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This Week in Milwaukee

Herbie Hancock, Ike Reilly Assassination and Chill on the Hill: Decibully and Juniper Tar

Aug. 19, 2010
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Friday, Aug. 20

Fish Fry & A Flick: Inglourious Basterds @ Discovery World, 6 p.m.

Quentin Tarantino’s violent, iconoclastic epic Inglourious Basterds posits an alternate history of World War II where Jews bring down Hitler’s Third Reich. The 2009 film became Tarantino’s highest grossing to date, drawing huge audiences (in large part by marketing star Brad Pitt) and earning the sometimes-divisive director widespread critical praise. The most enthusiastic praise, however, was reserved for Christoph Waltz, a previously little-known Austrian actor who is equal parts charming and vile as the duplicitous SS Col. Hans Landa. He took home a supporting actor Oscar for the performance. The film screens for free tonight at dusk as part of the Discovery World’s outdoor Fish Fry & A Flick event.

Herbie Hancock @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 9 p.m.

Herbie Hancock emerged as one of the great pianists of the post-bop era while supporting Miles Davis. By the ’70s, Hancock was a respected solo artist and leader of the jazz-fusion movement, recording the 1973 masterwork Head Hunters and continuing to explore new electro-jazz sounds through the 1980s, when he fused R&B, funk and hip-hop together on his 1983 hit “Rockit,” one of the first major singles to use turntable scratches. In the decades since, he’s returned to more traditional jazz sounds, but he’s still capable of grand ambition. His latest album is the expansive, world-music-inspired The Imagine Project, which features collaborations with John Legend, P!nk, Dave Matthews, Chaka Khan, The Chieftains and many African musicians.

Ike Reilly Assassination w/ The Friendly Lens @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

A non-classicist heartland rocker who infuses his music with the political charge of The Clash and Bob Dylan, Ike Reilly released his first record, Salesmen and Racists, in 2001 to strong praise from Minneapolis critic Jim Walsh, whose support led the Illinois musician to adopt the Twin Cities as a sort of second hometown. Reilly continued to grow his audience with records like 2004’s Sparkle in the Finish and 2005’s Junkie Faithful. His sixth and latest album is last year’s Hard Luck Stories, a collection of downtrodden tales that reflects the country’s tough economic times.

Dinosaur Feathers w/ Lonnie Walker, The Fatty Acids @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.

Recalling the summer harmonies of The Beach Boys, the polyrhythmic diversions of Vampire Weekend and the experimental wanderings of Animal Collective, Dinosaur Feathers’ plucky debut album, Fantasy Memorial, won the Brooklyn trio praise from The New York Times and Paste Magazine. Touring behind the album this spring, the band charmed a crowd at Club Garibaldi with a smiley, chipper show. They return tonight for a bill that pairs them with North Carolina Americana singer Lonnie Walker and sarcastic Riverwest indie-rockers The Fatty Acids.

Saturday, Aug. 21

Trey Songz w/ Monica @ The Milwaukee Theatre, 8 p.m.

Breezy crooner Trey Songz had been nipping at R. Kelly’s heels for a few years before his third album, 2009 breakout Ready, established him as Kelly’s commercial equal, yielding five hit singles— “Successful,” “I Invented Sex,” “LOL :-),” “Neighbors Know My Name” and “Say Aah,” the latter of which faring as well on Top 40 stations as on urban ones. Striking while the iron is hot, Songz has another collection of bedroom- and club-minded R&B queued up for this September: Passion, Pain & Pleasure.

Scott Berendt and The Us Project @ Milwaukee Ale House, 9 p.m.

A Waukesha-based singer-songwriter and drummer with an affinity for the sounds of world music, Scott Berendt largely performs solo these days, but a few years ago he reconnected with his longtime former band The Us Project, a loose collective of players that blends acoustic rock with expansive world-music undertones. Tonight Berendt and members of that band perform a benefit show for Healthy Families of Waukesha County, a nonprofit that combats child abuse and neglect.

