May 22 - May 28
This Week in Milwaukee
Friday, May 23
Milwaukee Bonecrushers vs. Rock River Raptors @ U.S. Cellular Arena, 7:30 p.m.
“HERE TO STAY!” the Milwaukee Bonecrushers’ Web site defiantly declares, but the team has often seemed as unlikely to make it through its inaugural season as Hillary Clinton is to make it to the Democratic convention. Former head coach Gilbert Brown, general manager Chris Kokalis and other personnel have jumped ship in the face of apparent financial troubles, but on Sunday the fledgling indoor football team finally found reason to celebrate. After eight straight losses, it scored its first franchise victory, an upset against the Muskegon Thunder.
Peculiar Creatures, Charming Beasts @ Spackle Gallery, 6-10 p.m.
Earlier this year Bay View’s Spackle Gallery (2674 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) burst onto the Milwaukee art scene. Its conception marks a pre-emptive strike by five UW-Milwaukee grads seeking to tackle the uphill battle facing most young artists—getting galleries to exhibit their work—with guns blazing. On Friday they open their second exhibit: a tribute to the absurd and strange creatures that inhabit the shadowy realms between childhood and adulthood. “Peculiar Creatures, Charming Beasts” features the work of Milwaukee-based artist (and one of the founders of Spackle) Tara Klamrowski and New York’s Delaney Jane Larson.
Skid Row @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Still best remembered for the hits from their 1989 self-titled debut, including “18 and Life,” “I Remember You” and “Youth Gone Wild,” Skid Row arrived on the hair metal scene at just about the worst time possible, shortly before the grunge movement “killed their genre dead,” as an infamously offensive T-shirt worn by former frontman Sebastian Bach might have worded it. Against the odds the band has yet to reunite with Bach, but they’ve carried on with a singer who sounds much like him, playing the same crass glammetal that made them famous.
Saturday, May 24
The Candliers, Sleep Tight Co. and Inspector Owl @ The Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
“You can’t play a sad song on the banjo,” Steve Martin once keenly observed, and his maxim holds true in the music of Riverwest’s perky, ramshackle seven-piece The Candliers. They write bittersweet odes to times long past, then cheerfully play the hell out of them. Two solid bands round out tonight’s bill: Milwaukee’s wondrous Sleep Tight Co., whose brand of indie-pop is as pure and heavenly as any in the region, and Inspector Owl, a grand—and sometimes danceable—space-rock ensemble from DeKalb, Ill.
Family Kite Festival @ Veterans Park, 10 a.m.
You know summer is on the horizon when the kites come out. This year, the season’s first major kite event, the Family Kite Festival, has added an extra day, running both Saturday and Sunday. As the name promises, the events skew toward the young. There will be a candy drop, a kite-making workshop and entertainment from the ubiquitous Radio Disney, but certainly all ages can enjoy the spectacle of massive, novelty kites surfing the sky, or a noontime launch of 500 kites.
Stingray and Shark Reef @ Milwaukee County Zoo, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Most marinophiles have probably dipped their hands in the water and petted a stingray at some point, but the Milwaukee County Zoo’s returning Stingray and Shark Reef exhibit offers the chance to pet and feed not only two species of stingrays, but also two species of sharks (don’t worry, temperament-wise these finned friends are more like Will Smith from Shark Tale than Jaws from Jaws).
Tiger Army w/ The Unseen and War Tapes @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
On their most recent album, Music from Region Beyond, Tiger Army flirt with radio-friendly, ’80sspiked modern rock, but never stray too far from their sharp-toothed punkabilly roots—punk-rock with stand-up bass simply never gets old. Meanwhile, after six albums and 15 years together, openers The Unseen continue to tighten (and sweeten) their brand of smart, savvy hardcore.
Sunday, May 25
The Queers @ Mad Planet, 8 p.m.
After years of questionable management, Lookout Records crumbled just when it was needed most. In an era where ostentatious emo bands rule the charts, today’s not-particularly-troubled youth could use a good, old-fashioned dose of no-frills, Ramones-informed pop-punk, performed by regular Joes with a sophomoric sense of humor and a closet full of Chuck Taylors. Many of Lookout’s heyday bands went the way of the dinosaur, but one of the label’s quintessential acts, Queers, has carried on, recording new music—well, new in that it hasn’t been recorded before; old in that it never strays from their tried-and-true formula—for Asian Man Records. The Queers share tonight’s bill with Lemuria, Bomb the Music Industry and Andrew Jackson Jihad. Another Lookout alum is tucked away at the bottom of the bill: Kepi Ghoulie, pop-punk favorites The Groovie Ghoulies.
Panic at the Disco w/ Motion City Soundtrack, The Hush Sound and Phantom Planet @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
Teenagers plucked from the vine by a major label, in 2005 Panic! at the Disco released A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, a smashdebut album pieced together straight from the Fall Out Boy playbook, but their sophomore album, Pretty. Odd. flips the script completely. In what guitarist/lyricist Ryan Ross in an interview with the Shepherd Express all but admits was a renunciation of debut album’s standard-issue emo, the group recorded an ambitious, tripped-out and often lovepop album in the spirit of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album. As if to make their reinvention official, they even dropped that infuriating exclamation mark from their name. Apparently they could sweat out that fever after all. (To read Ross’ interview with the Shepherd, visit ExpressMilwaukee.com’s music section.)
Monday, May 26
Famous Milwaukeeans Come Alive 2008 @ The Forest Home Cemetery, 11 a.m.
Every year, famous figures from Milwaukee’s past rise from the dead and gather at the Forest Home Cemetery seeking brains. All right, this annual event isn’t quite as Romero-esque as it sounds. The dead people are played by actors, and the brains they seek belong to those they wish to educate. Costumed guides portraying Milwaukee legends like William A. Davidson and Frederick Pabst will tell their story at this free (and zombie-free) Memorial Day event, which will be followed by a walking tour of the grounds at 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 28
The Spill Canvas w/ Ludo, Steel Train and Sing It Loud @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.
Spoiler alert: This show will include dramatically swept, vision-obscuring black bangs. South Dakota’s emo place-holders The Spill Canvas carved out their own slice of the seemingly endless (and endlessly lucrative) emo pie last year with their oh-so-earnest major label debut, No Really, I’m Fine. When Ben Gibbard-ish frontman Nick Thomas sings, “It’s like 1,000 paper cuts soaked in vinegar,” he presumably meant to detail his inner pain, but he stumbled upon as astute an analogy for the emofication of modern rock as any.