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This Week in Milwaukee

Misery Signals, Ex Fabula, Fever Marlene, Nobunny and The Uptown Savages

May. 13, 2010
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Thursday, May 13

Misery Signals w/ Enabler and Maidens @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.

A guest spot from Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump helped call attention to Mirrors, the 2006 album from the Milwaukee-area metalcore band Misery Signals, and strong reviews from punk zines further fanned the album’s flames. Misery Signals offered their follow-up in 2008, Controller, an even heavier, more technical album that made more time for Tool-esque prog-metal flourishes and the versatile growl of singer Karl Schubach.

Friday, May 14

Ex Fabula All Stars @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

Since last fall, the storytelling project Ex Fabula has been inviting community members to share personal stories related to a monthly theme. At the end of each Ex Fabula event, the audience selects its favorite of the night. Ex Fabula’s final performance of its inaugural season invites back some of those audience favorites to tell original stories around a new theme: “Epic Fail.” Among the returning storytellers are Paul Finger, Leah Leone, Tom Crawford, Brian Moore, Drew Brhel and the duo Laura and Stephanie Halfmann. Local artist Dwellephant will be drawing on-the-spot conceptual illustrations of each story that will be raffled off at the end of the night.

Particle w/ Roster McCabe @ Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m.

For a laid-back jam band, Particle seems to be in an endless state of flux, constantly bringing in, and then losing, new members. Their 2006 album, the hip-hop-influenced Transformations Live for the People, heralded the arrival of two new players who brought vocals to the group’s previously instrumental, “jamtronica” sound, but within a year those new members were gone. One of those ex-members, guitarist Ben Combe, will sit in with the band during this spring tour, another testament to the band’s revolving door. The tour promises to revisit plenty of the band’s early and rare material.

Fever Marlene w/ The Wildbirds, The Etiquette, Revision Text and Kyle Feerick @ Bay View Brew Haus, 8 p.m.

In these cash-strapped times, music programs are often among the first cut from schools. Thankfully for the Bonos of tomorrow, music education happens to be near and dear to the hearts of actual musicians, so there are usually plenty of benefit concerts supporting the cause. Tonight’s show at the Bay View Brew Haus is a fund-raiser for Red Bird, a Milwaukee program that gives instruments to students who wouldn’t otherwise receive them.

Saturday, May 15

Nobunny @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.

Bay Area punk songwriter Justin Champlin doesn’t hide his love of The Ramones—the cover of his 2008 debut album as Nobunny copies the aesthetic of the legendary punk band’s first record. He does, however, hide his face. He performs wearing the most horrifying rabbit mask outside of Donnie Darko, and his live antics are similarly unnerving (he doesn’t always wear pants, and he can get a little bit touchy with the crowd). Touring behind last year’s Raw Romance, a cassette-only collection of Jay Reatard-esque garage-punk, the mystery rabbit shares tonight’s bill with Lover!, Gut Reactions and Trent Fox and The Tenants, while The Get Drunk DJs spin between-set music.

Korn w/ 2Cents @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

The seminal nu-metal group Korn was so popular by the late-’90s that their video for “Got the Life” became the first video ever to be retired by MTV’s “Total Request Live.” Korn has struggled to recapture those commercial and critical heights after the turn of the century, however, confounding fans with unsure albums like 2007’s Untitled, which downplayed the band’s usually funky assault in favor of Beatlesque melodies and moody keyboards in the spirit of The Cure. Last year, Korn returned to the studio with their original producer, Ross Robinson, in hopes of recreating the energy that made them so popular a decade ago. But given the departure of lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch and drummer David Silveria, recreating that early sound may be difficult. The new album, tellingly titled Korn III – Remember Who You Are, is set for a July 13 release.

Basshunter w/ Steve Aoki @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

Sweden’s Basshunter (born Jonas Altberg) gained international recognition in the Eurodance scene with his 2007 album, Now You’re Gone, which spawned his most popular singles so far, including “All I Ever Wanted.” The superstar producer shares tonight’s Stellar Spark bill at the Rave with literally dozens of other DJs and producers, including remix ringmaster and funky trendsetter Steve Aoki, who was the Einstein of Dim Mak Records, which introduced music junkies to Bloc Party, MSTRKRFT and The Bloody Beetroots. His remixes of songs by Duran Duran, The Killers and Robin Thicke have ricocheted throughout clubs and house parties on a global scale.

Larry the Cable Guy @ The Riverside Theater, 5 and 8 p.m.

With his not-so-subtly racist, homophobic, red-state humor and a faked redneck accent, Larry the Cable Guy makes Jeff Foxworthy look tastefully sophisticated.

Born Daniel Whitney, Larry is a covert, Confederate soldier from the culture wars disguised as an affable, goofball comedian, on a mission to make the word “queer” as acceptable a part of the American lexicon as his trademark catchphrase “git-r-done.” In between major tours, Larry the Cable Guy has starred in a series of low-budget (but highly profitable) comedy films like 2006’s confusingly titled Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and 2008’s Witless Protection.

The Uptown Savages w/ Dyna Flo and Her Roadmasters @ Frank’s Power Plant, 10 p.m.

Milwaukee’s pre-eminent rockabilly band The Uptown Savages offers a respite from the unseasonably dreary May that Milwaukee has endured so far with the band’s annual hula party, now in its fifth year. The Savages invite attendees to don Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts as the band and openers Dyna Flo and Her Roadmasters pay homage to the vintage sounds of Tahiti.

Goo Goo Dolls @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

It’s easy to forget that the Goo Goo Dolls were once a punk band with a sound that suggested a heavier update of their heroes, The Replacements. It was a pair of sentimental, acoustic ’90s hits—“Name” and its identical cousin “Iris”—that transformed the group into adult contemporary mainstays. The softer sound, though, did little to disguise the darker songwriting of singer/ guitarist John Rzeznik, whose lyrics dwelled on themes of addiction and divorce. Next month the band releases its ninth album, Something for the Rest of Us, which was toiled over with a host of producers, including Butch Vig, John Fields and Rob Cavallo.

Monday, May 17

Stick Men @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

With its processed, electronic sound, the Chapman Stick is one of the most decidedly progrock instruments ever invented, a 10-string guitar-like gizmo that can also be played like a bass or keyboard. Stick Men is a trio that features not one but two Chapman Stick players: Tony Levin, a prog player who has backed Pink Floyd, Yes, Alice Cooper and Peter Gabriel, and Michael Bernier, a multi-instrumentalist known in drum circles for his innovative techniques. The trio is rounded out by percussionist Pat Mastelotto, who, like his band mate Levin, plays in the latest incarnation of prog-rockers King Crimson.

Wednesday, May 19

Gregg Allman @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

Gregg Allman’s solo career hasn’t always lived up to the high standards he set with his legendary Southern-rock band, The Allman Brothers. In fact, one of his early solo albums, Two the Hard Way, recorded with his then-wife Cher—yes, that Cher—is largely regarded as one of the worst albums of all time. But as Allman sobered up in the ’90s, he got his groove back, reforming the Allman Brothers to great acclaim, much of which came from a new generation of Phishera jam-music fans who hadn’t even been born during the Allman Brothers’ early run.


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