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Jul. 3 - Jul. 9

This Week in Milwaukee

Jul. 2, 2008
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Thursday, July 3

Red Knife Lottery @ The Cascio Groove Garage, Summerfest, 5:15 p.m.
Three years after their gut-punching debut record, So Much Drama, Milwaukee’s Red Knife Lottery returned this spring with the Hip Bruisers, a seven-inch that further hones the group’s violent, thrashing punk with soulful, down-tempo respites and fur ther showcases powerhouse singer Ashley Chapman. She screams, seethes and sasses her way through these songs, but poignant, softer passages reveal the vulnerability behind her limitless pipes.

Get Rad @ The Cascio Groove Garage, Summerfest, 8:15 p.m.
Get Rad, a roaring hardcore band made up of members of esteemed Milwaukee acts like Seven Days of Samsara and Since By Man, does double duty today, playing after some of Milwaukee’s best punk/hardcore/screamo bands at the Cascio Groove Garage this evening, then headlining a 10 p.m., post-fireworks after-show at Frank’s Power Planet with Off With Their Heads, a Minneapolis act whose brand of punk is of the peppier, fist-pumping, Bad Religion variety.

Grace and Julian @ Jazz in the Park, 6:30 p.m.

Grace and Julian, a collaboration between two New York University students, vocalist Grace Weber and pianist Julian Pollack, divide their time between up-tempo jazz pop and sultry adult-contemporary jazz ballads on their self-titled 2007 album. The pair has regional ties, so they’ll be playing several times in the Milwaukee area this summer, but tonight’s headlining show at Jazz in the Park is by far their most high profile gig.

Friday, July 4

The Roots @ Miller Lite Oasis, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
The Roots are the only major rap act to play Summerfest’s white washed lineup this year, but at least they’re an uncompromising one. Once a gateway group for casual hip-hop fans, who were comforted by the band’s live jazz and rock instrumentation, The Roots have emerged—particularly on recent albums—as a take-no-prisoners force, throwing down terse, minor-key rap baked in political and racial discontentment. Their live shows are usually still festive affairs, but their loaded new disc, Rising Down, is their most militant yet.

Stone Temple Pilots w/ Frank Black @ The Marcus Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m.
With the band still clocking major play on both hard-rock and modern rock radio, the timing was perfect for a Stone Temple Pilots reunion— except for one small thing: Singer Scott Weiland still hasn’t conquered the personal problems that caused the band to break up five years ago. Reviews of this tour’s early shows have been mixed, with some fans say ing the band is in all-out crowd-pleaser mode, and others saying Weiland is in as rough a shape as tabloids suggest. As always, though, hard-tour ing opener Frank Black—playing tonight under his recently readopted Pixies-era nom de plume, Black Francis—can be expected to perform sober and workmanlike.

Stone Temple Pilots

Seether @ The U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Seether may have formed in South Africa, but their hearts are in Seattle, from where they channel the grimier, hard-rockier side of grunge artists like Nirvana and Alice in Chains. Perpetually disgruntled singer Shaun Morgan filled his band’s latest album, Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces, with piss and profanity, firing back at ex-girlfriend Amy Lee’s unflattering account of their breakup, and, on the hit single “Fake It,” assailing celebrity culture. Of course, that single’s cultural critique assumes that listeners find the video games, horror films and WWE smack-downs that Seether regularly lends its songs to considerably more tasteful than tabloids.

Saturday, July 5

Tom Petty w/ Steve Winwood @The Marcus Amphitheater, 8 p.m
All signs point to Tom Petty’s Marcus Amphitheater show tonight being like his no frills Super Bowl halftime victory lap earlier this year, only longer, of course, and with an opening set from Steve Winwood.

Cheap Trick @ The M&I Classic Rock Stage, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
“I Want You to Want Me” was pretty obviously a love song, but it’s hard not to also read the song as something of a mission statement for Cheap Trick, the endearing (and enduring) rock ’n’ roll band. After more than three decades together, they’re still one of the coolest uncool bands ever.

Cracker @ The U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

With its crunchy alt-rock guitars and its “leave me alone and let me get stoned” mentality, Cracker’s best-known hit, “Low,” is pure ’90s, but the rest of the band’s catalog doesn’t date so easily. Like frontman David Lowery’s other band, Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker continues to record spry rock albums spiked with rootsy digressions and tangential fits of punk-rock silliness—music that sounded great before the ’90s alt-rock boom and music that still sounds great today, even if there’s no longer an obvious place for it on the radio.

Sunday, July 6

311 @ Miller Lite Oasis, Summerfest, 10 p.m.

With its friendly reggae/hip-hop/alt-rock hybrid, 311 is an agreeable little band, yet it’s long suffered from an image problem. When the band is not being derided as a frat-friendly, jam-lite band (a characterization that, while exaggerated, would still be hard to refute), it’s being charged (far more ridiculously) as racist. The claims are so dubious that nobody really believes them, yet 311 fans have digni fied them with a response. See the band’s Wikipedia entry for a hilariously defen sive refutation of the charges, where fans awkwardly make their case that 311 isn’t a KKK front by citing the band’s pacifist song lyrics, singer Doug Martinez’s Latino heritage and the group’s shared tour with Snoop Dogg.

Tuesday, July 8

The Mae Shi w/ Terrior Bute, Catacombs of Rome, Altamira @ The Borg Ward, 8 p.m.
All grinding guitars, discount-Casio beats, disorganized clatter, disembodied blips and nasally call-and-response shouts, Los Angeles’ The Mae Shi revel in their art school obnoxious ness, spinning it against the odds into hooky gold. Rising stars on the Internet, where their clever music videos give them a visual edge, they’re touring behind this year’s excellent album, HLLYH, and a tour-only DVD that includes footage of the band acting out scenes from HBO’s “The Wire.” Sheeeeeit!

Independent America @ The Times Cinema, 7 p.m.
Milwaukee’s buy-local organization, Our Milwaukee, hosts a series of events and promotions this week to remind shoppers about the economic and cultural benefits of frequenting local businesses. Many of their points are mirrored in the 2005 docu mentary Independent America, which they’ll screen for free tonight. The film follows a couple on the road as they attempt to visit mom-and-pop shops, only to find (as they obviously suspected) that many of them have been replaced by national retailers.


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