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This Week in Milwaukee

Greg Koch, PrideFest, Junip w/ Decibully, Brazzaville and Locust Street Festival

Jun. 10, 2010
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Thursday, June 10

Jazz in the Park w/ Jamie Breiwick and Choir Fight @ Cathedral Square Park, 6 p.m.

Versatile trumpeter Jamie Breiwick is joined in his project Choir Fight by veteran players from Milwaukee acts like Kings Go Forth, De La Buena and Clamnation for a sound that artfully harkens back to the mellower side of Miles Davis’ electric years, both in composition and in character. The group’s recent live shows have included a lovely arrangement of Death Cab for Cutie’s “Brothers on a Hotel Bed.”

Friday, June 11

Beer City Tattoo Convention @ Harley-Davidson Museum

For three days, the crowd at the Harley-Davidson Museum will be more colorful than usual as the venue hosts the Beer City Tattoo Convention. Highlights include daily tattoo contests, seminars on microdermals, displays from area artists and body-modificationthemed live entertainment (which involves lots of people dangling by their skin from fishhooks, pulling heavy objects with their piercings and the like). (Through June 13.)

Greg Koch Trio w/ The Brechtlein Blues Buffet @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

One of Milwaukee’s best known and most respected blues guitarists, Greg Koch is familiar to genre aficionados and upstarts alike through a series of instructional books and DVDs he’s released through the Hal Leonard Publishing Co., as well as for the many technically dazzling electric blues albums he’s recorded, including two for Steve Vai’s Favored Nations label. Tonight Koch and his trio with Tom Good and Del Bennett celebrate the release of their latest disc, From the Attic, one of Koch’s most raw, rocking sessions yet.

Blue, Seriously w/ My Mourning Belle, Ben Ripani Music Co. and Tyler Sjostrom @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.

Born in 2008 out of a shared love for Oasis, Blind Melon and Pete Yorn, the Milwaukee group Blue, Seriously takes inspiration from the easygoing guitar-pop of the ’90s, playing wistful, melodic tunes of the sort the cast of “Friends” might have enjoyed on a Saturday afternoon too rainy to head down to the coffeehouse. The group’s first release is the fivesong Marigold EP, which recalls the sweet acoustic jangle of the Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket.

PrideFest @ Summerfest Grounds

Milwaukee’s annual LGBT celebration PrideFest places an emphasis on music and entertainment over parades and politics, booking entertainment lineups to rival those of any pride event in the country. This year’s schedule is typically packed: Friday’s bill is capped by a performance from gossipy comedian Kathy Griffin; Saturday’s features soul singer Patti LaBelle, oddball Bruce Vilanch and t.A.T.u. singer Lena Katina (performing her first-ever solo show); and Joan Rivers closes the event on Sunday. There will also be a dance stage and a mighty succession of drag queens and celebrity impersonators throughout the weekend.

George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

George Clinton now tours with a band billed as Parliament/ Funkadelic, giving the funk pioneer free reign to cull hits from both of his best-known ensembles (Parliament was the one that recorded “Flash Light,” for instance, while Funkadelic was responsible for “One Nation Under a Groove”). Recent Clinton concerts have featured the usual assortment of odd characters (a Pink Pimp, a diaper-clad guitarist, etc.), and although the 68-year-old ringmaster doesn’t spend as much time on stage as he used to—he disappears during long jams—Clinton’s band throws down long sets of thick, free-form funk, often with a heavy, acid-rock vibe that casual listeners might not George Clinton anticipate.

Saturday, June 12

World Cup Block Party @ The Nomad, 11 a.m.

In a match sure to invite comically overblown references to the Revolutionary War, the autonomous United States of America takes on England in a 1:30 p.m. World Cup game, and Brady Street’s most dedicated soccer bar is celebrating with a sprawling block party. The game will be screened on a JumboTron, with African drummers beforehand, a sumosoccer match at halftime, and post-game performances from De La Buena (at 3:30 p.m.) and Kings Go Forth (at 5 p.m.).

