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This Week in Milwaukee

Will Hoge, Cheap Trick and Trailer Park Boys

Oct. 6, 2011
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Will Hoge w/ Jaron and the Long Road to Love @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

Nashville songwriter Will Hoge set out to become a history teacher, but he left Western Kentucky University to pursue music. The rustic, soulful roots-rock sound of his independently released album Live at the Exit/In drew attention from Atlantic Records, which signed him in 2002 and produced his first studio album, Carousel. Though the stint with Atlantic was short-lived, Hoge went on to carve a niche in the Southern country-rock genre and release six more records, including 2009's The Wreckage, a record inspired by a car crash that nearly killed him in 2008. His just-released new disc is titled Number Seven.

Steven Wright @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.

A breakout star of the '80s stand-up scene who inspired many comedy upstarts in the '90s, Steven Wright delivers lethargic jokes in a droll, deadpan voice that downplays how absurd his one-liners can be. His unmistakable cadence has earned him a handful of memorable roles in films like Reservoir Dogs, as an unseen radio DJ, and Half Baked, as a stranger who crashes on Dave Chappelle's couch, but unlike many of the comedians who rose to prominence during the Reagan years, he never chased celebrity or filmed a TV pilot. Instead, he has stayed true to stand-up, working at the unhurried pace suggested by his voice.

ART Milwaukee's First Birthday Party @ Grand Avenue Mall, 6-10 p.m.

After a successful first year helping nurture artists including fashion designers, performance artists, architects and musicians, ART Milwaukee is celebrating its birthday with a Downtown party. This jamboree will host entertainment from numerous Milwaukee companies, including TRUE Skool's DJ scratch lessons/shows, African World Fest's dance performances, and student galleries and live painting from UWM, MIAD and Carroll University. Stone Creek Coffee will be hosting complimentary coffee tastings and vendors within the mall will be offering free food samples.


Cheap Trick @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.

Cheap Trick followed up their breakthrough At Budokan album with a real curveball: 1979's Dream Police, an ambitious concept album that gave their signature power-pop an epic makeover, layering on synthesizers and orchestrations. It went on to become one of their best-selling records. Earlier this year Cheap Trick honored that album by playing it in its entirety along with other hits for a 12-show extended engagement at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino's Northern Lights. They'll reprise that show for 10 more performances at the casino through Nov. 5.

Bryan Adams @ The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m.

Bryan Adams proved himself one of Canada's biggest stars with the 1984 breakout album Reckless, which yielded a run of hit singles—including “Run to You,” “Somebody,” “Summer of '69,” “One Night Love Affair” and “It's Only Love.” Adams turned toward softer-rock sounds in the '90s, memorably scoring a hit with the ballad “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” from the Kevin Costner feature Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but lately he has dedicated much of his time to photography, shooting work that has been featured in esteemed magazines and at high-profile exhibitions. His most recent album was 2008's extra-light 11.

Trailer Park Boys @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.

Canadian comedy group Trailer Park Boys, of the crude mockumentary-style TV show of the same name, don't always drop their act when off-screen. Ricky, Julian and Bubbles (Robb Wells,

John Paul Tremblay and Mike Smith, respectively) are regularly seen out in public as their white- trash counterparts. In the past, live appearances have featured puppet shows, musical numbers and comedy sketches.


J. Cole @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

After a run of acclaimed mixtapes and a red-carpet rollout from mentor Jay-Z on the Blueprint 3 track “A Star is Born,” New York rapper J. Cole released his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story late last month to surprisingly strong sales. If the record doesn't quite make good on the lyrical promise of Cole's mixtapes, it does prove him a respectable addition to the modern Kanye West/Drake school of everyman rappers, and it features savvy guest turns from Trey Songz on the single “Can't Get Enough” and Missy Elliott on the single-in-waiting “Nobody's Perfect.”

Minus the Bear w/ Velvet Teen @ The Rave, 9 p.m.

With their twisty, tangled guitars and number-crunching chord changes, Minus the Bear sounds increasingly disconnected from an indie scene that now prefers wishy-washy abstract pop or tranquilized, NPR-friendly troubadours, but by staying true to the brainy indie-rock of yore the group has continued to grow its audience. Of course, it also helps that this Seattle group has honed its craft over recent albums and EPs, moving from the calculated stiffness of early releases toward warmer, sweeter songs. Their latest album, Omni, also introduces new synthesizer and drum-machine textures to their mix.

Alton Brown @ The Pabst Theater, 6 p.m.

The Food Network's go-to expert on the science of food, Alton Brown hosted the network's whimsical show “Good Eats” for over a decade, using costumes and props (as well as a bevy of homemade devices) to teach audiences about the chemistry of food. He's written a trio of books documenting his time on the show and compiling some of its most useful recipes, the latest of which, Good Eats 3: The Later Years, he'll discuss tonight. All tickets include an autographed copy of the book.

Bush w/ Chevelle and Filter @ Eagles Ballroom, 6:30 p.m.

Though it sold like gangbusters, Bush's 1994 debut, Sixteen Stone, was derided by critics as a shameless attempt to polish grunge-rock for the masses. That feedback must have weighed heavily on frontman Gavin Rossdale, because he spent much of his subsequent career vying for critical credibility, working with esteemed engineer Steve Albini on Bush's 1996 follow-up, Razorblade Suitcase, going electronic on Bush's difficult third album, The Science of Things, and starting a band with Helmet's Page Hamilton during Bush's hiatus last decade. After so many failed experiments, it's something of a relief, then, that Bush's new reunion album, The Sea of Memories, is an unabashed grunge-pop album. The record is in many respects the purest sequel to Sixteen Stone the band has ever made, even though it was recorded with only half of the band's original lineup.

Mondo Lucha Variety Show @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.

Turner Hall Ballroom's periodic Mondo Lucha events are among the oddest of the city's homespun traditions, eclectic pairings of Mexican “lucha libre” wrestling, burlesque performances, music and miscellanea. This latest bill features music from John the Savage, an appearance from The Brewcity Bruisers and the debut of the Mondo Lucha Dancers.


Goo Goo Dolls @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.

It's easy to forget that the Goo Goo Dolls were once a punk band with a sound that suggested a heavier update of their heroes, The Replacements. It was a pair of sentimental, acoustic '90s hits—“Name” and its identical cousin “Iris”—that transformed the group into the adultcontemporary softies they are known as. Even that maudlin makeover, though, did little to disguise the darker songwriting of singer/guitarist John Rzeznik, whose lyrics dwelled on themes of addiction and divorce. Last year the band released their ninth album, Something for the Rest of Us, which they recorded with a host of producers, including Butch Vig, John Fields and Rob Cavallo.

Robert Randolph and The Family Band w/ Ha Ha Tonka @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.

Drawing from his religious and musical education at the House of God Church in New Jersey, Robert Randolph plays what many African-American Pentecostal churches refer to as “Sacred Steel,” the steel guitar. Though informed by gospel, his music also draws heavily from the electric blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton and the loose, jovial spirit of funk. Last year, Randolph released his third studio album, We Walk This Road, which he recorded with producer T-Bone Burnett.


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