Jan. 29 - Feb. 4
This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, Jan. 29
The Paul Collins Beat w/ Gentleman Jesse and His Men @ Club Garibaldi, 10 p.m.
The Paul Collins Beat—an American group once known simply as The Beat until the British band of the same name created brand confusion, forcing the change—was one of the lucky late-’70s power-pop bands granted a critical reappraisal. Though the band’s songwriting never matched The Knack, The Buzzcocks and The Only Ones, their peppy, hooky records captured the spirit of the era as perfectly as just about any other act, and young audiences now herald The Beat’s records as rediscovered treasures. Collins still tours and records with his Beat, and his new albums hold up surprisingly well against his old ones. His latest, Ribbon of Gold, is rife with the same youthful melodies that fueled The Beat’s early work.
Curumin @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
Sao Pao musician Luciano Nakata Albuquerque, better known by his stage name Curumin, brings with him an instrument Milwaukee rarely sees at live concerts: a Cavaquinho. It’s a small, four-string guitar similar to a ukulele, prominent in Brazilian samba. The Cavaquinho carries the bulk of Curumin’s funky samba music, which earned Albuquerque a contract with Quannum Projects, the independent label of the hip-hop duo Blackalicious. Albuquerque, who sings in his native Portuguese, is in the United States for just nine shows as part of his tour behind Curumin’s second album, JapanPopShow.
Friday, Jan. 30
Mother Orchis @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
In an infamous, curiously “Twilight Zone”-like 1964 episode of “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” Barbara Barrie plays a woman called Mother Orchis who wakes up in a horrific dystopian future, where all men have died and a select handful of women must birth like queen bees to repopulate the planet. It’s revealed that the whole scenario was a dream brought on by a narcotic drug, but that doesn’t stop Barrie from going on a violent rampage to save society from the terrible future she envisioned. Milwaukee’s Mother Orchis is as psychedelic as you’d expect from a band that takes its name from that trippy tale, a quartet enamored with druggy classic rock and black metal.
Greg Koch, Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
There’s always a shelf of instructional books at music stores that teach everything from classical guitar to African drumming. If you’re looking to learn the blues, one of Greg Koch’s books might come in handy—he’s one of Milwaukee’s most visible blues guitarists. Koch usually shreds solo, but tonight he’s playing with the help of his band, Nation Sack, to better show off his slick, roaring licks.
Big Head Todd and The Monsters @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Like the Spin Doctors and Rustic Root, Big Head Todd and The Monsters were jam band before there was an organized jam scene, and while they played the music industry slot machine and scored some radio play, they did so at the expense of building a nationwide following on the road, where younger jam bands now make their living. The band still has loyal following around their native Colorado, though, and their early ’90s hits “Bittersweet” and “Broken Hearted Savior” continue to draw faithful old fans to their shows elsewhere. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign adopted one of their newer tracks, “Blue Sky,” as a campaign song, almost certainly because of its Barack Obama-ish chorus: “Yes, you can change the world.”
Saturday, Jan. 31
Lambs of Abortion w/ Droids Attack @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
It must be tough to be Lambs of Abortion, a paranoid Milwaukee band convinced that everyone’s out to get them. Republicans, Fox News, oil executives and Evangelical leaders are at the heart of the worldwide conspiracy that Lambs of Abortion dutifully try to untangle with their raw-throated punk, a country-tinted throwback to second-wave punk acts like The Descendents, Rites of Spring and The Vandals (early Vandals, that is).
Brief Candles w/ Gospel Gossip @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Pairing a shoegazey squall with a polite, C86 jangle and sweet, Juliana Hatfield-esque vocals, Minneapolis’ Gospel Gossip distills many of the highlights of ’80s and ’90s college rock into a toe-tapping CliffsNotes version. The group is working on a follow-up to 2007’s darling Sing Into My Mouth, but in the meantime they return to our city to split another bill with The Brief Candles, Milwaukee’s premier shoegaze band, themselves long overdue for a new record.
Tuesday, Feb. 3
Ludo @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
St. Louis’ Ludo have worked their way up from Warped Tour B-listers to modern-rock radio B-listers, thanks to an expensive major-label debut crafted with Maroon 5 producer Matt Wallace. Wallace polished the band’s emo-punk predictably, packing the group’s My Chemical Romance-styled drama into tight, Killers-inspired pop songs, but he couldn’t gloss over the band’s fundamental lack of wit or songwriting chops. “Does the fun ever start?” frontman Andrew Volpe sings, so pleased with his play on words that you can almost feel his self-amused elbow jab you in the ribs. The answer for most will be, “no, it doesn’t.”
Wednesday, Feb. 4
BigBoned Comedy: “The Music Show” @ BBC, 9 p.m.
From Drew Carey to Kevin James, audiences have long held a soft spot for comedians who were a bit merrier in build, but Milwaukee’s BigBoned Comedy performances don’t just feature comedians who are on the pudgy side. Each BigBoned event revolves around a different theme. Past shows have examined celebrity or politics, but tonight’s is all about music. Featured guests include The Kentucky Prophet, a 500-pound comedic rapper who was briefly the music guru on Comedy Central’s forgotten game show, “Beat The Geeks.” Also on the bill are Chicagoan James Fritz and Milwaukeeans Nola J., Kyle Warras, Aaron Wagner and Arthur Hinty, as well as Mike Schank, the fried but benevolent American Movie sidekick who is also an avid guitarist.