This Week in Milwaukee
Ke$ha, Mexican Fiesta and Alice Cooper
Thursday, Aug. 26
Ke$ha @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
an interesting dichotomy playing out in radio pop right now. On one end
of the spectrum, there’s Lady Gaga, a theatrically minded provocateur
who makes each song a statement on art, fashion and politics. On the
other there’s Ke$ha, the rapping Los Angeles valley girl who celebrates
sex for sex’s sake and sings in celebration of her overworked liver.
have embraced (or at least intelligently debated) Gaga, while they’ve
largely dismissed Ke$ha outright. But audiences have been warmer. Her
debut single “Tik Tok” wasn’t just a hit, it was a bona fide phenomenon,
monopolizing the top of the charts for months (and spawning an
elaborate “Simpsons” parody), while subsequent singles “Your Love Is My
Drug” and “Blah Blah Blah” have proved, to many a critic’s dismay, that
she’s not just a one-hit wonder. A trio of DJs open for the pop star
tonight, including one ominously christened DJ Skeet Skeet.
Planned Parenthood Celebration w/ Chester French, Prophetic and DJ Madhatter @ Washington Park, 4-7 p.m.
Parenthood of Wisconsin celebrates 75 years of educating the state
about responsible birth control and family planning this afternoon with a
free concert in Washington Park. At the top of the bill is Chester
French, a Massachusetts electrorock duo with Milwaukee ties that was
signed to producer Pharrell Williams’ Star Trak Entertainment.
Friday, Aug. 27
Tapes ’N Tapes @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
indie-rockers Tapes ’N Tapes were one of the early embodiments of the
“blog band” phenomenon. Though the group’s self-titled 2004 EP was
released to obscurity, their 2005 full-length The Loon sparked a quick
sensation in the blogosphere, helped by a rave review in Pitchfork
(complete with lofty Pixies and Pavement comparisons) that paved the way
for an appearance at Lollapalooza in 2007. The band worked with Flaming
Lips producer Dave Fridmann for their cleaner 2008 follow-up, Walk It
Unlooped @ bSide, 9 p.m.
Milwaukee’s Tarik Moody and WMSE and Signaldrift’s John Goelzer
conceived the new monthly event Unlooped as a way to promote
collaboration in Milwaukee’s sometimesisolated electronic music scene.
This month’s featured collaboration is between Def Harmonic rapper
Lunaversol 9 and experimental electronic artist Erik Schoster, aka He
Can Jog. The night will also serve as a listening party for Lunaversol
9’s upcoming solo EP A Novel Slur, and will feature sets from Moody,
Goelzer and dark electronica noisemaker The Demix.
Mexican Fiesta @ Summerfest Grounds, noon
What began as a Walker’s Point street festival circa 1973 is now an expansive, three-day taste of Mexican culture. From Friday to Sunday, Mexican Fiesta will feature cuisine from local vendors, exhibits involving music, history and heritage, and other forms of entertainment, including a popular jalapeño-eating competition. New this year is a Science Expo and Pok-Ta-Pok, an ancient Mayan ball game.
Saturday, Aug. 28
Paul Collins’ Beat w/ The Obsoletes @ Club Garibaldi, 10 p.m.
Collins’ Beat—an American group once known simply as The Beat until the
British band of the same name created brand confusion, forcing the
change—was one of the lucky late-’70s power-pop bands granted a critical
reappraisal. Though the band’s songwriting never matched The Knack, The
Buzzcocks and The Only Ones, their peppy, hooky records captured the
spirit of the era as perfectly as just about any other act, and young
audiences now herald The Beat’s records as rediscovered treasures.
Collins still tours and records with his Beat, and his new studio albums
hold up surprisingly well against his old ones. His latest, King of
Power Pop!, is rife with the same youthful melodies that fueled The
Beat’s early work.
AUTOMatic w/ The Night Krawlers, Element Everest and Raze @ bSide, 10 p.m.
latest offshoot from Milwaukee’s comic-book-themed rap collective House
of M, the duo AUTOMatic teams rapper A.P.R.I.M.E. with DJ Trellmatic,
who together make animated, alternative hip-hop in the spirit of early
Pharcyde and golden-era Gang Starr. As A.P.R.I.M.E. promises on “Do You
Want It,” the duo’s debut album Transistor delivers “thought-provoking
music for my people smoking pounds of trees,” with plenty of smooth,
jazzy beats, dusty samples and homages to “the days of Public Enemy,
Kane and Rakim.” Tonight is the record’s release party.
Asian Fest 2010 @ 3600 block of National Avenue, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Avenue is celebrated as the home of some of the city’s most popular
Mexican restaurants, but just several miles west of what’s called the
Latin Quarter the street also hosts one of Milwaukee’s richest deposits
of Asian culture. For the last three years, the city’s “Little
Chinatown” has showcased this culture at a free, annual block party that
returns this Saturday. Attractions include dancing competitions,
martial arts demonstrations, food vendors and a contest to determine the
city’s best egg roll.
Home Brewed Music & Arts Festival @ The Miramar Theatre, 12:30 p.m.
the inaugural Home Brewed Music & Arts Festival, promoters have put
on display a wide variety of visual artists and rock and hip-hop
musicians, many of who have largely flown under the radar of local
press. The music lineup includes Lil Ole P, Quick 50, Motorboat, Tom
Young, KritiK & Immoral, The Paramedics, Mr. Logek and Roundtable
Entertainment, while the featured artists include Adam Ithier, Calvin
Raab, Chad Bridgewater and Janson Rapisarda.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones w/ Teenage Bottlerocket and The Flatliners @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
more than any other American ska band, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones laid
the groundwork for the genre’s mid-’90s rise, creating the fusion of
punk riffs, driving horns and party-ready irreverence that so many ’90s
acts would bank on. They got their own taste of success, too, appearing
in the film Clueless and scoring a big alt-radio hit with 1997’s “The
Impression That I Get.” The band took a hiatus in 2004 as singer Dicky
Barrett became the announcer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” but reunited in
2007 and returned to the studio for last year’s carefree Pin Points and
Tuesday, Aug. 31
Alice Cooper w/ Brent James & The Contraband @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
for younger listeners who weren’t around to hear “School’s Out” upon
its original release, it’s difficult to think of Alice Cooper without
remembering his cameo appearance as the benevolent American history
teacher in Wayne’s World. That scene, in which Cooper eloquently
explains the Algonquin origins of “mill-e-wah-que,” perfectly reflects
Cooper’s savvy dual nature: There’s Alice Cooper the over-the-top
musical demigod, whose shocking stage performances influenced the likes
of GWAR and Marilyn Manson, and there’s Alice Cooper the cameraready
born-again Christian and VH1 television personality.
not to say that Cooper has gone soft with age; rather, it’s a testament
that, like so many enigmatic rockers who followed him, Cooper has
always had uncanny control over his public persona.
Wednesday, Sept. 1
Zann w/ Black Kites, Protestant, No Future @ Borg Ward Collective, 7 p.m.
Named after a Gothic novel by H.P. Lovecraft, the chaotic German band Zann was formed in 1999 as a four piece before adding another guitarist after some early shows. Unlike similarly long-lasting punk acts, their output has been fairly scarce. They owe much of their notoriety to a single, untitled album from 2006 that showcased their dramatic fusion of metal and Rites of Spring-styled emo. That was followed by a 12-inch split with the now-defunct Burial Year in 2008 and this year’s X, a 7-inch released through Protagonist Records.