This Week in Milwaukee
Mac Leathal, IfIHadAHifi, Hood Internet, Worrier, Bill Maher and Girls
Thursday, April 8
Mac Lethal @ Mad Planet, 10 p.m.
Like a lot of peers weaned on ’90s hip-hop, Missouri rapper Mac Lethal doesn’t much care for the direction commercial rap has headed over the last decade. On his Rhymesayers debut album, 2007’s 11:11, Mac Lethal spits extended, insult-comedian tirades with an anti-commercialism, antiestablishment slant, and pop-rappers aren’t the only subject of his ire. He also calls out hipsters, religious extremists and Maynard James Keenan. “I used to like Tool,” he raps, “’til they made the same album they made the last time they made the same album/ Every time they make a damn album it’s the same album, really.” Openers tonight include DJ Sku, Soulcrate Music, The Night Krawlers, Prof and Akream.
Friday, April 9Hood Internet w/ The Glamour and DJ Dion @ Todd Wehr Auditorium, 9 p.m.
The Hood Internet’s M.O. reads like a cheap formula for big Internet traffic: Take a popular rap or R&B single and pair it with a cult indie-rock song. This Chicago duo seldom plays mash-ups for cheap novelty, though, and instead creates clever new compositions from its source material. On their latest free download mixtape, The Mixtape Volume Four, the duo pairs Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” with The Rapture’s “House of Jealous Lovers,” pits Dead Prez against Grizzly Bear, weds Passion Pit and Juvenile, and once again shows their love for R. Kelly, this time by pairing him with a Sally Shapiro groove. Hood Internet returns to the Todd Wehr Auditorium tonight after a packed show there in December.
IfIHadAHiFi w/ Bear Claw, Waxeater and White Problems @ The Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Milwaukee’s IfIHadAHiFi churned out feverish hooks and pile-driving noise in equal measure on Fame by Proxy, the 2008 album they recorded with Faraquet’s Devin Ocampo and Paper Chase’s John Congleton. Later this year the group will release an EP titled Nada Surf, named for the indie-rock band that just so happened to title its latest album If I Had A Hi-Fi, but first they play a 10-year anniversary show tonight at the Cactus Club with peers from the region: the Chicago post-hardcore band Bear Claw; Bloomington, Ind., noise-rockers Waxeater; and the Milwaukee punk trio White Problems.
Saturday, April 10Worrier w/ Invade Rome and Dear Astronaut @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.
Motion City Soundtrack @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
Some fortunate early tours with Blink-182 led the Minneapolis emo-pop-punk band Motion City Soundtrack to collaborations with Mark Hoppus, who produced their second album, 2005’s Commit This to Memory, as well as their latest record, My Dinosaur Life. Suggesting a heavier version of blue album/Pinkerton-era Weezer, the new album has earned Motion City Soundtrack some of the strongest reviews of their career. It’s also been a commercial success, working its way up to No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Comedians of Chelsea Lately @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
It’s a testament to the burgeoning power of Chelsea Handler’s brand that the host of the E! network celeb-skewing gabfest “Chelsea Lately” can launch a tour behind the show without appearing on it herself. Though the “Comedians of Chelsea Lately” tour won’t feature Handler, it will include show regulars Sarah Colonna, Jo Koy and twin brothers Randy and Jason Sklar. Also on hand will be Handler’s personal assistant/ sidekick, Chuy.
Bill Maher @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
As a comedic satirist, as well as political and social commentator, Bill Maher is quick to criticize everything from religion to mass media to every form of democratic platform. After years of hosting the Comedy Central/ABC talk show “Politically Incorrect,” Maher touches on similar territory on his HBO program, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” discussing social and political matters with a rotating panel of guests. In 2008, Maher created the documentary Religulous, a critique of organized religion that became the seventh highest grossing documentary of all time.
