This Week in Milwaukee: April 6-12, 2017
Thursday, April 6
Dave Davies @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, 8 p.m.
Along with his brother Ray, Dave Davies was the co-founder of one of the most pioneering rock bands of the ’60s, The Kinks, influencing generations of young bands with his infectiously scuzzy guitar riffs on songs like “You Really Got Me.” Since The Kinks split up in 1996, Davies has concentrated on a solo career, recording occasional albums, including 2014’s Rippin’ Up Time, which was timed for a release in conjunction with The Kinks’ 50th anniversary. The Davies brothers have long held that tensions between the two would likely prevent The Kinks from ever reuniting again, though in late 2015 Ray did join his brother on stage to play a song, so stranger things have happened.
Friday, April 7
The Psychedelic Furs @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, 8 p.m.
The Psychedelic Furs’ roots date back the late ’70s, when they emerged from England’s booming post-punk scene, but most listeners associate them with a very different era. Thanks largely to Pretty in Pink, the title track for the John Hughes-Molly Ringwald smash teen movie, the Furs will forever be synonymous with the ’80s. The group broke up in 1991 before reuniting a decade later, but 16 years later that reunion has yet to yield a new studio album. Maybe that’s for the best: It ensures that they remain, as always, stuck in the ’80s.
“My Favorite Murder” @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
The podcast world is filled with shows about dark, grisly crime tales, usually told in unflinchingly gruesome detail, but no other podcasters are covering this territory quite like Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the chatty hosts of the hit podcast “My Favorite Murder.” The show is as much about the hosts and their BFF chemistry as it is about the murder tales that they often detour away from for long stretches. Between the jokes, the hosts have also openly discussed their own issues with anxiety, depression and substance abuse, and that openness has helped them cultivate a community of devoted fans who have likened the show to therapy. It’s a sign of how vast their audience has become that this show was moved from the Pabst Theater to the larger Riverside Theater.
Tift Merrit w/ The Suitcase Junket @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
A pair of albums for Lost Highway Records in the early ’00s established North Carolina singer-songwriter Tift Merritt as one of the most promising of the new class of alt-country artists, but recent albums have taken the songwriter in some unexpected directions. Her aptly titled 2008 album Another Country was recorded after a long holiday in Paris and introduced a leaner sound, and 2010’s See You on the Moon was even more stripped down and direct. Subsequent albums have featured guests like My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Andrew Bird. Her latest, Stitch of the World, was released earlier this year on Yep Rock and produced by Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam (who also lends some guitar and backing vocals) and includes some guest guitar from Marc Ribot.
Saturday, April 8
Chris Head & The Honchos w/ Cow Ponies @ Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall, 9 p.m.
Americana is just a starting point for Chris Head & The Honchos. From there, the group spirals off into power-pop, country and roots rock, imagining what Big Star might have sounded like if Alex Chilton had been born in the Midwest instead of Memphis, Tenn. For this show, the group will celebrate the release of their latest album, Chicken Wire, on a bill that will also feature another local act with a similar love for rock ’n’ roll and country, Cow Ponies.
JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound w/ Mood Vertigo @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
A lean, mean and highly unlikely cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” helped put Chicago soul revivalists JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound on the map. The group has also enjoyed some of the finest TV placement that the Fox network has to offer. For years, their poster has been on the wall of “New Girl” character Nick Miller’s bedroom (actor Jake Johnson is a fan of the band who appeared in the video for their track, “Rouse Yourself,” alongside Aubrey Plaza). Fans of the band can expect to hear some new material from them at this show. Earlier this year, they released their latest album of foot-stomping Memphis soul, Neon Jungle.
Alton Brown @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
For Alton Brown, cooking is a science, quite literally. On his long-running Food Network program “Good Eats,” he whimsically explained the many chemical reactions that make tasty food possible, often with the help of props and puppets. Since concluding that show in 2012, he’s carried on as the Food Network’s most knowledgeable correspondent, appearing in a variety of programs and competitions and hosting the channel’s most insane show, “Cutthroat Kitchen.” For this return appearance to the Riverside Theater, Brown is promising “songs, new comedy, new puppets and bigger and better potentially dangerous food demonstrations.”
Sunday, April 9
James Cotton Tribute @ Serb Hall, 4 p.m.
This year, blues music lost yet another one of its legends when blues singer, songwriter and harmonica player James Cotton passed away at age 81 after a long career highlighted by collaborations with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. And who better to pay tribute to Cotton than musicians who actually performed with him? This tribute show will feature members of the James Cotton Band guitarist Tom Holland and drummer Jerry Porter, along with a cast that includes harpist Blue Rick, bassist Mike Scharf and keyboardist Sumito Ariyo Ariyoshi.
Tuesday, April 11
Electric Six w/ Residual Kid and IfIHadAHiFi @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
With a little help from a red-hot Jack White, Electric Six scored one of 2003’s most memorable singles with “Danger! High Voltage,” a timely slab of infectious dance-rock. The Detroit group wasn’t able to parlay the excitement around that song into lasting mainstream success, but they’ve maintained a loyal fan base through rigorous touring and a steady output of reliably fun (if less than groundbreaking) albums, which have doubled down on the group’s manic, four-on-the-floor grooves while also exploring darker, more rock-based territory. Their latest record, last year’s Fresh Blood for Tired Vampyres, frequently nods to the digital sounds of ’80s pop and synth-rock.
Wednesday, April 12
Six Organs of Admittance w/ Moss Folk @ The Back Room at Colectivo, 8 p.m.
Folk music doesn’t mean the same thing to Ben Chasney as it does to other people. For nearly 20 years, Chasney has recorded all kinds of ornate, sprawling, demanding and almost-always-worthwhile psych music with his primary recording project, Six Organs of Admittance, consistently finding news way to pair acoustic folk music with digital sounds and drone. The group’s latest album is this year’s Burning the Threshold, and, like the dozen or so albums before, it rewards patience.