This Week in Milwaukee: Dec. 22-28
Snoop Dogg @ The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m.
For the last 15 years Snoop Dogg has been such a ubiquitous personality, playing off his iconic, marijuana-breathing image in a run of movie cameos and TV appearancesâ€”most recently as the co-host of a high-concept cooking show with Martha Stewart (â€śMartha & Snoopâ€™s Potluck Dinner Partyâ€ť) that it can be easy to forget he still raps. While itâ€™s unlikely heâ€™ll ever top his 1993 debut Doggystyle, which stands along with Dr. Dreâ€™s The Chronic as one of the true masterpieces of rapâ€™s G-Funk era, Snoop has been on a surprising late-career hot streak lately, releasing a pair of satisfyingly funky new records: 2015â€™s Bush and this yearâ€™s Coolaid (both albums are much better than their titles). Apparently Snoopâ€™s old muses are speaking to him again, because heâ€™s now on the road behind his â€śPuff Puff Pass Tour 2,â€ť a spiritual sequel to a 2001 tour that inspired a documentary, joined by some fellow G Funk-era icons: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G, DJ Quik and Tha Dogg Pound, as well as Pomona City Movement and LBC Movement.
Friday, Dec. 23
Mark Waldoch w/ Testa Rosa and Klassik @ Boone & Crockett, 9 p.m.
Whether this is, in fact, the most wonderful time of the year is up for debate, but itâ€™s hard to argue that the holidays have a way of bringing out some powerful performances from some musicians. Milwaukee rock â€™nâ€™ roller Mark Waldoch and alternative-pop veterans Testa Rosa have each made their own contributions to the holiday songbook: Waldochâ€™s band, The Celebrated Workingman, wrote a song called â€śNo More Christmas Suicideâ€ť a few years back, while Testa Rosa recorded an entire EP of Christmas tracks back in their early days (itâ€™s still streaming on Bandcamp). Both acts are promising a festive evening of special holiday performances for this show, where theyâ€™ll be joined by Klassikâ€”the multi-talented Milwaukee rapper-producer-singer with a gift for fitting on nearly any bill. (The three acts will also tease some of their material at a special holiday version of Radio Milwaukeeâ€™s â€ś414 Liveâ€ť on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m. Unlike Friday nightâ€™s show, itâ€™ll be suitable for all ages and family friendly.)
Trolley w/ Ball Turret Gunners @ Linnemanâ€™s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
Itâ€™s a winning formula for any band: Do just one thing, and do it extraordinarily well. For the Milwaukee trio Trolley, that one thing is sweet, hooky, Big Star-inspired power-pop, and they do it as well as anybody in the city. In January, the group put out their fourth album, Caught in the Darkness, on the cult British indie label Sugarbush Records, and now theyâ€™ll bookend the year with this show celebrating its belated vinyl release.
De La Buena w/ Dâ€™Amato and SistaStrings @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
With their bright fusion of Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban music, the 10-piece ensemble De La Buena have long been one of Milwaukeeâ€™s quintessential summer bandsâ€”a staple of nearly every outdoor festival in the city. Every show they do in the winter is a welcome reminder of warmer times. For this show, theyâ€™ll be joined by a guest: guitarist Matthew Wilson, who will sit in with the usual group. They share the bill with Dâ€™Amato, a rapper who now lays claim to perhaps the most expansive live hip-hop show in the city, a remarkable spectacle packed with live strings and brass and backing vocals (his band is at times as large as De La Buenaâ€™s)â€”and the soul/classical fusion duo SistaStrings.
6th Annual Holiday Hip-Hop Benefit w/ Queen Tut, SoloSam, Taj Raiden and Dad @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
Hip-hop has always had a place on the Cactus Clubâ€™s concert calendar, but 2016 was the year that the venue really doubled down on the genre, hosting a variety of unique showcases. Itâ€™s fitting, then, that it ends the year with two more. On Thursday, Dec. 22, upcominghiphop.net hosts an ugly sweater party featuring five area rap acts, including one of Milwaukeeâ€™s most underrated rappers, AR Wesley. On Friday, the venue hosts this bill benefiting the Arte Para Todos festival and Milwaukee Public Schoolâ€™s arts programs. Itâ€™s headlined by Queen Tut, whose form-defying hip-hop draws from soul, psychedelia and jazz.
Monday, Dec. 26
The Delta Routine w/ Timothy Charles and the Blind Fiction @ Linnemanâ€™s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
Could this be the start of a new tradition for Milwaukeeâ€™s Delta Routine? Last year, the rootsy rockers played a Dec. 26 show at Linnemanâ€™s Riverwest Inn, one of their many local haunts, and this year theyâ€™re back for another. Since Semi-Twang guitarist Mike Hoffman joined the band last year, the group has been playing some of their best shows yet. For this show, theyâ€™ll be joined by the rock trio Timothy Charles and the Blind Fiction, who made their live debut at Linnemanâ€™s back in January.