September 24 - September 30
This Week in Milwaukee
Friday, Sept. 25
Donnis w/ DJ Benzi @ Hot Water/Wherehouse, 10 p.m.
Debut mixtapes don’t get much better than Donnis’ recent Diary of an ATL Brave, a stunning introduction to the charismatic upstart Atlanta rapper featuring some of the catchiest production that city has to offer. Perhaps the most head-turning debut since Kid Cudi’s breakthrough A Kid Named Cudi, ATL Brave has made Donnis an instant star in the hip-hop blogosphere. Donnis splits tonight’s bill with another favorite of the rap mixtape circuit, DJ Benzi, who’s been responsible for a slew of must-download mixes, including last year’s phenomenal Fear & Loathing in Hunts Vegas with Diplo and this year’s Get Right Radio: Summer 2009 mix with Chester French.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony w/ R.E.D. 44 @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Since their rapid-fire, tongue-twisting verses and ultra-smooth choruses made them the biggest stars to emerge out of Ohio in the mid-’90s (outside, perhaps, of Drew Carey), Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have had a notoriously rocky career, falling out of commercial favor for long periods at a time while enduring difficult lineup changes. But following the commercial and critical comeback of 2007’s Strength & Loyalty, a great record that found the rappers racing against propulsive, kinetic Southern-rap beats, the group has been in a good place. Now they’re set to release a new album, The World’s Enemy, that against the odds returns to the fold wayward members Flesh-N-Bone (the incarcerated one) and Bizzy Bone (the difficult one).
Manhattan Short Film Festival @ The Times Cinema, 7 p.m.
In the span of a single week, between Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, the Manhattan Short Film Festival program will screen 532 times at cinemas in 173 cities spread across five continents. Thanks to the Times Cinema, Milwaukee will be among them, joining audiences around the world in enjoying a similarly international group of shorts. Whittled down from 428 entries, the 10 films showing tonight represent some of the best short filmmaking the world has to offer, including Sandy Widyanata’s Plastic and Jeremy Clapin’s animated film Skhizein.
Saturday, Sept. 26
Kings of Leon w/Glasvegas @ The Bradley Center, 8 p.m.
Despite the band’s distinctly American Southern-rock roots, Kings of Leon has long been more popular in the United Kingdom than the United States. But after an aggressive push marketing the group as the next U2, or at the very least a recession-era Pearl Jam, that’s beginning to change, and last year the group cracked American charts with the sky-scraping album Only by the Night and its hit singles, “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody.” American tastemakers scoffed at the disc, but overseas media showered it with acclaim, deeming it the band’s—and one of the year’s—best. Just last year the group was playing club-sized venues like The Rave; on this latest tour the group is playing arenas like The Bradley Center.
Malicious w/ Steddy P and Speak Easy @ The Highbury Pub, 10 p.m.
The veteran Milwaukee rap act Malicious has been at it, in some form or another, since the mid- ’90s. Their easy, headnodding beats and the good-cop, bad-cop dynamic between lyricists T.R.E. and Kimma-J still bear the stamp of that decade, evoking classic duos like Smif-N-Wessun and Camp Lo. Tonight the group hosts the 19th installment of their Drunk’n Cipher concert series, which will also double as the release party of their latest album, Chasing Perfection.
Love Sounds w/ DJs Andy Noble and Frank Straka @ Mad Planet, 10 p.m.
With its thinly concealed racism and homophobia, the old rockist axiom “Disco Sucks” crept into the American popular consciousness through repetition, coloring disco music as bland and superficial, despite the genre’s rich roots in funk. Thankfully, as modern dance music has grown more fertile, disco is enjoying a reappraisal. Enter local DJs Andy Noble and Frank Straka, whose “Love Sounds” night promises a mix of classic disco, soul and boogie (as well as $1 PBRs until midnight).
Pedal Pusher Prom @ Stonefly Brewery, 10 p.m.
Most events held by the Pedal Pusher Society have a strict no-guys policy, but tonight the women and transgender bike club opens its doors to men for its second annual Pedal Pusher Prom, a dance modeled after traditional highschool formals, only with the glorious addition of alcohol. DJs Shouty and Superman provide the music; raffle prizes and a kissing booth provide the conversation. Part of the proceeds from the prom goes to PEARLS, a Brewer’s Hill nonprofit assisting at-risk girls.
Son Volt @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.
Rising from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo (the same seminal alt-country group that gave rise to Wilco), Son Volt is the brainchild of guitarist-songwriter Jay Farrar. After a three-album run in the 1990s, Farrar shelved the group to focus on solo work, but by 2004 he had begun to miss the give-and-take of being in a band. Re-forming with a new lineup, Son Volt has been prolific, releasing three albums in four years. Live, expect the kind of hardscrabble Americana imagery and raw rock found on their latest disc, American Central Dust.
Sunday, Sept. 27
Built to Spill @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Along with Pavement, Built to Spill was one of the most important indie-rock bands of the ’90s and laid the groundwork for bands like Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and Modest Mouse with a string of masterful guitar-pop albums. This decade has seen the Boise, Idaho, band’s studio productivity slow to a crawl as the group honed its chops on the road, jamming new life into its existing songbook, but next month the band releases its latest album, There Is No Enemy, which balances short and sweet autumnal pop songs with heavier, more brooding jams, most of which should kill live.
Ralph Nader @ Boswell Book Co., 5 p.m.
In the novel Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, consumer-rights-activist turned beloved-by-the-left-presidential-candidate turned reviled-by-the-left-presidential-candidate Ralph Nader imagines a world where, distraught by America’s woes after Hurricane Katrina, 17 of its richest, most powerful people convene and decide to use their fortune to change the world for the better. The book’s title may sound bitingly sarcastic, but Nader truly believes its premise: If the nation’s powerful were to use their time and wealth generously, he argues, they could effect real change. Nader reads from the book this evening.
Monday, Sept. 28
Capgun Coup @ Sugar Maple, 8 p.m.
Spawned by the fertile basement scene of Omaha, Neb., Capgun Coup specializes in ramshackle noise-pop indebted to early Bright Eyes. It’s not too surprising, then, that the group is signed to Conor Oberst’s label, Team Love. This November, the group will release its sophomore shot of piss and vinegar, Maudlin, which they recorded live-to-tape with Bright Eyes’ A.J. Mogis. Like the band’s 2007 debut, Brought to You by Nebraskafish, the album compensates for its rawness with genuine, youthful enthusiasm.
Wednesday, Sept. 30
Sea Wolf w/ Port O’Brien and Sara Lov @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
a Wolf,” a lovely tune from the California indie-folk ensemble Sea
Wolf, caught the ears of anyone who heard the group’s distinguished
2007 full-length debut, Leaves in the River. Thanks to television, it
also caught the ears of anyone who saw last year’s Chevrolet Malibu
commercial during the Olympics. With producer Mike Mogis, the group
dishes out similarly symphonic chamber-folk on its latest album, White
Water, White Bloom, which was released this week. Sea Wolf shares
tonight’s bill with singer-songwriter Sara Lov and Port O’Brien, an
indie-Americana ensemble that includes members of Two Gallants and