Sunday, April 11Girls w/ Dum Dum Girls @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Girls singer Christopher Owens sings in his band’s single “Lust for Life” that “I’m just crazy, I’m totally mad.” When you grow up in the Children of God cult, live a nomadic lifestyle with a mother forced into prostitution, then flee into gutter homelessness, you can’t be blamed for sometimes feeling a little crazy, and Owens does indeed sometimes sound a little unstable when he sings. Fueled by a lot of drugs and reverence for the expressive rock ’n’ roll of Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello, Girls was formed after Owens joined the San Francisco music scene with collaborator Chet White. Girls is joined on this bill by another California group with a reverence for early rock ’n’ roll, and one that features actual girls at that. After a tide of early buzz, this spring Dum Dum Girls released their Sub Pop debut, I Will Be, a charming collection of disarming garage-pop that pays homage to girl-group pop of all eras and the psychedelic underground rock of the ’80s.
Monday, April 12WAMI Awards @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, 7:30 p.m.
For the event’s 30th anniversary, the Wisconsin Area Music Industry will host its venerable WAMI Awards in Appleton, at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, after a long run of hosting them in Milwaukee. Plenty of Milwaukeeans are up for honors this year, including Jaill, Jayme Dawicki, Fever Marlene, Kid Millions, Pezzettino, Salt Creek and Jeanna Salzer. Performers at the event will include Appleton’s breakout roots-rock songwriter Cory Chisel and Blue Man Group percussionists David Anania and Jeff Quay.
Owen Pallett @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Toronto composer, violinist and singer Owen Pallett began his solo career under the nom de plume Final Fantasy, named for the video game series that inspired Pallett’s dream-like songs. After the inevitable copyright challenges, Pallett jettisoned the moniker at the end of 2009 and released his latest album, Heartland, under his own name. It’s his most ambitious work yet, combining electronic ambiance and classical music in daring, soaring arrangements. Outside of his solo works, Pallett remains an in-demand session player, thanks to his string arrangements on Arcade Fire’s Funeral, which preceded collaborations with Grizzly Bear, Fucked Up, Beirut, Stars, Pet Shop Boys and The Mountain Goats.
Tuesday, April 13Legally Blonde @ The Marcus Center, 7:30 p.m.
Adapted from the 2001 hit Reese Witherspoon comedy, Legally Blonde the Musical debuted on Broadway in 2007, telling the story of sorority girl Elle Woods. On her quest to win back her boyfriend, Warner, Elle leaves a world of fashion, beauty and socializing for the prestigious Harvard Law School. There she encounters Warner and his new fiancée, along with a community that doubts Elle’s capabilities as a law student. This touring production of the lightweight, high-energy musical stays in Milwaukee through Sunday, April 18.
Wednesday, April 14Dosh w/ White Hinterland @ The Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
Anticon Records is still best known as a hip-hop label, but there’s nary a trace of hip-hop in the label’s longtime recording artist Dosh, an ambient multiinstrumentalist from Minneapolis. Dosh’s 2008 album Wolves and Wishes features guest contributions from artists as disparate as Andrew Bird, Fog and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Dosh has a long history with at least two of the three: He’s toured and recorded with both Fog and Bird, even co-writing songs on Bird’s album Armchair Apocrypha. Although the sonic similarities between Dosh and Bird are few—Dosh’s music is entirely instrumental, frequently with free-jazz flourishes—Dosh shares Bird’s measured, academic sense of composition.
Reckless Kelly w/ Sarah Pierce @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Reckless Kelly isn’t an alternative country band in the Uncle Tupelo/ No Depression sense of the term, but rather mostly because commercial country music these days has little interest in hard-rocking, modern outlaw country-rock. That’s just as well, since the Texas band has thrived underneath commercial country’s radar, Waylon Jennings enthusiasts in a Brooks & Dunn world. Their independence has afforded them a freedom that many major label country acts don’t have, the ability to convey political leanings at odds with country’s red-state constituency, as they did on 2008’s Bulletproof, an album loaded with critiques of the Bush administration. This February the group released their follow-up, Somewhere in Time, their second album for Yep Roc.