re mentored by a flock of nuns who often teach the girls through tough love. This production runs through March 7.
The Toasters w/ The Fear Nuttin Band, The Invaders, Something To Do @ The Miramar Theatre, 7 p.m.
Widely recognized as the longest-running American ska band, The Toasters celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2007. Throughout the years, they’ve dabbled in every brand of popular ska, from ’80s Two Tone to punky ’90s third wave and smooth roots reggae, often with a greater ear for melody than their peers. Singer Rob “Bucket” Hingley has long been the group’s sole original member, but he continues to surround himself with youthful, spirited ringers who share his agreeable vision. Also on this bill is Milwaukee’s closest equivalent to The Toasters, The Invaders, who reigned over the city’s ’90s ska scene.