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Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010

This Week in Milwaukee

Dr. Dog, Crappy Dracula and the New Loud

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Thursday, Feb. 4

Dr. Dog @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

Dr. Dog is a Philadelphia psychedelic pop group with the completely novel idea of playing music inspired by The Beatles. The Philly fivesome screams their love of the fab foursome from the proverbial Apple Corps rooftop on its fifth album, 2008’s Fate, which puts a bit of an Americana accent on borrowed Lennon/McCartney melodies. This April, the group will release its follow-up, Shame, Shame, its debut for the record label ANTI-.

We Six: All Our Own @ Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, 7:30 p.m.

For its latest program, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s resident jazz sextet will present the latest original compositions from members and composers Jamie Breiwick, Mark Davis and Paul Silbergleit. Breiwick, a foundation in Milwaukee’s jazz scene, has performed free-lance work alongside the acclaimed comedian Bob Newhart, while Davis’ jazz history includes work with legend Barry Harris. Silbergleit is a regular of many Milwaukee festivals, music halls and clubs.

Thursday, Feb. 4

Jeff Dunham @ The Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m.

The comedic equivalent of a T-shirt with one of the World Trade Center towers shoved up Osama bin Laden’s rectum, Jeff Dunham emerged as one of America’s top comedians not only for his novel choice of medium (he’s a ventriloquist) but also for his Christian, conservative values. He’s the Sarah Palin of the comedy world, channeling the anger of red-blooded Americans who feel under attack by cashiers who now say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas.” Unable to ignore the remarkable ratings of Dunham’s regular comedy specials for the channel, Comedy Central gave the ventriloquist his own program last fall, “The Jeff Dunham Show,” which initially brought the station some of its highest ratings and most scathing reviews. Perhaps understanding the damage to its brand—and how irreconcilable Dunham’s image is with the more youth- (and left-) skewing satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert—in December Comedy Central opted not to renew Dunham’s show for a second season.

Dark Star Orchestra @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

The oft-observed irony of the Dark Star Orchestra is that the group pays homage to the Grateful Dead, a group renowned for its improvisational spirit, by recreating the Dead’s classic shows song for song, sometimes even solo for solo, therein stripping the music of any real improvisation. Judging from the Dark Star Orchestra’s huge online following and continued ability to sell out concerts, though, Deadheads don’t have a particular problem with this angle. In recent years, however, Dark Star Orchestra has begun taking more liberties with the source material, sometimes inventing original set lists using the Dead’s songbook.


Friday, Feb. 5

Crappy Dracula w/ Plexi 3, Group of the Altos and The Gusto @ Stonefly Brewery, 9 p.m.

Milwaukee’s transgressive punk trio Crappy Dracula is so good at pretending to be bad that they make it look easy. While similar bands use their nihilistic, “we hate everything” posturing to justify poorly written songs, Crappy Dracula’s superficially dumb tunes flaunt great lo-fi garage riffs and blunt hooks that ring in the head long after the joke has worn off. Tonight Crappy Dracula plays a release party behind its debut full-length, Almost, on which the band makes its case against architects, parties in hospital refuse and tells a tale of a disgruntled textbook factory worker.


Saturday, Feb. 6

The New Loud @ The Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

It takes a pretty ballsy band to cover Radiohead, but Milwaukee’s electro-rock trio The New Loud throws caution to the wind and gives it a go on the group’s latest EP, Can’t Stop Not Knowing, offering an audacious, edgier reworking of Radiohead’s “2 2 = 5.” The EP introduces a harder edge to the group’s synth-polished sound, and a possible taste of what’s to come. Later this year, the group will release a new album recorded with Jimmy Eat World/Motion City Soundtrack producer Mark Trombino, who also mixed Can’t Stop Not Knowing. Tonight the group plays a release show behind the EP.

Greensky Bluegrass @ The Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m.

Helping meet the demand of young audiences weaned on jam music and now hungry for bluegrass, Greensky Bluegrass, a five-member banjo-strumming, dobro- and mandolin-playing bluegrass group from Michigan, spends much of its time on the dusty tour trail, where the group averages about 170 shows a year. Their latest album is 2008’s Five Interstates, but they’re also releasing a series of live recordings that merge original tunes with traditional bluegrass.


Saturday, Feb. 6

DJ Yoda @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.

Innovative Brit DJ Yoda lands in Milwaukee for just one of five U.S. touring dates. A maverick when it comes to intermingling hip-hop and funk music with film, television and You- Tube videos, DJ Yoda has sold out clubs across Europe and performed alongside British music queens Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen. Through his 2006 debut The Amazing Adventures of DJ Yoda and a plethora of mixtapes and live recordings, the DJ has honed a quirky style of turntablism that draws from his love of cartoons and comic books.

Tuesday, Feb. 9

The Used w/ Atreyu and Drive A @ The Rave, 7 p.m.

The Used w/ Atreyu and Drive A @ The Rave, 7 p.m. Setting out in 2002 from the gallows of poverty and substance abuse, the screamy alternative hard-rock band The Used has now amassed a library of four albums, several EPs and live tracks all dedicated to suffering. The group’s latest record, last year’s Artwork, is its most brutal yet. The cover depicts an oversized metal syringe marked “ART” being injected into an arm with the word “WORK” carved into it, and its opening track, “Blood on My Hands,” works itself into an arena-rock chant about the band’s obligation to suffer for their craft.

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