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This Week in Milwaukee: Jan. 19-25, 2017

Jan. 17, 2017
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Thursday, Jan. 19
Riverwest FemFest @ Multiple Venues

Now in its third year, the ever-expanding Riverwest FemFest makes the case that one of the best ways to support women artists is to provide them with safe places to perform. Over its run from Wednesday, Jan. 18 to Sunday, Jan. 22, the fundraiser for Coalition for Justice, Pathfinders Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Women’s Center will feature dozens of musicians, poets and artists from Milwaukee and beyond. Highlights this year include music from Siren, Grasping at Straws, Heavy Hand, Fox Face, Sugar Ransom, The Kickstand Band, Faux Fiction, Sex Scenes, Zed Kenzo, Sin Bad, Caley Conway, and Mary Allen and the Percolators; spoken word from Freesia McKee, Jenna Knapp, Olivia Gillingham and Emma DeBord; performance art from Devin Settle; and an art exhibition at Groovy Dogg Gallery. On Saturday Company Brewing will hold a film showcase from noon to 2 p.m., featuring Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. The venue will also host a maker’s fair on Saturday and Sunday. For ticket information, the complete lineup and a streaming music compilation, visit rwfemfest.com.

Friday, Jan. 20
Art Garfunkel @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

Only the most insufferable contrarian would argue that Art Garfunkel was the true talent in the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, but it’s true that Paul Simon’s timeless songwriting too often overshadowed the important contributions of Garfunkel, a skilled musician in his own right. Unlike Simon, Garfunkel’s gift lay not in songwriting but in interpretation: His crystalline tenor lent depth to Simon’s commonplace prose, and has continued to breathe life into the various songs that he’s covered during his mostly low-key solo career. Garfunkel’s most recent album, the 2007 standards collection Some Enchanted Evening, featured the singer’s interpretations of classics including “I Remember You,” “Easy Living” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” but expect him to lean heavily on Simon & Garfunkel standards at this performance.

Planes Mistaken for Stars w/ Deadset and Estates @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.
Though they didn’t always have the sales to match their acclaim, Planes Mistaken for Stars were one of the most respected and creative bands from the early ’00s post-hardcore boom, finding consistently original ways to fuse hardcore, metal and emo into something that hadn’t been done hundreds of times before. The band called it quits in 2007, and even after they reunited in 2010 for a run of sporadic tours they didn’t seem in any particular hurry to release new material. Last year a reunion album finally arrived, though, and it was worth the wait. Released on the metal label Deathwise, Planes Mistaken for Stars’ fourth proper studio album Prey finds the band in typically heavy form, while taking some surprising cues from the blustery sounds of ’70s classic rock.

Saturday, Jan. 21
What a Joke Fest Comedy Festival @ Puddler’s Hall, 8 p.m.

New York comedians Jenn Welch and Emily Winter created the mass-scale What a Joke comedy festival to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that’s likely to need all the help it can get during the Trump administration. Shows will take place this weekend in more than 20 cities around the country, including this one in Milwaukee organized by comedians Tyler Menz, Greg Bach and Patrick Tomlinson. Performers will include Addie Blanchard, Josh Ballew, Matt Filipowicz, Chicago’s Meg Indurti and Wisconsin ex-pat Nate Craig, who will be flying in from Los Angeles to headline this show at Puddler’s Hall, a Bay View bar with deep ties to the city’s labor movement. Tickets are $10, and all proceeds benefit the ACLU.

Frank Caliendo @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
There are comedians who can do much better impressions than Frank Caliendo—a lot of them—but few that can do quite as many quite so credibly. He claims well over a hundred impressions in his repertoire, among them guys like Charles Barkley, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Morgan Freeman and Jerry Seinfeld. That versatility made him one of the breakout stars of “MADtv” in the early ’00s, and his particularly astute John Madden imitation earned him a prominent spot on Fox’s “NFL Sunday,” where he made a name for himself doing impressions of the show’s panelists and sharing picks in character as celebrities like Donald Trump. We’re guessing that Trump impression is going to be serving him very well for the next few years.

The Wailers @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
The Wailers complemented Bob Marley’s reggae sound the same way that the J.B.s laid down the funk for James Brown, augmenting his voice with just the right groove and helping reggae’s most famous singer sell more than 250 million albums. After Marley’s death in 1981, the band carried on, releasing several studio albums, a slew of live albums and touring the world behind the hits that Marley made famous, including those collected in Marley’s hit posthumous compilation Legend. The band’s lineup has changed multiple times throughout the decades, but it’s always been anchored by original bassist Aston Barrett, who last year reunited many former members of the group. For this show, the band will be joined by a full bill that includes openers Recalcitrant, Spare Change Trio, The Dillweeds, Rust Belt and Mountains on the Moon, as well as music from WMSE’s DJ Robert G.

Stellar Spark Paint Wars w/ Deorro and Reggi and Piros @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Pity the janitors who have to clean up after these things. For their periodic Paint Wars parties at the Rave, Stella Spark Events floods the crowd with neon paint, making the venue look like the set of an early ’90s Nickelodeon game show. Headlining this big sloppy mess this time around will be Los Angeles DJ Deorro, an electro-house enthusiast who has collaborated with artists like Steve Aoki, Diplo, R3hab and Chris Brown on his recent singles. Expect him to bring his usual mammoth light show with him.

Well-Known Strangers w/ Jay Matthes and Sunspot @ Route 20 Outhouse, Sturtevant, 8:30 p.m.
Led by Betsy Ade, a former Wisconsin Area Music Industry Female Vocalist of the Year winner, the Racine band Well-Known Strangers look to heartland rock and the rootsier side of ’90s alternative music on their debut album Aligned, a record that plays up the contributions of cellist Sacia Jerome. If Natalie Merchant had tried to make an orchestral-minded roots rock record, it might sound something like this. The group will be joined by openers Jay Matthes and Sunspot for this album release show at Sturtevant’s Route 20 Outhouse.

Wednesday, Jan. 25
Sam Roberts Band w/ Hollerado @ The Back Room at Colectivo, 8 p.m.

It’s easy to imagine singer-songwriter Sam Roberts enduring the long Canadian winters of his youth by immersing himself in classic American rock records, finding an escape in the heartland rock of Bob Seger and Steve Miller and the power-pop of Big Star. These influences manifested themselves on Roberts’ early albums, including 2008’s Love at the End of World, and they’ve carried through his more expansive recent efforts with his Sam Roberts Band, including 2014’s more groove-oriented album Lo-Fantasy and their latest effort, TerraForm, which was co-produced by Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck. Roberts hasn’t made quite the same impact in America as he has in Canada, where he’s won six prestigious Juno Awards and topped the country’s album charts, but TerraForm should appeal to just about anybody who likes sophisticated, gimmick-free rock records.

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