This Week in Milwaukee: Nov. 27-Dec. 4
Music Under Glass Thanksgiving @ Mitchell Park Domes, 6:30 p.m.
Give the Mitchell Park Domes people credit for this: When they scheduled their weekly Music Under Glass concert series, they committed themselves to hosting it every Thursday, including Thanksgiving, a date most venues take off. Tonight they’re giving concertgoers a chance to dance off some of those Thanksgiving calories with Valerie B. and the Boyz Band, a Milwaukee funk and R&B cover band that’s been known to throw plenty of Chaka Kahn, Mary J. Blige and Kool and the Gang into their sets. Music Under Glass concerts usually run until 9, but tonight they’ll keep the party going until 10.
Friday, Nov. 29
Found Footage Festival @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 6:30 p.m.
Now in its tenth year, the Found Footage Festival screens some of the most impossibly bizarre videos dug up at garage sales and thrift stores from around the country, be they promotional or instructional videos never meant for a mass audience, or VHS recordings of long-forgotten public access shows. Hosts Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher offer a gleeful running commentary on these clips, voicing the audience’s confusion and disbelief. This year’s festival features a local angle: Pickett and Prueher have curated a “Best of the Midwest” show, spotlighting oddities discovered in Wisconsin and its neighboring states.
Semi-Twang w/ Doghouse Flowers @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Semi-Twang’s 1988 record Salty Tears was intended to be the first of a seven-album deal for Warner Bros., and it made the Milwaukee group early heroes of the burgeoning alt-country scene, but its modest sales limited the band’s time on the label. For two decades, a new Semi-Twang record seemed unlikely, but after 23 years the band released a follow-up. Their 2011 comeback album Wages of Sin took on a harder, bluesier edge than the group’s long-ago debut, yet it retains the same deep reverence for Americana. Apparently the songs have been coming to them quickly, because earlier this year, they released a snappy follow-up, The Why and The What For, which nods periodically to jaunty, New Orleans-style boogie rock.
Saturday, Nov. 30
The English Beat w/ The Crombies and DJ Marcus Doucette @ Turner Hall Ballroom,
It’s an unwritten rule that if a band exists on and off again long enough without making any new music, eventually it will splinter into two bands touring under the same name. At least the crossover ’80s ska band The Beat was well positioned for the split, since the group had two vocalists: Dave Wakeling, the Brit-pop frontman, and Ranking Roger, the toasting reggae singer. Wakeling now fronts the American version of The Beat, called The English Beat, while Roger has carried the Beat torch in the United Kingdom. Neither camp has released a new album, though this year Wakeling’s group released a couple of new tracks recorded for a ska-themed episode of “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.” Tonight the group headlines a fundraiser for Milwaukee’s annual Santa Cycle Rampage.
Art Vs. Craft @ Harley-Davidson Museum, 10 a.m.
Consider it Milwaukee’s most colorful alternative to big-box Black Friday sales. Established by Milwaukee artist Faythe Levine in 2004 and held every November, Art vs. Craft creates a link between the public and artists who sell their handmade goods directly. This bustling combination of art sale and craft fair provides an opportunity to purchase gifts from some of the city’s brightest independent artists and most unique small businesses and eco-friendly companies. Admission is five bucks.
Mustache Party w/ D’Amato, Newlybreds and Myles Coyne and the Rusty Nickel Band
@ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
Nov. 30 marks the end to no shave November, but it doesn’t mean you have to say bon voyage to your manly facial hair. Instead you can transform your burly beard into a mustache that’ll cut a few dollars off the door price for this Mustache Party at Stonefly Brewery. The $5 cover will be reduced to just $3 for people with a stash. Local acts Myles Coyne & the Rusty Nickel Band, D’Amato and Newlybreds will provide the music, while organizers will award prizes for the best mustache. Ladies and the peach-fuzzed can get in on the act, too: artificial lip-brooms are eligible as well.
Sunday, Dec. 1
Shannon and the Clams w/ Jaill @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
The perfect soundtrack for a dirty, back-alley sock hop, if those were a thing that existed, Shannon and the Clams revisit the doo-woppy early rock ’n’ roll of the ’50s through a punk prism. The group can be as gritty as any other touring garage-punk band out there—and singer Shannon Shaw certainly has enough raw power in her voice for punk rock—but on their latest album, Dreams in the Rat House, they make time for some tender, genuinely sincere oldies balladry between the edgier rock songs. They’ll share this bill with Milwaukee favorites Jaill, who have gone through some big lineup changes since signing with Sub Pop records several years ago, but have remained committed to giddy, lovable garage-pop.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
MythBusters: Behind the Myths @ Milwaukee Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
For 11 seasons, special effects experts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have been using science to verify or debunk untested claims on their Discovery Channel hit “MythBusters,” taking boyish delight in making things blow up. For their “MythBusters: Behind the Myths” stage show, Hyneman and Savage invite audience members to get in on the action, using volunteers as they demonstrate some of their unorthodox testing techniques. They’ll also take questions from the crowd during a Q&A session.
‘Sign Painters’ @ UW-Milwaukee Union Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Before mass-produced banners and vinyl lettering made storefronts around the country look a lot less interesting, there was a time when most signs were painted by hand. Though there are a lot less of them than there were 60 years ago, today there are still a small handful of people who make their living by painting signs. Milwaukee gallery owner Faythe Levine and filmmaker Sam Macon profiled some of them in their documentary Sign Painters. The film follows Levine and Macon across the country as they interview these painters, who explain why they’ve committed their lives to what some see as a dying craft.