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This Week in Milwaukee: Nov. 24-30

Nov. 22, 2016
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Friday, Nov. 25
MELT @ Quarters Rock N Roll Palace, 9 p.m.
For years, the long-running MELT (Milwaukee Electronic & Experimental Music) series has offered music fans a gateway into Milwaukee’s vast but largely underexposed experimental music scene. The future of the series was uncertain for much of the year after event creator The Demix announced that he was putting MELT on indefinite hiatus, but the series looks to pick up where it left off with this bill, which features a typically eclectic assortment of DJs and producers. Pressboard and Hot Science will both perform live hardware sets, while Victor Orozco and Max Holiday will do vinyl DJ sets. As always, The Demix will perform as well. Cover is $5.

The R&B Cadets w/ SistaStrings, 8 p.m.
The R&B Cadets’ original run lasted only six years in the early ’80s, but it’s difficult to overstate how much of an impact they had on the Milwaukee music scene. The group served as a launching pad for some of the city’s most prominent musicians, including John Sieger (who went on to form Semi-Twang), singer Robin Pluer and Paul Cebar, who went on to lead the Milwaukeeans and Tomorrow Sound. Last year, the group delighted fans with a long-awaited reunion show at Shank Hall. This year they’ll perform two of them on Friday and Saturday nights. These shows aren’t entirely about nostalgia, though. They’ll be joined on the bill by one of the city’s most original new acts, SistaStrings, a duo that blends classical, soul and chamber pop music. (Also Saturday, Nov. 26.)

Tamarack Reunion @ Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co., 7 p.m.
For Milwaukee music fans under 40, the word “Tamarack” probably won’t mean much, but older musicians fondly recall the venue: a jumping Downtown tavern that served as a hub of the local blues scene in the late ’80s. Last year around this time, a slew of Tamarack regulars came together for a concert at Anodyne Coffee to pay tribute to their old stomping grounds. They may have started a tradition because this year they’re doing it again. The lineup features some of the city’s most prominent blues veterans, including Leroy Airmaster, Steve Cohen, Greg Koch, Bill Stone, Marc Wilson, Junior Brantley, Stokes, Milwaukee Slim and many more.

Sunday, Nov. 27
Jim James w/ Twin Limb @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
Certainly the hair and the beard have something to do with it, but there’s always been something messiah-like about My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, who looks as if he could’ve had a great career as some kind of cult leader if he hadn’t decided to dedicate his life to rock ’n’ roll. James’ first solo album, 2013’s Regions of Light and Sound of God doubled down on the spiritual mysticism that shades his best work with My Morning Jacket, and his new sophomore solo effort Eternally Even is even more intriguingly psychedelic, drawing from trip-hop, soul, prog-rock and world music.

Found Footage Festival @ The Back Room at Colectivo, 7 p.m.
Ever wonder what’s on all those old video tapes you occasionally find at thrift shops and rummage sales? For more than a decade, comedians and Wisconsin natives Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher have been digging through whatever VHS tapes they can get their hands on, amassing promotional and instructional videos never intended for mass audiences and recordings of bizarre public access shows. They whittle down those finds into their annual Found Footage Festival, screening gut-busting clips for disbelieving live audiences while offering their own running commentary. Highlights of this year’s festival include a roundup of satanic panic videos from the ’80s and a whole bunch of old local news bloopers. The event will also include a preview of local filmmaker Mark Borchardt’s new documentary, U.F.O. Daze.

The Weepies @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Like so many independent acts that rose to prominence during the mid-’00s, the husband-wife duo The Weepies built their following (and earned some pocket change) in large part through licensing. Their songs have appeared in dozens of movies, commercials and TV shows, including “Scrubs,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Gossip Girl” and, of course, “Grey’s Anatomy.” In part because of singer Deb Talan’s breast cancer diagnosis, a five-year stretch separated the group’s 2010 album Be My Thrill and last year’s Sirens, yet they emerged from the health scare with one of their finest albums. It features performances from Pearl Jam’s Matt Chamberlain, Elvis Costello keyboardist Steve Nieve, King Crimson’s Tony Levin, David Bowie guitarist Gerry Leonard and many others. But at this acoustic show, Talan and her husband, Steve Tannen, will perform sans backing band.

Tuesday, Nov. 29
Children of Bodom w/ Abbath, Exmortus and Oni @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
As a general rule, the colder a region’s climate, the better the heavy metal that it produces. That’s certainly the case for Scandinavia and in particular Finland—home to one of the most acclaimed metal acts of the last couple of decades: Children of Bodom. Over nine inventive albums, the group has melded blackened riffs with an equally dark sense of humor. Their latest album was last year’s I Worship Chaos, their first since the departure of longtime guitarist Roope Latvala. To shake things up, the group recorded it in a warehouse instead of a traditional studio—and to judge from the resulting work, it must have been a very, very cold warehouse.

Wednesday, Nov. 30
Dosh / Sample & Fold and Chris Weller @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m
Anticon Records is still best known as a hip-hop label, but there’s nary a trace of hip-hop in the label’s longtime recording artist Dosh, an ambient multi-instrumentalist from Minneapolis. Dosh’s 2008 album Wolves and Wishes featured guest contributions from artists as disparate as Andrew Bird, Fog and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and the artist has a long history with at least two of the three: He’s toured and recorded with both Fog and Bird, co-writing chunks of Bird’s album Armchair Apocrypha. Left to his own devices, he sometimes dabbles in Philip Glass territory. Dosh’s most recent solo album, 2013’s Milk Money, includes “Legos,” a 25-minute performance piece he wrote for a performance with Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche.

Oak Ridge Boys @ Milwaukee Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Musical groups with a long history often have a colorful backstory to go with it, but few bands can tell a tale quite like the Oak Ridge Boys, the country music vocal quartet whose roots are intertwined with those of the atomic bomb. The group, founded in Knoxville, Tenn., began in 1943 as gospel singers Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers. Their most popular venue was the nuclear research plant at Oak Ridge, Tenn., placed off limits by the U.S. military due to experiments that led to the invention of the atomic bomb. Staff members and their families, restricted to the facility, welcomed the group so often that they changed their name to the Oak Ridge Quartet. Generations later, the group is still going strong. Without straying too far from their gospel roots, current members Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban have expanded the group’s following among country and bluegrass fans. Expect them to draw from their many Christmas albums at this “Christmas Celebration” show.


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