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This Week in Milwaukee: Dec. 22-28

Dec. 20, 2016
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Thursday, Dec. 22
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 appearances—most recently as the co-host of a high-concept cooking show with Martha Stewart (“Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”) that it can be easy to forget he still raps. While it’s unlikely he’ll ever top his 1993 debut Doggystyle, which stands along with Dr. Dre’s The Chronic as one of the true masterpieces of rap’s G-Funk era, Snoop has been on a surprising late-career hot streak lately, releasing a pair of satisfyingly funky new records: 2015’s Bush and this year’s Coolaid (both albums are much better than their titles). Apparently Snoop’s old muses are speaking to him again, because he’s now on the road behind his “Puff Puff Pass Tour 2,” 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 it’s hard to argue that the holidays have a way of bringing out some powerful performances from some musicians. Milwaukee rock ’n’ roller Mark Waldoch and alternative-pop veterans Testa Rosa have each made their own contributions to the holiday songbook: Waldoch’s band, The Celebrated Workingman, wrote a song called “No More Christmas Suicide” a few years back, while Testa Rosa recorded an entire EP of Christmas tracks back in their early days (it’s still streaming on Bandcamp). Both acts are promising a festive evening of special holiday performances for this show, where they’ll be joined by Klassik—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 Milwaukee’s “414 Live” on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m. Unlike Friday night’s show, it’ll be suitable for all ages and family friendly.)

Trolley w/ Ball Turret Gunners @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
It’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 they’ll bookend the year with this show celebrating its belated vinyl release.

De La Buena w/ D’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 Milwaukee’s quintessential summer bands—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, they’ll be joined by a guest: guitarist Matthew Wilson, who will sit in with the usual group. They share the bill with D’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 Buena’s)—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 Club’s concert calendar, but 2016 was the year that the venue really doubled down on the genre, hosting a variety of unique showcases. It’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 Milwaukee’s most underrated rappers, AR Wesley. On Friday, the venue hosts this bill benefiting the Arte Para Todos festival and Milwaukee Public School’s arts programs. It’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 @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
Could this be the start of a new tradition for Milwaukee’s Delta Routine? Last year, the rootsy rockers played a Dec. 26 show at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, one of their many local haunts, and this year they’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, they’ll be joined by the rock trio Timothy Charles and the Blind Fiction, who made their live debut at Linneman’s back in January.

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