Junip w/ Decibully @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

Before he made a name for himself as a solo artist with a stunning acoustic cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats,” Swedish musician José González played in a string of hardcore/punk bands that struggled for recognition. Less known but more predictive of his solo work was his time in the Swedish trio Junip, with whom he recorded a five-song EP of experimental dream-folk titled Black Refuge in 2005. That trio is back together now, with vague intentions of releasing a full-length album down the line. Tonight’s stop pairs them with Milwaukee’s cinematic indie-rock ensemble Decibully.

Brazzaville @ The Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

A former saxophone player for Beck, Los Angeles musician David Arthur Brown spent years traveling between Europe, Asia and South America before landing in Spain, and the music he makes with his band Brazzaville reflects all that time spent abroad. In the spirit of Joe Strummer’s globally minded solo records, Brazzaville’s albums touch on bossa nova, flamenco and French soft-pop. Last year, Brown briefly shelved the band name to release the solo record Teenage Summer Days, but the group is back together again for this tour.

Sunday, June 13

Locust Street Festival @ Locust Street and Humboldt Avenue, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

From its modest beginnings as a neighborhood festival with an understated bohemian streak, the annual Locust Street Festival, now in its 34th year, has blossomed into one of the city’s most crowded outdoor gatherings, without losing the friendly, oversized-blockparty feel that made it so charming. Drum circles, arts and crafts and street food abound, but the biggest draw is still the music, of which the festival offers a whopping five stages. Performers include Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds, Call Me Lightning, Fire on Your Sleeve, Matt Hendricks, The Vega Star, The Delta Routine, The Danglers, The Wildbirds, Keith Pulvermacher, The Championship and many, many others.

Lil’ Kim @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

Buoyed by ties to her mentor and rumored lover, the Notorious B.I.G., rapper Lil’ Kim built an early reputation for herself through spicy guest performances on R&B albums before dropping her 1996 debut, Hard Core. She remained a commercial force even after Biggie’s death, though her career was slowed by a 2005 prison sentence for conspiracy and perjury following false statements she made about a 2001 shooting. Last year the notoriously sexualized, tough-as-nails rapper softened her public image by appearing on the reality show “Dancing With the Stars.”

Tuesday, June 15

Megafaun w/ Sam Quinn and Conrad Plymouth @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.

The North Carolina by way of Eau Claire, Wis., trio Megafaun resides at the more experimental side of the bearded and flannelled indie-folk movement, having recorded with their 2009 album Gather, Form & Fly a shape-shifting set of intimate folk and rustic, banjo-driven rockers colored by quixotic tangents, baroque flourishes and occasional feedback. It’s an exciting album, one that helped the group emerge from the shadow of one-time band mate Justin Vernon, with whom they still collaborate through outside projects. The group is touring in advance of a new mini-album, Heretofore.

Adam Lambert w/ Allison Iraheta and Orianthi @ The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m.

Subverting the typical God-fearing, family-thanking model for “American Idol” contestants, Adam Lambert brought an edgy, glam-rock theatricality to the top-rated televised singing contest, emerging as the breakout star of the show’s eighth season. A racy, homoerotic performance at the American Music Awards affirmed Lambert’s ability to turn heads outside of “Idol,” while his debut album For Your Entertainment has handily outsold the self-titled record from Season Eight’s ostensible winner, Kris Allen. Lambert is joined tonight by his “Idol” peer Allison Iraheta—the spunky teen rocker girl from Season Eight—and by shredding guitarist Orianthi, who created a buzz in rehearsal footage from the Michael Jackson documentary This Is It.

Wednesday, June 16

Cute Is What We Aim For w/ The Friday Night Boys, The Bigger Lights, Down With Webster @ The Rave, 7 p.m.

The Buffalo, N.Y., power-pop group Cute Is What We Aim For was formed from high-school friendships, but their career has played out like the Zack Attack episode of “Saved by the Bell,” with success testing those friendships. In the five years since they formed in 2005, band members have come and gone (and sometimes returned, just to leave again). After two albums for Fueled by Ramen records that endeared them to the emo crowd, the band dissolved last year, leaving singer Shaant Hacikyan the only remaining member. Hacikyan rebuilt Cute Is What We Aim For this year, while his former band mates have formed a new group called Nocturnal Me.


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