This Week in Milwaukee: Jan. 12-18, 2017
Thursday, Jan. 12
Kris Kristofferson @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Last year, country music mourned the loss of yet another one of its outlaw greats, Merle Haggard, leaving Haggard’s frequent collaborator, Kris Kristofferson (along with the immortal Willie Nelson), as one of the last of his breed. Kristofferson, who celebrated his 80th birthday last year, paid tribute to the late Haggard at a memorable Summerfest performance last summer, and now he returns to Milwaukee for this more intimate show at the Pabst Theater. If his Summerfest set was anything to go by, expect the silver-haired songwriter to play renditions of some of his most popular songs, including “The Silver-Tongued Devil and I,” “Me and Bobbie McGee” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”
Friday, Jan. 13
Local Coverage @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
In October, Milwaukee Record held a draft to determine which of the 10 Milwaukee bands the site selected for its annual Local Coverage benefit concert would cover each other. As always, they came up with some unlikely pairings. Highlights of this year’s concert, which will feature 15-minute sets from each act, include rapper D’Amato covering the punk band The Pukes (who will in turn cover Buffalo Gospel for their set); rapper Lorde Fredd33 reinterpreting the busy rock of Midwest Death Rattle (who will be covering D’Amato); and the power-pop group Midnight Reruns covering singer-songwriter Marielle Allschwang. Devil Met Contention, Abby Jeanne and Vincent VanGreat round out the lineup. The concert is always a brisk, high-spirited celebration of the local music scene, and once again this year all profits will be split between two great local causes: Girls Rock Milwaukee and the COA Youth & Family Centers.
Bash & Pop w/ So So Glos @ Cactus Club
After The Replacements broke up in the early ’90s, ending their storied career with a bit of a whimper, bassist Tommy Stinson vowed to form a new band that would channel the rowdier spirit of The Replacements’ early days. That band, Bash & Pop, gave it a solid go—recording a 1993 album (Friday Night is Killing Me) and lending a song, “Making Me Sick,” to the Clerks soundtrack—but Stinson eventually disbanded them after determining things weren’t clicking. It’s a little surprising, but oddly fitting, that Stinson decided to resurrect this mostly forgotten project last year, once again on the heels of a Replacement breakup (the group recently ended its reunion run). Bash & Pop will release their sophomore album, a mighty sweet power-pop record called Anything Could Happen, later this month on Fat Possum Records. For this tour, which kicks off just a day before this Cactus Club date with a show in Minneapolis, the band will be joined by the great Brooklyn punk group The So So Glos, who released a ripper of a record called Kamikaze last year.
Friday the 13th Fest Part II: Dirty Thirties Carnival @ Riverwest Public House, 8 p.m.
The Milwaukee Paranormal Festival hosts this eccentric lineup of entertainment—a sequel to the first Friday the 13th Fest they held last spring. This time they’ve lined up burlesque artist Skully Sati, belly dancer Nina Nazir, sword dancer Jeannette Daft and serpent dancer Dimitra. The house band will be the local bluegrass group, The MilBillies, and perhaps most unusually, there will be a display of reptiles from the Fox Valley Herpetological Society, which educates people about all kinds of reptiles and amphibians. Cover is just $7 at the door.
DJ Luke Nasty @ The Eight, 10 p.m.
For a time, North Carolina DJ Luke Nasty was primarily known for his remixes, but that changed last year when his smooth hit, “Might Be,” broke out to become one of the most inescapable earworms on rap radio. He ran with that winning formula of fusing modern rap with throwback R&B on his latest EP, The Boom Boom Room, which he released last month. It includes a remix of his single, “OTW,” featuring 2 Chainz.
Saturday, Jan. 14
Artists Against Fascism @ Riverwest Public House, 7 p.m.
There was a time when calling a benefit concert “Artists Against Fascism” would have seemed a little hyperbolic, but in 2017 it’s as apt a statement as any. Pushing back against the white nationalism of the so-called “alt-right” movement, this fundraiser for the Industrial Workers of the World General Defense Committee and Milwaukee AFA will feature a host of bands, musicians and poets, including Contraptions, Eric Blowtorch and the Inflammables, Lady Cannon, James Dean and Chimp Eats Banana (they’re a Chumbawamba cover band). There will also be zines, buttons and patches for sale. The suggested donation is just $5; doors open at 6 p.m. before performances begin at 7.
The Steepwater Band @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
It’s funny what a difference a small shift in sound can make. Chicago’s Steepwater Band started out as a fairly traditional blues-rock band, building their fan base at regional blues festivals and with gigs opening for legends like Buddy Guy and Taj Mahal. But as their sound broadened, so did their audience. As the 2000s progressed, they began to draw more from the spirit of classic rock and shared shows with bands like Umphrey’s McGee and Gov’t Mule, earning them a home in the jam community. The group has stretched out on recent records, including their latest, Shake Your Faith, which takes particular inspiration from The Rolling Stones’ bluesier efforts.
Tuesday, Jan. 17
Ben Gibbard w/ Julien Baker @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
As the frontman of Death Cab for Cutie and one half of the short-lived but wildly influential electro-pop project The Postal Service, Ben Gibbard was one of the leading artists responsible for bringing indie-rock off of college campuses and into the mainstream in the ’00s. He’s spent much of the last two years on the road with Death Cab behind their latest album, 2015’s Kintsugi, but he’ll go solo for this performance—featuring songs from both Death Cab and The Postal Service, as well as his 2012 solo record, Former Lives. Gibbard is joined on the bill by one of the younger artist he’s influenced, singer-songwriter Julien Baker, who previously opened for Death Cab at Summerfest this summer and covered the band’s “Photobooth” for the A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series. She’s poised for a big 2017; this month Matador records announced that they had signed her and plan to re-release her harrowing 2015 debut, Sprained Ankle.
Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee Awards @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 6 p.m.
Once again, the readers have spoken. Thousands voted in the Shepherd’s latest Best of Milwaukee readers’ choice awards, sharing their picks for their favorite businesses, people and places in more than 250 categories. We’ll reveal them at this award ceremony and party, which will feature complimentary food from some of Milwaukee’s best restaurants—including new additions like the Bavarian Bierhaus and Monterey Smoke House, a cash bar and music from Radio Milwaukee DJ Dori Zori.