This Week in Milwaukee
Tech N9ne, DJ Shadow and Yuck
THURSDAY, JULY 14
Tech N9ne @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Until his double-disc eighth album, Killer, went platinum in 2008, Kansas City hardcore rapper Tech N9ne struggled for recognition outside of underground circles.
N9ne's commercial success has only further propelled the already prolific rapper's output; he released his guestheavy Sickology 101: The Study of Being Sick and K.O.D. within six months of each other in 2009, followed by his 11th album, The Gates Mixed Plate, last July. Buoyed by some big-name guests (including Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes and The Deftones), Tech's latest album, All 6's And 7's, , debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard rap albums chart, affirming the rapper's newfound commercial appeal.
Bastille Days @ Cathedral Square Park
Celebrating its 30th year, Milwaukee's Bastille Days festival once again will turn Downtown Milwaukee into a Parisian paradise for four days, with four stages of entertainment and cherished traditions like the Storming of the Bastille run/walk, the Sunday French mass and the "Consuming of the Fried Dough" (the Alliance Française will again be selling authentic beignets). There's something for nearly everyone at the festival this year, and in the true spirit of the French Revolution, the tyranny of high ticket prices is left to other festivals: Admission is free. Artists performing this year include The Uptown Savages, the Ethan Keller Group, Evergreen, The LoveMonkeys, Robin Pluer and Semi Twang.
FRIDAY, JULY 15
DJ Shadow @ The Rave, 9 p.m.
It's not too surprising that Joshua Paul Davis, better known as DJ Shadow, has a collection of over 60,000 records, considering his music is derived exclusively from other artists' work. His debut album, Endtroducing....., is a massively acclaimed stroke of genius that landed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first completely sampled album and was named one of Time magazine's 100-best albums ever.
Shadow continues to produce music off the beaten path with his latest foray, The Less You Know, The Better, which promises to be a veritable opus of instrumental hip-hop when it is released later this year.
SATURDAY, JULY 16
Outsiders are often shocked to learn that Wisconsin claims the world's largest music festival, but they'd probably be a lot less shocked to learn that it also claims the world's largest fish fry. Set near the downtown harbor, Port Washington's Fish Day serves up nearly 10,000 pounds of cod and 13,000 pounds of fried potatoes every year. The festival kicks off with an 8K run at 8 a.m. and then a 10 a.m. parade through downtown Port Washington. Other attractions include a classic car show, arts and crafts tents, carnival rides, a smoked-fish eating contest and several stages of music, including ones for blues, country and classic rock.
Phil Keaggy @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Despite only having nine-and-a-half fingers, Phil Keaggy is one of the world's greatest fingerpicking guitarists. The Christian-rock kingpin got his start playing solo shows in the 1960s, just him, his guitar and an amp, and has since released more than 50 albums. His virtuoso playing has gotten him nominated twice for a Grammy, and has inspired fantastic stories, the most famous of these involving the legendary Jimi Hendrix proclaiming Keaggy as the best guitarist who ever lived.
SUNDAY, JULY 17
Patti LaBelle @ Northern Lights Theater, 8 p.m.
Despite outlandish costumes, publicity stunts and multiple musical-direction changes, Patti LaBelle and her band Labelle couldn't seem to break out in the 1970s. Then they released "Lady Marmalade" and everything changed. The single skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard charts, while LaBelle was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. . In the wake of the success, LaBelle pursued a solo career, charting with R&B and pop hits like "New Attitude," "If Only You Knew" and "On My Own." In 2008, the singer reunited with her old Labelle band mates to release their first new album in over 30 years.
Yuck Yuck w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
The members of the London indie-rock band Yuck are too young to have experienced the late-'80s/early-'90s indie-rock renaissance firsthand, but they breathe new life into the familiar noise-rock of bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth and the softer, poppier shoegaze those bands inspired. This bill pairs the group with their Fat Possum label mates Unknown Mortal Orchestra, a Portland, Ore., trio that last month released its first album, a self-titled collection of MGMT-esque psych-pop.
Sourvein @ Frank's Power Plant, 8 p.m.
It seems almost fateful that Sourvein, a twisted, doom metal band with albums named Will to Mangle and Imperial Bastard, was formed in a place called Cape Fear, N.C. The band uses slower tempos and low-tuned guitars to create a wicked sound intended to frighten and horrify. Acclaimed in metal circles for their extreme sound and willingness to push the boundaries of good taste, the group released its latest album, Black Fangs, last month.
TUESDAY, JULY 19
Vans Warped Tour @ Marcus Amphitheater, noon
A youthful sea of tattoos, piercings and air-tight skinny jeans, the Vans Warped Tour has been the sanctuary of wayward punks since 1995. The star attraction at this year's tour is Paramore, the alt-radio pop-punk staples led by orange-haired sprite Hayley Williams. The bill is packed tight with punk, emo, ska and hip-hop acts including Simple Plan, Less Than Jake, Unwritten Law, Motionless in White, Lucero, Relient K, Street Dogs, Yelawolf, Grieves and Budo, Go Radio, Passafire and Sick of Sarah.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20
Closer to My Dreams Tour w/ Tyga @ The Rave, 7:30 p.m.
After being discovered by Travie McCoy of the emo-generation alt-rap group Gym Class Heroes, Compton-born rapper Tyga soon fell into more traditional rap circles, joining Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment. Though he hasn't achieved the ubiquity of fellow Wayne protégés Drake and Nicki Minaj, he raised his profile considerably with last year's Fan of a Fan mixtape collaboration with Chris Brown, which yielded the radio hit "Deuces." Tyga headlines the "Closer to My Dreams" tour supported by fellow Young Money draftee Lil Twist, as well as Mindless Behavior, Diggy Simmons, Jawan Harris and Trevante.
Five for Fighting @ Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
There's a great book to be written about how Sept. 11 changed American culture. The trauma had a particularly profound, albeit short-lived, effect on the pop charts, as the country briefly embraced feel-good singles as citizens tried to cope with the tragedy. Five for Fighting's 2000 ballad "Superman (It's Not Easy)" helped soundtrack those healing sessions, peaking on the charts a couple of months after the Sept. 11 attacks. In the years since, the group—really just singerpianist John Ondrasik—has become a go-to source for TV producers looking to soundtrack melodramatic moments with baleful tunes sung in plaintive falsetto. Five for Fighting's latest album, 2009's Slice, adds grandiose orchestral arrangements to the mix, suggesting Ondrasik is now aiming to soundtrack not just TV shows, but also movies.