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This Week in Milwaukee: March 30 - April 5, 2017

Mar. 28, 2017
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Simple Plan @ The Rave, Wed. Apr. 5, Photo credit: Chapman Baehler

Thursday, March 30

Poets Read Some Stuff Someplace in Milwaukee @ Var Gallery & Studios, 7:30 p.m.

Writing poetry is an inherently solitary act, yet the craft lends itself to communal events such as this cheekily titled one, the second of its kind held at Walker’s Point’s Var Gallery & Studios, which aims to make poetry more approachable for the non-converted. Among the poets who will be reading “some stuff” are UW-Milwaukee Professor Brenda Cardenas, Destinny Fletcher, Bryon Cherry and Franklin K.R. Cline They’ll be joined by Chicago’s Maplewood Gardens performance art group. Come for the words and stay for the art: The Var Gallery is currently displaying an emerging artists exhibition.

Cash Levy @ Comedy Café, 7:30 p.m.

California standup Cash Levy has made the rounds over the last decade, appearing on shows like “The Late Late Show,” “Premium Blend,” “Comics Unleashed” and “@Midnight,” in addition to recording his own special “Cash Levy: Crowd Control.” To podcast fans, however, he’s probably best known as the co-host of “Cashing in with T.J. Miller,” alongside “Silicon Valley” star T.J. Miller. Their chemistry makes it clear that they’re longtime friends, and together they gamely chat about current events, cultural trends, relationships, movies they like, tourist attractions, minor frustrations and, on one memorable installment, whether or not fish have butts. Levy does a spate of shows this weekend at the Comedy Café. (Also March 31 and April 1, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.)

Umphrey’s McGee w/ Earphorik @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.

When Umphrey’s McGee swing through Milwaukee, they don’t just visit. They stay the weekend. Among the heaviest and most prog-rock influenced of the major bands on the jam scene, majorly indebted to Pink Floyd, Genesis, Frank Zappa and Dream Theater, the group will once again park at the Riverside Theater for three nights of shows. They’re touring on the heels of one of their most ambitious (and audacious) albums yet, 2016’s Zonkey, an unusual mashup collection that draws from the works of Radiohead, Nirvana, MGMT, AC/DC, Beck and The Beastie Boys, among many, many others. Many of the mashups were inspired by creations they’ve played live. (Also March 31 and April 1)

Candlebox w/ The Sixes @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

Like a lot of their Seattle peers in the early ’90s, it didn’t take too long for Candlebox to get scooped up by a major label. The group’s self-titled debut arrived in 1993, perfectly timed to capitalize on the era’s grunge boom, and it was an instant hit, with the singles “Far Behind” and “You” becoming mainstays of MTV and alternative radio. Like many bands of their ilk, they slid from the spotlight as the decade progressed before quietly breaking up, left feeling bitter about their label situation. They reunited on their own terms in 2006 and have since recorded three more albums, including last year’s Disappearing in Airports, their first without founding guitarist Peter Klett. At this show, the group will perform as an acoustic duo.

Friday, March 31

America @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

In their heyday, folk-rockers America made it cool to be uncool, wearing thick glasses and Hawaiian shirts as they sang largely acoustic hits like “A Horse With No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” “Lonely People” and “Sister Golden Hair.” Singer/guitarist Dan Peek left the band in the late ’70s to pursue a career in Christian music—he passed away several years ago—but remaining members Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley have carried on as a duo, touring regularly. In 2007 they released an album that made a fine case for their influence on contemporary folk-rock, the typically easygoing Here & Now, which featured guest spots from Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and members of My Morning Jacket and Nada Surf. Two low-stakes albums followed: a 2011 covers LP called Back Pages, and 2015’s Lost & Found, a collection of stray tracks the band recorded between 2000 and 2011.

Son Volt @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

No schism had greater ramifications in alt-country circles than the end of Uncle Tupelo. That beloved act split into two groups: Wilco, led by Jeff Tweedy, who went on to explore more pop- and experimental-minded avenues, and Son Volt, led by the band’s other singer-songwriter Jay Farrar. Of the two, there’s no doubt that Farrar was more committed to the original alt-country vision, though like Wilco, Son Volt has undergone many changes during the years. On 2013’s self-explanatory Honky Tonk, Farrar drenched his songs in pedal-steel guitars and twin fiddles in homage to Buck Owens’ Bakersfield sound, and the band’s latest release, Notes of Blues, takes its inspiration from blues music, specifically the folkier styles of blues music popularized in Mississippi.

Saturday, April 1

S. Carey w/ Klassik and Chris Rosenau @ The Back Room at Colectivo, 8 p.m.

Thanks to 2007’s For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver will always been associated with one person, songwriter Justin Vernon, but for their last few albums the group has been a true collaboration, and a big part of their sound has been drummer/keyboardist/singer Sean Carey, who joined shortly after For Emma’s release. Carey also records on his own, as S. Carey, and while he shares the same reverence for nature and interest in experimenting as Vernon, his songwriting has a calm, naturalistic quality that’s all his own. His easygoing 2015 Supermoon EP was recorded during the lunar phenomenon that gave that EP its name.

Wednesday, April 5

Simple Plan w/ Set It Off and Seaway @ The Rave, 7 p.m.

One of the many pop-punk bands that found fame when Warped Tour-style punk went mainstream in the ’00s, Canadian rockers Simple Plan have been playing together for nearly 20 years now, but they’d probably be the first to tell you they haven’t changed all that much during that time. The group’s latest album, 2016’s Taking One For The Team, didn’t veer far from the teen-friendly party-punk that made them popular to begin with—while bands like Blink-182 have prided themselves on maturing, Simple Plan have made it clear they’re perfectly happy not acting their age. For this tour, the band is playing their 2002 debut No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls in its entirety to commemorate its 15th anniversary.


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