Roadside Graves @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

New Jersey’s seven-piece Roadside Graves takes its cues from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and plenty of other folkies at heart who are secure enough in their songwriting that they’re not afraid of it being upstaged by beefy, rocking arrangements. The group’s latest full-length, last year’s My Son’s Home, is a collection of barroom dirges about war and death with songs that cut deep, but rhythms that keep toes tapping.

They followed it up with this March’s You Won’t Be Happy With Me EP, which they recorded in the idyllic Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Sunday, Aug. 22

The Birthday Massacre w/ The Light Asylum @ The Miramar Theatre, 8 p.m.

Although The Birthday Massacre sometimes falls back on the chainsaw guitars and exaggerated loud/soft dynamic of modern goth bands like Evanescence, this Toronto band has a self-awareness and a sense of goth history that the Evanescences of the world don’t. On recent albums, they’ve tempered their brutal, industrial riffage with smart nods to Depeche Mode and Siouxsie and the Banshees, while having some fun with their stylishly dark image, filming creepy videos that bow to classic Italian horror movies and modern J-horror conventions (singer Chibi rarely misses an opportunity to dress in slinky costumes, including schoolgirl outfits). The group is touring in advance of a new album, Pins and Needles, set for September release.

The Glitch Mob @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.

Breaking out of the hip-hop-inspired “beat” scene of Los Angeles several years ago, The Glitch Mob distinguished themselves in electronic circles through their collaborative live shows, where the group’s four members manipulated sound on laptops and MIDI controllers. Regular touring, a well-regarded mixtape and a slew of high-profile remixes (including ones for STS9, TV On the Radio and Coheed and Cambria) further fueled excitement around the band. Founding member Kraddy left the band last year, but the remaining trio carried on without him, this year releasing a self-financed album, Drink the Sea.

Tuesday, Aug. 24

Chill on the Hill: Decibully and Juniper Tar @ Humboldt Park Bandshell, 6:30 p.m.

The penultimate concert in the 2010 season of Bay View’s outdoor Chill on the Hill concert series pairs two excellent Milwaukee bands that deconstruct Americana and rebuild it in their own image. Last year Decibully released World Travels Fast, a lush pastiche of achy dirges, lovely squalls and redemptive fanfares that unfolds like mid-afternoon thunderstorms over Lake Michigan viewed from a safe distance. Juniper Tar is the more conventionally roots-minded of the two acts, but they skirt tradition by injecting their dreamy, harmony-laden folk-rock songs with a hearty dose of volume, courtesy of three guitarists who play off each other in dazzling fashion.

Rhythm Devils @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

Unlike many of the Grateful Dead offshoots that now tour regularly, the Rhythm Devils predate Jerry Garcia’s death. Since the 1970s Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann led improvisational percussive jam segments at the band’s concerts (they also recorded music for Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, a process that involved improvising jungle sounds as they watched the film). In 2006, they began touring together with a lineup that included Phish’s Mike Gordon and guitarist Steve Kimock. This year they hit the road once again with a revamped lineup that includes The Mother Hips’ Tim Bluhm and Back Door Slam’s Davy Knowles in addition to Gov’t Mule’s Andy Hess and Nigerian drummer Sikiru Adepoju.

Wednesday, Aug. 25

Dave Alvin and The Guilty Women @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

Although Dave Alvin helped charge the roots-rock scene in the early ’80s with groups like The Blasters and The Knitters, commercial success evaded him. His luck changed in 1989, when Dwight Yoakam scored a country hit with Alvin’s song “Long White Cadillac.” Alvin used the royalties to finance his excellent 1991 album, Blue Blvd., which cemented his reputation as a solo artist. The album’s 1994 follow-up, King of California, refocused his attention on acoustic music, and in 2000 Alvin recorded a collection of traditional folk and blues classics, Public Domain: Songs from the Wild Land, which won a Grammy for best contemporary folk album. Alvin is now touring with his latest project, Dave Alvin and The Guilty Women, which pairs him with an acoustic, all-woman backing band.


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