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This Week in Milwaukee

Electric Six, The Posies and Brendan Benson

Nov. 4, 2010
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Thursday, Nov. 4

Electric Six w/ The Constellations @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

With a little help from a red-hot Jack White, Electric Six scored one of 2003’s most memorable singles with “Danger! High Voltage,” a perfectly timed slab of dance-rock. The Detroit group wasn’t able to parlay the excitement around that song into lasting mainstream success, but they’ve maintained a loyal fan base through rigorous touring and a steady output of reliably fun (if less than groundbreaking) albums. Their latest record, Zodiac, doubles down on manic, four-on-the-floor grooves following 2009’s darker, more rock-based Kill.

Darius Rucker @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.

Darius Rucker’s exaggerated, from-the-belly bellow made Hootie and the Blowfish’s adultalternative-friendly roots-rock fun for even the band’s biggest detractors to sing along with, and Rucker hasn’t much tempered that croon since reinventing himself as a country artist in 2008. His album Learn to Live and its three No. 1 singles, including “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” made him the most successful black country singer in decades. Rucker sticks closely to that album’s formula on his new follow-up, Charleston, SC 1966. The album’s title evokes another era, but its studio-slickened sound is unabashedly modern.

The Richard Thompson Band @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

With his band Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson was instrumental in helping English folk music make the transition to electric sounds in the late ’60s, and then with his former wife, Linda, Thompson became one of the top folk-rock acts of the ’70s. His recent albums have been largely stripped-down affairs, but his newest, Dream Attic, is among his most charged in a decade, placing particular emphasis on his electric guitar work. The album collects 13 new songs Thompson recorded live with his band in February.

Friday, Nov. 5

The Posies w/ Brendan Benson and Aqueduct @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

The Posies positioned themselves as perhaps the best power-pop band since Big Star, a comparison that became even easier to make when band principals Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow joined hero Alex Chilton in his touring lineup of Big Star in the late ’90s, a gig they held until Chilton’s death earlier this year. With Stringfellow living in France, The Posies don’t record as regularly as they once did, but last month they returned with their first album in five years, Blood/Candy, which supplements their usual power-pop eruptions with some mellow diversions new to the band. The group is well supported on tonight’s bill by Michigan power-pop enthusiast Brendan Benson, who was making solid, catchy pop records well before he joined Jack White in The Raconteurs.

Video Games Live @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.

Some of the most poignant video-game signifiers in Edgar Wright’s movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World weren’t visual, they were auditory. Wright set several scenes to music from “The Legend of Zelda,” calling the game’s music “like nursery rhymes to a generation.” At the Video Games Live concert, those nursery rhymes will get an epic makeover as a full orchestra recreates scores from games both classic (“Super Mario Bros.,” “Pac-Man,” “Metroid”) and modern (“Warcraft,” “Metal Gear Solid”). Milwaukee’s Bel Canto Chorus and “Halo” composer Michael Salvatori will be among the guests on the bill.

Chelsea Handler w/ Chris Franjola @ Milwaukee Theatre, 8 p.m.

Cable has at best a mixed record with late-night talk shows, but the E! network created a genuine star when it premiered Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Lately” in 2007. Breaking from the traditional talk-show format, the show pairs Handler with a panel of comedians and B-list actors to discuss pop-culture happenings. Off the set, Handler’s stand-up routines are more autobiographical than her catty talk show, with an emphasis on embarrassing tales usually involving men, alcohol, public humiliation or some combination of the three. In March, Handler published her third book, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.

Saturday, Nov. 6

Made in Milwaukee @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.

Made in Milwaukee returns to the Turner Hall Ballroom this weekend for a multimedia event to raise money for (fittingly enough) the preservation of the Turner Hall Ballroom. The bill features music from guitarist Evan Christian, indierockers The Celebrated Workingman, dance-rockers Codebreaker and members of the rap group The Rusty Ps with a fashion show, live video production, a break-dancing performance and live painting from local artists Dwellephant, Field Lehmann and CM Thiede.

Bottomless Pit w/ Black Helicopter and Wereworm @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

After nearly two decades together, the Chicago indie-rock band Silkworm disbanded in the wake of a 2005 car accident that killed drummer Michael Dahlquist, but members Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett soon formed a new quartet, Bottomless Pit, which continues the ragged, wound-licking indie-rock Silkworm did so well. The group’s 2007 debut, Hammer of the Gods, was fittingly sorrowful, but this year’s Blood Under the Bridge is a peppier, harder-rocking record.

Monday, Nov. 8

Barenaked Ladies w/ Jukebox the Ghost @ The Pabst Theater, 7:30 p.m.

Given how instrumental his hearty voice and quirky humor were to both the band’s image and sound, it’s surprising how little Barenaked Ladies’ longtime co-songwriter Steven Page is missed from the band’s latest record, All in Good Time. Since Page left the group for a solo career last year following a 2008 arrest for cocaine possession, singer Ed Robertson invited bassist Jim Creeggan and keyboardist Kevin Hearn to take on extra vocal responsibilities, preserving the collaborative feel that’s always been much of the band’s appeal. The result is a record that’s more straight-faced and less quirky than most of the group’s albums, but one that still sounds very much like a Barenaked Ladies album.

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Yonder Mountain String Band @ The Pabst Theater, 8:30 p.m.

Colorado’s Yonder Mountain String Band has a lot more company these days. Since their rise at the turn of the century, the group has been at the forefront of a movement of bands schooled on the modern jam scene but in love with the sounds of traditional bluegrass. Over the course of 10 studio albums and live albums, many released through the band’s own Frog Pad Records, the group has fused mountain music with jazz and rock improvisations.

Breathe Owl Breathe @ Cactus Club, 8:30 p.m.

With their woodsy aesthetic and the intimate murmur of their soft songs, the Michigan trio Breathe Owl Breathe is spiritually aligned with the flannelled folk songwriters who now dominate independent music—if singer/cellist Andrea Moreno-Beals had been born a man, it’s easy to imagine that she’d grow a beard—yet the trio distinguishes itself from more traditionalist folk acts with its gentle sense of indie-pop whimsy. The group’s hushed latest album, Magic Central, is kissed with light, psychedelic undertones.

Wednesday, Nov. 10

Brokencyde w/ Millionaires, Kill Paradise and The Hit @ The Rave, 7 p.m.

A sort of Insane Clown Posse for the younger, Hot Topic/Vans Warped Tour set, the New Mexico crunk-punk band Brokencyde gives screamo a club-music makeover, screeching juvenile, Auto-Tuned and often alarmingly misogynistic sentiments over brash dance beats. This month the group follows up its astutely titled 2009 debut, I’m Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It!, with Will Never Die. Among the song titles from the new disc: “U Ain’t Crunk,” “Dis Iz a Rager Dude” and “Money Hungry Hoe.” If Tipper Gore were to relaunch her crusade to censor music, she would do well to start here.

Michael Pollan @ UW-Milwaukee Union, 7 p.m.

He’s not a celebrity chef, but few names in food circles carry more weight than Michael Pollan’s. Over a series of four best-selling books, the journalist and food activist has examined the sad state of the American diet and the difficulties of eating healthy amid the pervasive industrialization of food. His latest work is Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. In his talk tonight as part of UW-Milwaukee’s Distinguished Lecture Series, Pollan will discuss efforts and movements that are under way to remedy and reform America’s corrupted food system. Tickets are available to the public.


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