This Week in Milwaukee: May 18-24, 2017
Between Gloss Weekend and the Cream City Comedy Festival, it’s going to be a banner weekend for Milwaukee music and comedy.
Thursday, May 18
Cream City Comedy Festival @ multiple venues
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t see live comedy—and there are a lot of you—this weekend is as good of a time as any to change that. The Cream City Comedy Festival has lined up 14 comedy shows featuring 60 comics over four days this weekend, at a price point designed to attract newcomers to the local comedy scene: free! Among the huge mass of local and national standups performing are Ben Kronberg, Anthony DeVito, Chastity Washington, Tom Wisdom, Ryan Holman, James Doyle, Jacob Lowrey, Shannon Noll and Tyler Menz. For a complete lineup of information visit the festival’s Facebook page at facebook.com/creamcitycomedy.
Friday, May 19
Gloss Weekend @ multiple venues
There’s an easy joke to be made here about how it seems like lately every weekend in Milwaukee is Gloss Weekend. The bands on Gloss Records’ roster are some of the busiest, most prolific and most popular in the city, and it’s rare to see a major Milwaukee music festival that doesn’t feature at least a few of them headlining. This three-day label showcase conveniently puts them all in one place, though. The weekend kicks off with a 9 p.m. bill at the Cactus Club featuring The Fatty Acids, Rio Turbo, Sex Scenes, Marielle Allschwang and Dashcam. Saturday features two bills: a 4 p.m. one at the Jazz Gallery with Soul Low, Lorde Fredd33, Piles, Soup Moat and D’Amato and one that night at the Riverwest Public House with Foreign Goods, NO/NO, Surgeons in Heat, Hello Death and Iron Pizza. Tickets for each show are $10, while a $25 pass covers all three shows and includes a label compilation cassette tape. The weekend ends Sunday night with a free 9 p.m. afterparty at High Dive featuring a surprise band and drink specials.
Oddisee w/ GOOD COMPNY and Olivier St. Louis @ Shank Hall
In the spirit of early-’90s Native Tongues acts like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, Washington rapper and producer Oddisee makes intricate, trend-defying hip-hop fixated on the inner workings of his own psyche. His past releases have been primarily scored by his own knotty production, but for his latest record, The Iceberg, he adopts more of a live band sound and dives head first into more political territory than its predecessors; it’s truly an album for the Trump era. For this show, the rapper will be joined by his band GOOD COMPNY and soulful D.C. singer-songwriter Olivier St. Louis.
MAM After Dark @ Milwaukee Art Museum, 7 p.m.
Each month, the Milwaukee Art Museum rounds up an eclectic array of entertainment for its MAM After Dark events, and May’s lineup is no exception. This month’s event sets its sights on Summerfest, which is sponsoring the evening and giving guests the chance to compete for what the festival describes as “an epic prize package” by participating in various activities throughout the night. Guests will have a chance to take in the museum’s “Milwaukee Collects” exhibit during its final weekend and to enjoy music from Ian & The Dream, DJ Shawna and WMSE’s Those Hip-Hop Guys. There will also be team trivia and a prix fixe meal in the museum’s Café Calatrava Lounge (reservations required).
Bonobo w/ Jeremy Sole @ Turner Hall
Ballroom, 8 p.m.
On his earliest albums, British producer Bonobo helped predict some of the dominant sounds of electronic music in the ’00s, and recent records have found him more on the pulse than ever. His bright, inviting 2013 effort, The North Borders, was his most commercially successful yet, and his latest, this January’s Migration, is even poppier and more accessible, especially on collaborations with Rhye and Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters. At this show, Bonobo will perform with a full band.
Saturday, May 20
R. Mutt w/ Stereoactive @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
R. Mutt have been kicking around the Milwaukee rock scene for nearly three decades now, and while plenty of fads have come and gone during that time, the group’s gimmick-free rock ’n’ roll remains much the same as it was during their very first shows around the Marquette University campus in the late-’80s. For this show, the group will celebrate the vinyl release of their fifth and latest collection of driven rock music, The Dash, which they recorded with producer Kevin Blackwell.
Sunday, May 21
Twin Peaks Party @ Riverwest Public House, 6 p.m.
Unless your internet connection has been down for the last couple of years, you’re probably aware that David Lynch’s revolutionary cult TV show “Twin Peaks” has returned, after a quarter century, for a new season on Showtime this month. The series’ most diehard Milwaukee fans will celebrate that return with this free event, which will include a performance from a Twin Peaks-Angelo Badalamenti cover band called Leo Johnson & the New Shoes and a Twin Peaks-inspired burlesque performance ahead of the 8 p.m. screening of the show’s season premiere. There will also be a dessert potluck, so bring a pie or irrationally large spread of donuts to share.
Monday, May 22
Justin Townes Earle w/ The Sadies and Sammy Brue @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30
Named after the great Townes Van Zandt, Justin Townes Earle shares two things in common with his songwriting father Steve Earle: a deep love of American music and a history of addiction. On past albums, Earle has proven the amazing things he can do with little more than just an acoustic guitar and some pedal-steel accompaniments, but for his new record, Kids in the Street, he broadens his scope, turning up the volume with the help of Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis. The record draws heavily from the spirit of rockabilly, Memphis soul and Western swing music.
Tuesday, May 23
Perfume Genius w/ serpentwithfeet @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
The solo alias of Seattle performer Mike Hadreas, Perfume Genius first turned heads with his 2010 debut for Matador Records, Learning, a collection of emotionally fragile bedroom pop. From there, Hadreas’ sound has grown bigger and bolder and, somehow, even more devastating. His fourth and latest, No Shape, is his best yet—an often euphoric exploration celebration of love and resilience that draws heavily from the art-pop of predecessors like Kate Bush and David Bowie. Hadreas still takes his songs to some dark places, but this time he returns from that darkness with some truly jubilant payoffs. Expect to see this record all over year-end lists in December.