This Week in Milwaukee: Oct. 24-30
Thursday, Oct. 24
Indigo Girls and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra @ Milwaukee Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have come a long way since the Indigo Girls’ 1987 debut Strange Fire broke into the world of mainstream pop with its hit “Closer to Fine.” The Indigo Girls have remained one of the most popular folk-rock duos over the last three decades, releasing 14 studio albums including 2011’s Beauty Queen Sister. The group has long featured string instruments on their albums, but tonight they’ll aim for a bigger, more orchestral sound than they’re typically known for when they perform with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Melt-Banana w/ Brain Tentacles, Zebras and Lifes @ Cactus Club, 9:30 p.m.
Japan’s Melt-Banana has been making freaked-out, spastic noise-punk for two decades, and they haven’t tamed a bit with age. Ichirou Agata’s screechy guitar still hits masochistically shrill notes, and Yasuko Onuki still yelps, barks and screams with such zeal that her nose sometimes bleeds. The band has continued to push their sound in new directions, though. Their 2009 live record Melt-Banana Lite Live: Ver. 0.0, ditched their trusty guitars in favor of equally extreme synths and samples, a shift that carries through their new studio album, Fetch.
Donald Driver @ Boswell Book Co., 2 p.m.
When the Green Bay Packers picked Donald Driver in the seventh round of the 1999 draft, he never could have predicted that he’d spend his entire 14-season NFL career with the team, helping take them to the Super Bowl. He’s now remembered as one of Green Bay’s most-loved players, and even has a street in the city named after him. Driver recounts his journey in his new memoir, Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field. He’ll sign copies of the book at this ticketed event.
Friday, Oct. 25
Creatures and Creators Halloween Party @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Made in Milwaukee and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee invite you to showcase your creative side at this offbeat Halloween blowout. The bash includes music from DJ Bone White, Boy Blue, D’Amato, MC One Self and The Fatty Acids, as well as a fashion show featuring the works of Milwaukee native Alexis Rose, who transforms unpleasant looks into something chic, luxe and wearable. The night tops off with a Michael Jackson vs. Prince dance-off. And of course, it’s not a Halloween party without a costume competition. Come dressed to win or make your own cloth mask at the event.
Vinyl Theatre w/ Ian & The Dream and Mighty Fox @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Milwaukee’s Vinyl Theatre fuses indie rock with electronic dance influences. That’s attracted them comparisons to The Killers and Passion Pit and some notice in the U.K. and Europe, where they’ve received airplay. Closer to home, they’ve opened for national acts including Twenty One Pilots and Quiet Company. For this show, the band will be filming a live video.
Rain—A Tribute to The Beatles @ Milwaukee Theatre, 8 p.m.
The touring Broadway show Rain—A Tribute to The Beatles invites Fab Four fans to relive the group’s heyday, offering a multimedia retrospective of one of the most celebrated bands of all time. The tribute show includes an expansive collection of Beatles songs including standards like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Hey Jude” and “Come Together.”
Saturday, Oct. 26
Blue Lotus Benefit Concert w/ Al Kooper @ Miramar Theatre, 8 p.m.
Al Kooper is one of rock ’n’ roll’s all-time great session players, known for his versatile contributions to albums from Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Lynyrd Skynyrd, in addition to his own records with The Blues Project and Blood, Sweat and Tears. In the late ’70s Kooper also produced the lone studio album from now-Wisconsinite Freddy Bliffert (then going under the name Freddie Henry), Get Out in the Open, and though it was hardly a top seller, the two remained friends. Bliffert and his wife now run Blue Lotus Farm, a 64-acre retreat in West Bend, Wis., that provides rural respite for people with disabilities, seniors and inner city kids. Kooper will headline this benefit for that organization, which will also feature local players Warren Wiegratz, Peter Roller, Robin Pluer, Jim Liban and, of course, Bliffert himself.
Sunday, Oct. 27
Mike Doughty w/ Sons of Hippies @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Mike Doughty has a love/hate relationship with his ’90s alt-rock band Soul Coughing. On the one hand, the group gave him his first taste of fame, thanks to hits like “Super Bon Bon” and “Circles,” and laid the groundwork for the low-key solo career he now sustains. On the other hand, that brush with fame led to a heroin addiction that nearly killed him, and he doesn’t have many kind words for his former band mates. Doughty dishes about his Soul Coughing years in his 2012 memoir, The Book of Drugs. Nonetheless, he hasn’t abandoned his old band’s songbook. His latest album, Circles Super Bon Bon, revisits 13 Soul Coughing tracks in collaboration with the hip-hop/house producer Good Goose.
Tuesday, Oct. 29
Kate Nash w/ La Sera @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
English singer-songwriter Kate Nash broke through with her blithe single “Foundations,” which drove her 2007 debut album Made of Bricks up the charts that year. In the years since, however, she’s done plenty to distinguish herself from the sea of similarly smiley and wide-eyed female artists who emerged around the same time, shifting toward a bolder, riot grrrl-inspired sound for her latest album, Girl Talk. That album roars with themes of female empowerment, so it’s only fitting that she’s touring with an all-girl band in support of the record.
Wednesday, Oct. 30
Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
As the visionary songwriter and producer of The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson created some of the landmark recordings of the 1960s, including Pet Sounds and the legendarily unreleased Smile, and generally brought the sunny, harmony-laden “California Sound” to listeners around the world. Although mental illness and a string of personal problems sidelined Wilson for large parts of the 1970s and 80s, in the ’00s the singer and musician and has made a miraculous return to stability and creativity, even completing the troublesome Smile project in 2004. His next project is an album with legendary blues guitarist Jeff Beck, who joins him at this show, which will also include Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks.
Walk The Moon w/ The Mowgli’s and Smallpools @ The Pabst Theater, 6:30 p.m.
Walk The Moon’s infectious ode to youth “Anna Sun” was one of the surprise hits of 2011, thanks to regular play on alternative radio stations and MTV, which hailed it the song of the summer. The group’s 2012 self-titled RCA Records debut is every bit as bubbly as that track, boiling over with infectiously hooky guitars and new wave/pop/dance grooves perfect for basement dance parties. The group has begun work on their follow-up record, which they hope to release early next year. Early talk suggests it’ll take cues from the chipper, chiming guitars of The Smiths’ classic records and the forward-looking mindset of contemporary electronic music.