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This Week in Milwaukee

Kiss, Lady Gaga and Tyvek

Sep. 2, 2010
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Thursday, Sept. 2

KISS w/ The Academy Is… and The Envy @ Marcus Amphitheater, 6:30 p.m.

With their face paint, flamboyant outfits and flaming guitars, KISS branded themselves as the most theatrical rockers of the 1970s. Following a string of moderately successful records, the risky double live album Alive! brought the band the massive commercial breakthrough they had been seeking all along, and the KISS franchise has been running strong ever since (though many fans prefer to forget the period in the ’80s when the band abandoned their signature makeup). Founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss left the band early last decade, but Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons carried their own on the group’s latest record, 2009’s Sonic Boom, which became the group’s highest-charting album ever.

Tyvek w/ Aluminum Knot Eye and Pink Reason @ Cactus Club, 9:30 p.m.

Suggesting the proto-punk, two-chord jams of the Velvet Underground’s messy, earliest recordings, Detroit rockers Tyvek released a series of highly collectible, nofidelity 7-inches, EPs and cassettes before cleaning up their sound ever so slightly for their self-titled debut full-length last May. That album sweetens the band’s sound with shades of ’80s college rock and nods to the poppier output of The Mekons and Hsker D, but for each hook there’s a whole lot of shambolic, incidental noise. It’s a safe bet that most of these tunes were done in one take.

Lady Gaga @ The Bradley Center, 8 p.m.

There’s nothing exceptional about Lady Gaga’s catchy Euro-pop throwbacks, but the 24-year-old singer packages them so sensationally that they nonetheless seem fresh and exciting. With an eccentric fashion sense and performance-art leanings that set her apart from her peers, Gaga has emerged as arguably the biggest pop sensation of the moment and she’s celebrating that fame with the fittingly lavish Monster Ball Tour, an ongoing trek around the globe that began late last year and won’t end until next spring. This large-scale production includes extravagant sets, elaborate choreography, lasers and costume changes between nearly every song.

Friday, Sept. 3

Scissor Sisters w/ DJ Sammy Jo @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

Amid the haze of garage-rock revivalism in the early 2000s, disco-inflected pop-rockers Scissor Sisters rose to prominence with their self-titled debut in 2004, which found particular success in Australia, Canada and parts of Europe, topping Keane’s Hopes and Fears as best-selling album of the year in the United Kingdom. Although their gay-friendly glam-rock ethos is steeped heavily in the New York club scene, it was not until the critical and commercial success of their 2006 follow-up, Ta-Dah, an album that featured band icon Elton John, that American audiences warmed to the Scissor Sisters’ hypersexual dancepop. The group’s new album, this year’s Night Work, marked a shift toward an even more club-oriented sound.

Wisconsin Rally @ Wisconsin State Fair Park, noon

Bikers take over the Wisconsin State Fair Park this weekend for their annual Wisconsin Rally. Among the opening day attractions are a custom motorcycle display, a bikini bike wash and music from October Soul, Black Frog and headliners Jackyl, the ’90s hardrockers who are regulars at Sturgis. Saturday’s music lineup includes country-rockers 4 Lane Hwy and Chasin’ Mason, and Sunday’s attractions include Alex Debogorski of the reality show “Ice Road Truckers” and Bill Michaels’ Budweiser Poker Run.

Saturday, Sept. 4

Made in Milwaukee featuring the MIM Fashion Show & musical guests @ Cathedral Square Park, 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Made in Milwaukee celebrates its 10th event showcasing the city’s treasures with its biggest gathering yet, a free daylong festival in Cathedral Square Park that begins with the East Town Farmers’ Market in the morning and ends with an 8:30 p.m. fashion show and 9 p.m. set from the soul-revival band Kings Go Forth. In between, there’s a coffee tasting, a kids’ fair, a local business fair, the Milwauktoberfest beer tasting, an art village with live painting and a full lineup of music that includes The Wildbirds, De La Buena and the Rusty Ps.

Asobi Seksu w/ Brief Candles and Gospel Gossip @ The Cactus Club, 9:30 p.m.

On the New York group’s first two albums, Asobi Seksu crafted deft shoegaze, distinguished by the ethereal soprano of singer Yuki Chikudate, whose voice synced beautifully with the genre’s trademark synth washes and guitar roars, but the band’s latest, Hush, tames the shoegaze impulses that once defined the group. It’s a softer, more controlled set of ’80s-styled dream pop that better showcases the nuances of Chikudate’s beguiling voice, albeit at the expense of some of the thrills that made the group’s 2006 album, Citrus, so breathtaking. This bill pairs Asobi Seksu with Milwaukee’s best shoegaze band, Brief Candles, and Minneapolis shoegazers Gospel Gossip.

Abalone Dots @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

Though the acoustic quartet Abalone Dots hails from a small town on the outskirts of Sweden, their music owes little debt to their homeland. Instead, the group draws from the rootsy, neo-traditional bluegrass of American acts like Nickel Creek and Alison Krauss. Their surprisingly authentic take on Americana made their 2007 debut album, From a Safe Distance, a top-selling record for RCA Sweden, attracting a wide Scandinavian audience.

Curren$y w/ Shane Mane, The Martian and Tefman @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

Curren$y has an odd pedigree for a rapper currently enjoying acclaim in indierap circles. The New Orleans native did time on Master P’s No Limit Records when that label was well past its heyday, and then joined Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment, leaving in 2007, shortly before that franchise became one of rap’s most formidable. After his 2009 breakthrough mixtape This Ain’t No Mixtape, he landed on Damon Dash’s relaunched Roc-A-Fella Records, where he teamed with one of hip-hop’s most respected producers, Ski Beatz, who crafted Camp Lo’s masterful 1997 debut, Uptown Saturday Night. Ski creates a buoyant, occasionally dizzying backdrop for Curren$y’s rhymes about weed and snack food on the rapper’s assured major-label debut, Pilot Talk.

Tuesday, Sept. 7

Survival of the Dead @ UWM Union Theatre, 7 p.m.

At the peak of last decade’s zombie revival, George Romero returned to his Night of the Living Dead franchise for 2005’s Land of the Dead, which he followed with two quick, lowerbudget sequels: 2007’s Diary of the Dead and his latest, Survival of the Dead, which retains Romero’s signature social commentary. Romero sets the new film on an island, where feuding families are divided over whether zombies can be safely trained and controlled. Fans won’t mistake Survival with Romero’s seminal Dead trilogy, but the movie is nonetheless snappier and wittier than most modern zombie flicks. (Through Thursday, Sept. 9.)

Wednesday, Sept. 8

Tommy Keene w/ Mike Jarvis @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

Tommy Keene is considered one of the finest power-pop songwriters of the 1980s, a reputation that did little to help him find commercial success. By the ’90s he was performing as a guitarist-for-hire, touring with artists like Paul Westerberg, but he continued to release some assured solo albums, including a pair of underrated discs for Matador Records. He continues to release new albums every three or four years, the latest of which is last year’s In the Late Bright, a characteristically melodic set of pop-rock that puts newfound emphasis on Keene’s showy guitar work.


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