This Week in Milwaukee
Tegan and Sara, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Stone Temple Pilots and The Cave Singers
Thursday, March 25Tegan and Sara w/ Holly Miranda @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quin introduced themselves in the late-’90s as a young folk-pop duo for the Lilith Fair crowd before embracing the guiltier pleasures of rock and New Wave on their 2004 breakthrough album, So Jealous. Even better was their 2007 follow-up, The Con, which they recorded with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla and Matt Sharp of Weezer and The Rentals. They reunited with Walla for their latest record, Sainthood, a more stripped-down effort that takes The Con’s emotionally charged powerpop in tenser, darker directions.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Since their rapid-fire, tongue-twisting verses and ultra-smooth choruses made them crossover rap stars in the mid-’90s, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have had a notoriously rocky career, falling out of commercial favor for long periods at a time while enduring difficult lineup changes. But following the commercial and critical comeback of 2007’s Strength & Loyalty, a vital record that found the rappers racing against propulsive, kinetic Southern-rap beats, the group has been in a good place. Even their lineup is stabilizing. Their upcoming record, Uni5: The World’s Enemy, returns to the fold wayward members Flesh-n-Bone (the incarcerated one) and Bizzy Bone (the erratic one).
Gringo Star w/ Larry and His Flask and The Midwest Beat @ Mad Planet, 8 p.m.
Atlanta rock ’n’ rollers Gringo Star pay punny homage to The Beatles with their moniker, but if anything the group owes more to The Kinks than the Fab Four—perhaps a band name riffing on Kinks drummer Mick Avory just didn’t have the same ring to it. The group’s 2008 debut All Y’All was loaded with tight harmonies, perky riffs and plenty of tambourine for maximum British Invasion nostalgia.
Friday, March 26
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
On their turn-of-the-century debut album, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club really did feel like rebels, deftly making the case for loud, psychedelic rock ’n’ roll at a time when it had fallen out of favor. The prominent garage-rock revival of the early 2000s vindicated the San Francisco group, but it also left them without much of an obvious mission statement, putting these one-time insurgents for the first time on defense instead of offense. The band threw a curveball with 2005’s Howl, branching out to explore acoustic blues and folk, but subsequent albums have been less radical, with bluesy undertones mostly drowned out by the trio’s traditionalist, electric rock.
Stone Temple Pilots @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Following singer Scott Weiland’s abrupt and characteristically acrimonious split from Velvet Revolver, Stone Temple Pilots’ massive 2008 reunion tour suggested the troubled singer hadn’t yet conquered all his demons. Afterward, Weiland spent some time away from the band to promote his second solo record, an underrated, low-budget glam-rock effort called Happy in Galoshes. He launched a solo tour that was even shakier, including a memorably befuddling, scattered performance at the Pabst Theater early last year, but now he’s back with his signature band as Stone Temple Pilots promote their upcoming self-titled album, their first new record in nine years. The album has garnered positive early buzz for its clean, ’60s-inspired sound.
I’m Not a Pilot w/ The Jeanna Salzer Band and The Shepheards @ Linneman’s, 9:30 p.m.
Unlike most pop-rock quartets, Milwaukee’s I’m Not a Pilot eschews guitars entirely, instead filling the space with singer-songwriter Mark Glatzel’s piano, as well as cello, courtesy of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Peter Thomas. The result, captured on the group’s self-titled debut EP last year, evokes the skyscraping, Top 40 piano-pop of The Fray and Coldplay, as well as the more intimate, regal folk-pop of Sufjan Stevens.
Saturday, March 27Present Music @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Some of the most cutting-edge composers of the last century have worked in one of the most unlikely mediums: cartoons. Composers like Raymond Scott, who scored animated icons like Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner and Ren and Stimpy, created wild, fittingly zany soundtracks to accompany the animation, often incorporating groundbreaking electronic sounds. Present Music’s latest program pays tribute to some of animation’s most visionary composers, including Scott, Mason Bates, John Adams and Arnold Schoenberg. The program will include classic cartoons as well as new animated works by local artists.
Monday, March 29The Cave Singers w/ Juniper Tar @ Mad Planet, 8 p.m.
Neither Pretty Girls Make Graves nor Hint Hint were known for restraint or subtlety, so it was a surprise when members of those wild-eyed indie-rock bands formed The Cave Singers, a trio that divides its time between terse folkrock and blues dirges. While nobody will mistake them for Fleet Foxes—their songs are sparse and raw, often leaning on a primal, percussive thump—this Seattle group has emerged as an unlikely but welcome addition to the thriving indie-folk scene. The group fills its latest album for Matador Records, Welcome Joy, with elemental images of death, nature and baptism.
Tuesday, March 30Bret Michaels @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
Perhaps the fourth time will be the charm. For three seasons, some of the trashiest women on the planet have competed for the affections of Poison singer Bret Michaels on VH1’s hit “Rock of Love,” yet the show has yet to produce a lasting love connection. It has, however, resuscitated Michaels’ stalled career, allowing him to reinvent himself as an amiable celeb-reality star. Michaels is currently appearing in the third season of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” but he still records on the side. His upcoming solo album, Custom Built, features a guest spot from Miley Cyrus. (Also Wednesday, March 31.)
Puscifer @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Even more so than his other bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, Puscifer is an anything-goes playground for Maynard James Keenan, essentially a free-form solo project that pairs the alternative metal iconoclast with a rotating lineup. The voice is the same, and Keenan’s confrontational sense of humor remains—he shrouds the band in garish sexual imagery—but nobody will mistake Puscifer for Tool. Keenan supplements the group’s industrial grind with ambient soundscapes and electronic, trip-hop beats. Puscifer released its debut album, “V” Is for Vagina, in 2007, and last year released the EP “C” Is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference HERE).
Wednesday, March 31OYE! and Klassik @ MOCT, 9 p.m.
Milwaukee’s Karl Iglesias has been rapping under the name OYE! for less than two years, but he’s already played support for some big shows with Wale, Ludacris, Colin Munroe and Young Chris. Tonight at MOCT, the young Puerto Rican emcee headlines a show behind his debut EP, In My Mind, which has been streaming online at oye414.bandcamp.com. Imbued with the off-kilter beats and loops of local producer Klassik, who shares co-billing on the EP, In My Mind showcases Iglesias’ slippery flow and poetic, self-reflective lyrics.