This Week in Milwaukee: May 25-31, 2017
Two huge casts of Milwaukee musicians come together to pay tribute to John Lennon and Bob Dylan at some of this week’s many fundraisers for great causes.
Thursday, May 25
Wildhoney w/ Calliope and Haunter @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
For a band influenced by the fast, aggressive energy of ’80s post-punk, Wildhoney are shamelessly pop-forward. Their fuzzed-out guitar parts invite frequent comparisons to shoegaze bigwigs like Cocteau Twins, Stereolab and My Bloody Valentine. Unlike typical shoegaze, though, Wildhoney’s tunes are melody-driven and accentuated by vocals that stick—these are songs you can actually sing along to. If their performance Thursday matches the vigor of their studio tracks, you’ll get some head-banging in at the very least. Milwaukee acts Calliope and Haunter open.
Friday, May 26
Travis Scott w/ Khalid @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Whether or not you’re familiar with rapper-producer Travis Scott, you’ve likely heard his work before. In addition to topping charts in 2016 with his sophomore effort, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, which features collaborations with Young Thug, The Weeknd and Toro y Moi, among others, Scott has produced tracks for music industry gods like Kanye West and Rihanna. He’s in the middle of what’s been an eventful tour. Earlier this month, he was arrested after an Arkansas concert for disorderly conduct, inciting a riot and endangering the welfare of a minor; then on Sunday, he set a world record for performing the same song, “Goosebumps,” a mind-numbing 15 times in a row, breaking Kanye West and Jay Z’s old record (they once played a song 12 times in a row).
WebsterX w/ Milwaukee Medley @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
With his sputtery, expressive flow and ear for cloudy, psychedelic beats that make up their own rules as they go along, WebsterX has been one of Milwaukee’s most distinctive rappers for a while now. This spring, he released his debut album, Daymares, through the Chicago label Closed Sessions (home to acts like Jamila Woods, Kipp Stone and Kweku Collins). It’s the perfect showcase for his anxious, moody raps and an early frontrunner for Milwaukee rap album of the year. For this belated release show, he’s rounded up a huge cast of local rappers he’s calling Milwaukee Medley—featuring Boodah Darr, Klassik, Zed Kenzo, Mic Kellogg, Munch Lauren, Kane and Taj Raiden.
Laurel & the Love-In w/ Dead Fortune and Pistols at Dawn @ Up & Under Pub, 10 p.m.
Nashville groove masters Laurel & the Love-In want to kick off your summer with some heartfelt soul. The group’s latest album, Don’t Love Nobody, certainly has the potential to soundtrack a night of dancing and debauchery—its old-timey, rock ’n’ roll vibes are instantly familiar and warm, but pack a Southern punch in the same vein as Alabama Shakes. They’re joined on this bill by Milwaukee’s Dead Fortune and Pistols at Dawn.
Stooki Sound w/ Joker, Siphonic and Essence @ The Miramar Theater, 9 p.m.
The global trap scene is in the midst of rapid evolution, as artists have taken to fusing Southern rap music with electronica to create a subgenre of remixes. London electronic duo Jelacee and DJ Lukey, otherwise known as trap aces Stooki Sound, are at the forefront of this trend. Stooki Sound’s take on trap is backboned by bass-heavy, electronic dance beats designed to make crowds wild out. The duo even has a song called “Life’s a Mosh Pit” and has been known to join in on the moshing at their shows.
Saturday, May 27
Blonde on Blonde’ Revisited: Bob Dylan 76th Birthday Tribute @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 8:30 p.m.
Each year, Linneman’s Riverwest Inn hosts a handful of fundraising shows paying tribute to some of rock’s great songwriters. This weekend alone it’ll host two: On Saturday, John Sieger, Peter Roller, Chrissy Dzioba, Matt Davies, Devil Met Contention and others will perform one of Bob Dylan’s most beloved albums, Blonde on Blonde, for a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. On Sunday, the venue will host its annual “Peace Through Music” John Lennon tribute, where a massive cast including The Cavewives, Acoustic Blu, Sam Llanas, The Fatty Acids, The Hanson Family, I’m Not A Pilot, Grasping at Straws, Mike Plaisted, Litmus Vinyl, The Tritonics, The Fainting Room, Myles Coyne and many others will raise money for Wisconsin’s Anti-Violence Effort.
Milwaukee Punk Fest Presents: “These Doors Stay Open” @ The Local, 5 p.m.
“These Doors Stay Open” is the second show in a series of four intended to help Milwaukee Punk Fest raise $5,000 for Planned Parenthood throughout ’17. While it is advertised as a show, the event is really more of a festival—its two stages will feature 13 punk acts from around Wisconsin and Michigan, including Green Bay’s This is Gonna Tickle and Menominee’s Four 5 Dive. Guests can also enjoy an 1800s-style photo booth and food from the Filipino food truck Lumpia City.
Sunday, May 28
Tony Bennett w/ Antonia Bennett @ The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m.
As anybody who has ever seen VH1 knows, music history is packed with great comeback tales, but few have been more remarkable than Tony Bennett’s. Popular throughout the ’50s and ’60s, the pop and jazz crooner fell upon hard times commercially and personally in the ’70s as he struggled to contemporize his sound for rock audiences. Broke and rejected, he nearly died from a cocaine overdose in 1979. But he rehabilitated his image in the ’80s and by the ’90s was widely regarded as a national treasure—praised for reintroducing the classic American Songbook to younger audiences. Bennett celebrated his 85th birthday in triumph in 2011, as his Duets II album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, making him the oldest artist ever to reach that position. He repeated that achievement in ’14 with his collaborative record with Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek, netting him another Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
Vintage Car Show and Veterans Benefit @ Five O’Clock Steakhouse, noon-4 p.m.
Five O’Clock Steakhouse has organized this afternoon of cars and music to benefit two outstanding local veterans organizations: the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative and DryHootch Milwaukee. In addition to old cars, there will be prizes, a raffle, music from Sacred, NO/NO, Killer Clowns and Stories For Strangers. All guests who contribute the suggested donation of $20 will receive a $20 gift certificate for Five O’Clock Steakhouse in return.
Dan Whitaker & The Shinebenders and JP Cyr & The Midnightmen @ Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall, 2 p.m.
The South Side’s favorite concertina bar hosts this “Honky Tonk Matinee,” a daytime bill featuring a pair of lively, foot-stomping country acts. Dan Whitaker & The Shinebenders hail from Chicago, where for 16 years they’ve been putting a punky spin on some of Nashville’s signature sounds. Milwaukee’s JP Cyr & The Midnightmen draw from a similar pool of rockabilly, honky tonk and Western swing sounds. The bill runs from 2-6 p.m. and costs $8, so you can easily be home in time for dinner.
Tuesday, May 30
Vandoliers w/ Driveway Thriftdwellers @ Club Garibaldi, 8 p.m.
On their debut album, Ameri-Kinda, Texas alt-country revivalists Vandoliers paired ripping rock ’n’ roll with slick honky tonk tempos. Just a year later, they’ve returned with The Native, an album that further expands their sound to include all things Texas—from roadhouse rock to Western swing to Tejano. The songwriting is as indebted to the Lone Star State as the music, with songs about dive bars, pool halls, forgotten towns and the destinations that might lie beyond the vast spans of highway that line the state. The group is joined on this bill by Milwaukee country rockers Driveway Thriftdwellers.