This Week in Milwaukee: March 23-29, 2017
THURSDAY, MARCH 23
Galactic w/ The Hip Abduction @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
New Orleans’ Galactic distinguished themselves early in their career for their ability to seamlessly incorporate hip-hop into their funky, jammy sound, and over the years they’ve toured with distinguished rappers like Chali 2na of the Jurassic 5 and Boots Riley of The Coup. Recently, though, they’ve toned down the hip-hop influences to play up other styles that capture their imagination. Their 2011 live album, The Other Side of Midnight: Live in New Orleans, celebrated the traditional sounds of their city, while their 2012 studio album, Carnivale Electricos, broadened their sound even further, drawing from Brazilian rhythms and the anything-goes spirit of modern world music. Even better was 2015’s Into the Deep which features collaborations with Macy Gray, Mavis Staples and J.J. Grey, among others.
FRIDAY, MARCH 24
Experience Hendrix @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
Though he’s remembered most as a rock icon, Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) had a profound influence on the blues as well. As a result, each year some of the biggest names in blues group together to form the most overqualified Jimi Hendrix cover band possible for the Experience Hendrix Tour. This year’s tour features heavy hitters Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Dweezil Zappa, Doyle Bramhall, Eric Johnson, Chris Layton, Keb Mo’, Beth Hart, Mato Nanji, Ana Popovic, Noah Hunt, Henri Brown and The Slide Brothers (who’ll be joined by Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Billy Cox). In various permutations, they’ll blaze through Hendrix’s signature songs, like “Purple Haze,” “Little Wing” and “The Wind Cries Mary.”
Railroad Earth w/ Billy Strings @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Taking their name from a Jack Kerouac short story, Railroad Earth fuses bluegrass, rock ’n’ roll and occasional hints of jazz into their Grateful Dead-style vision of Americana. Formed in Stillwater, N.J., Railroad Earth is more studio-minded than some of their jam-scene peers, having recorded seven albums since their 2001 beginnings (including two for the String Cheese Incident’s SCI Fidelity label), but they’re also known for their improvisation-heavy live performances. Their latest record is 2014’s uplifting Last of the Outlaws.
SATURDAY, MARCH 25
Rocket Paloma w/ Faux Fiction and Timothy Charles and the Blind Fiction @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
The Milwaukee quartet Rocket Paloma splits the difference between swaggering, Pretenders-style tunes and driving, Neil Young-esque folk-rockers on their self-titled debut. Released after two years of memorable shows, including performances at Chill on the Hill and Milwaukee’s inaugural Fringe Festival, the record showcases the band’s searing guitar licks and the steely voice of singer Joey Kerner. In addition to fellow rockers Faux Fiction and Timothy Charles and the Blind Fiction, this EP release show will feature between-sets music from DJ Seedy.
The Lumineers w/ Kaleo and Susto @ BMO Harris Bradley Center, 7 p.m.
Lest anybody thought that old-timey fedoras and suspenders had gone out of fashion, Denver’s acoustic folk-rock trio The Lumineers proved them wrong in the summer of 2012 as their self-titled debut album shot up the Billboard charts—thanks in part to constant radio play and TV commercial exposure. It helped that the group’s tunes are as catchy as they are simple: Their foot-stomper, “Ho Hey,” has proven to be one of the most memorable hits of the latest folk revival. In the wake of that song’s success, so many other groups borrowed that tune’s jovial spirit that The Lumineers distanced themselves from that sound on their 2016 follow-up album, Cleopatra, a decidedly mellowed, almost solemn record that cuts out the band’s once-signature “heys!” and “hos!”
The Southern Soul Assembly Tour @ The Pabst Theater, 8:30 p.m.
Marc Broussard, J.J. Grey, Luther Dickinson and Anders Osborne are all road warriors who spend a good chunk of their year touring, but they’ve never done a tour quite like this. For what they’ve billed as the Southern Soul Assembly Tour, these four proud southern songwriters will share the stage for a night of songs and stories about how the sounds of their native states (especially Louisiana) inspired their music, which tends toward the swampier, more soulful edge of rock ’n’ roll.
SUNDAY, MARCH 26
Rickie Lee Jones @ Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, 7 p.m.
Decades into a career of recording everything from jazz to pop to R&B, Rickie Lee Jones continues to throw curveballs to her fans. Her 1997 record Ghostyhead experimented with drum-heavy trip-hop, and 2007’s The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard—a tough, rock ’n’ roll-minded treatise on religion—was one of the most intimate albums of her career. That intimacy has carried through her recent work, even as she’s reached out to new collaborators. Ben Harper guested on her 2009 album, Balm in Gilead, and returned to produce her 2012 covers collection The Devil You Know which included songs by The Rolling Stones and Neil Young. On her latest album, The Other Side of Desire, she showcases her gifts as a songwriter: It’s her first album comprised entirely of originals in more than a decade.
Whitey Morgan w/ Ward Davis and Tony Martinez @ Shank Hall, 7:30 p.m.
Like a lot of contemporary outlaw country talent, Flint, Mich. native Whitey Morgan landed a deal with the Chicago alt-country clearinghouse Bloodshoot Records, which released his 2010 album, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s. He dropped the “78’s” billing but kept the honky tonk for his latest album, 2015’s Sonic Ranch, which draws from his experiences growing up in one of the Midwest’s most economically depressed cities. He’s never been one to hide his influences: The record features a heated cover of Waylon Jennings’ “Goin’ Down Rocking.”
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29
Peter Frampton @ The Pabst Theater, 7:30 p.m.
Is any artist better known for a live album that Peter Frampton? Following a series of largely unsuccessful solo albums, Frampton belatedly catapulted into the spotlight with his live 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive, which has become one of the best-selling live albums of all time. A staple of classic rock radio, the album made heavy use of a talkbox, which modifies guitar notes by way of a tube in the guitarist’s mouth, effectively allowing the musician to sing the guitar notes. There’s no talkbox to be found on the songwriter’s latest album, though: 2016’s Acoustic Classics, which delivers stripped-down renditions of his best-known songs. He’ll perform acoustically for this show as well.