This Week in Milwaukee: Aug. 10-16, 2017
This week’s big festivals include celebrations of folk, fiddles, the blues and, yes, dragons.
Thursday, Aug. 10
Marika Hackman w/ The Big Moon @ The Back Room at Colectivo, 8 p.m.
Model-turned-musician Marika Hackman might surprise you with her résumé. Since forming a cover band with actress and supermodel Cara Delevingne when the pair were just 14 and modeling for Burberry in her early 20s, Hackman has made a serious come-up as a solo musician. She toured with Laura Marling, Alt-J and The 1975 before she even released her first full-length—the broody, electro-folk album We Slept at Last. Her sophomore effort, out earlier this year, veers away from Hackman’s previous folk leanings and right into alt-rock territory. I’m Not Your Man features her usual velvety crooning and twisted thematic undertones, as well as vocal and instrumental backing from London group The Big Moon, who join Hackman on her North American tour this summer.
Ron Funches @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Ron Funches has amassed success in a variety of comedic mediums over the past couple of years, making memorable appearances on late night shows, chalking up writing credits on “The Eric Andre Show” and doing voiceover work for the Trolls movie series. His brand of comedy speaks as much to his rough upbringing in Chicago as it does to his natural oddball personality (he named his latest standup tour Funch-a-Mania, in reference to his lifelong love of wrestling). You can read our interview with Funches at shepherdexpress.com.
Friday, Aug. 11
Fiddle Fest 2.0 @ Anodyne Coffee Walker’s Point Roastery & Cafe, 8 p.m.
For the second year in a row, Anodyne Coffee is hosting a unique Milwaukee festival celebrating all things that fiddle. This year’s three acts will each showcase a distinct violin style: traditional Mariachi music from The Mariachi Panteras de Milwaukee, a rendition of Béla Bartók’s Solo Violin Sonata from Glenn Asch of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and cheerful gypsy swing music from Swing Chevron. Proceeds from the event will benefit Fresh Start Learning, Inc., a Milwaukee-based non-profit organization that helps victims of sex trafficking.
Waukesha Blues Fest @ Naga-Waukee Park, 1 p.m.
This two-day event is all about the “roots” of American music, honoring blues, rock ’n’ roll, folk, jazz, country, soul, gospel and every classic genre in between. Attendees are invited to enjoy all-day entertainment from local and national acts such as Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials, Charlie Musselwhite, The Paul Nelson Band, The Kinsey Report, Ana Popovic and many more. Grab tacos or smoked beef brisket from vendors Café Esperanza and Delafield Brewhaus between sets, or check out the local art available for purchase in the art tent, including photography, pottery, jewelry and fused glass. On-site camping is an option for those who want to party through the weekend.
Salaam @ Colectivo Lakefront Café, 6 p.m.
What’s better than relaxing on a lakefront patio, breeze blowing in your hair and a craft beer in your hand while you listen to live music? (Get back to us when you have an answer.) For the latest installment of Colectivo’s Live on the Lakefront Patio series, Indiana-based band Salaam will soundtrack an evening of world music built around a framework of Iraqi maqam—a musical genre with roots dating back at least 400 years. The trio enjoys putting new twists on the traditional genre, incorporating styles like rock, bluegrass and jazz to make the music their own. NPR’s “All Things Considered” described Salaam’s music as “[transposing] a genre of music few Americans are even aware of into a sonic realm that feels enchanting and exotic, while still strangely familiar.”
Tall Tales Music Festival @ Downtown Burlington
For five years running, Burlington has opened its doors to folk, rock, country and blues musicians from around the country for its Tall Tales Music Festival. This year’s free, two-day festival on the 200 block of East Chestnut Street will feature the Nashville acts Blank Range, Harpooner, Los Colognes, Liz Cooper and the Stampede and Coco Reilly, as well as Minneapolis’ J.E. Sunde, L.A.’s Wild Reeds, Kentucky’s Kelsey Waldon and many others, including a range of talent from Wisconsin. Other activities during the festival include a Saturday morning bike ride, a kids’ zone with bounce houses, a Friday night afterparty at the Liars’ Club Bar, and a Saturday ice cream social where attendees can meet some of the festival’s performers. For more details, visit talltalesfestival.com. (Through Saturday, Aug. 12.)
Saturday, Aug. 12
Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival @ Veteran’s Park, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
There will be live Chinese folk music. There will be delicious, authentic Asian food. And, most notably, there will be more than 45 teams (with 21 people on each team!) gliding full speed through the lagoon in hopes of winning Milwaukee’s fifth annual dragon boat race. Hosted by the Milwaukee Chinese Community Center, the Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival will shine light on Chinese culture, offering community members hands-on opportunities to learn about and participate in traditions like lantern making, the dragon parade, the Chinese language and, of course, the dragon boat race. The race has six divisions and is made up of a first round, a semi-final round and the championship round at the end of the day.
Kristin Diable @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
When Kristin Diable turned down a guaranteed spot on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2012, she had the purity of her art in mind. She didn’t want to sell out to the world of corporate music. She’s put a lot of hard work into her career since then, putting out two full-length albums that are exactly what she wanted them to be: unformulated, bluesy rock that both comes from and speaks to the heart. Her stripped-down performance at Shank Hall will feature her on guitar with backup from a drummer and keyboardist. Attendees can expect a mix of her own material and some songs by other artists like Nina Simone (her favorite musician) and J.J. Cale; she recently released a cover of “Magnolia” by the latter.
Tuesday, Aug. 15
Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings @ Charles Allis Art Museum, 7:30 p.m.
The American songbook is a far zanier collection than people often think of it as. The quintet Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings revisit some of the more colorful entries from that songbook, playing up the whimsy in old tunes from the wax-cylinder era with an emphasis on music from the 1890s to the 1930s. They’ll play two 40-minute sets at this event at the Charles Allis Art Museum. Expect lots of ukulele and sound effects that could have come right out of an old-time radio show.
Wednesday, Aug. 16
Charles McPherson @ Jazz Estate, 8 and 10 p.m.
Over the more than half century he’s spent in music, Charles McPherson has brushed shoulders with just about every jazz legend imaginable. In addition to his performances with the legendary Charles Mignus (with whom he recorded for more than a decade), the alto sax player has also collaborated with Art Farmer, Kenny Drew, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, while touring with greats like Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie and Nat Adderley. In recent years, he primarily leads his own band as he continues to expand on the bebop that’s always been at the core of his music.