Pink, Paul Cebar, Worrier -- and Dave Begel? -- are headliners this week.
Along with the blank-slate promise of a new year, January brings with it many delightful gifts: dangerously frigid weather, soul-numbing depression, and booming business for the nation’s gyms and nicotine gum purveyors. Throughout the Midwest, January also comes complete with a gaping entertainment black hole, with many bands opting to stay inside their crummy (but warm) apartments instead of risking life, limb, and van in the crummy (but cold) outdoors. Happily, Milwaukee is the exception to the Midwest no-fun rule. Local bands throw caution to the wind chills and set up shop in local venues. Fans show up in snow-pants-clad droves and nod approvingly. Hell, some bands and fans even do their thing outside. (Check out Burnhearts’ 2nd annual outdoor Mittenfest February 8…if you dare.)
In keeping with this devil-may-care winter attitude, here are five reasons to leave the house this week and weekend, record-breaking sub-zero temperatures and labyrinthine winter parking rules that may as well be written in Wingdings be damned.
Thursday, January 9
Pink at BMO Harris Bradley Center
It would be easy to dismiss Pink as passé in the new gilded age of Miley Cyrus– and Kanye-style faux-outrage, but consider this: Pink’s double-platinum album “The Truth About Love” was the sixth best-selling album in the world in 2012, and the ongoing tour of the same name was the third best-selling tour of 2013. Who needs a semi-lecherous Robin Thicke grinding behind them with numbers like that? The Truth About Love tour (with special guests New Politics) finally comes to Milwaukee this Thursday, after being rescheduled from last November.
Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound at Turner Hall
Milwaukee native Paul Cebar is undoubtedly near the top of the shortlist of local treasures, right next to Bob Uecker and that sunglasses dude on Wisconsin Avenue. As frontman for Tomorrow Sound (and host of WMSE 91.7’s Way Back Home), Cebar has been injecting Milwaukee with bracing doses of crowd-pleasing soul, R&B, jump-blues, calypso, and just about anything else you can think of for decades. Part musician, part historian, part record collector, and part interpreter, Cebar is the rare artist that embodies his art through and through. Tonight, he and his band celebrate the release of their Kickstarter-funded new album, “Fine Rude Thing.” The ever-dependable blues-rockers of The Delta Routine open the show.
Friday, January 10
Worrier at Cactus Club
If new music released digitally and/or on vinyl isn’t your thing, you’re probably among the born-in-the-’90s crowd that is currently embracing one of music’s crummiest formats, the cassette. Yes, tapes are (still) (kind of) back, with Milwaukee bands ranging from The Delphines to Volcano Choir choosing to release their music on the formerly dead-and-unspooled format. Add to that list the fine folks in local glitchy dance-rock staple Worrier, who celebrate the release of a new cassette single (“cassingle,” if you’re nasty) at their Friday show. Soul Low, Kiings, and new group Piles open.
Saturday, January 11
Body Futures at Cactus Club
If you’ve ever sat awake at night and thought, “I wish more local bands had an autoharp,” you’re in luck. Milwaukee’s Body Futures bring that peculiar instrument and more to their geek-friendly, noisy-but-tuneful, anthemic power-pop. The group may be a relatively new name in town, but it’s stocked with plenty of Milwaukee music scene lifers, including IfIHadAHiFi drummer DJ Hostettler and former White Wrench Conservatory singer Dixie Jacobs. (Fun fact: They’re getting married soon!) Madison’s Droids Attack and Milwaukee’s Tigernite start the night off in style.
Saturday, January 11
Dave Begel’s 70th Birthday Bash at Linneman’s
Regular followers of Milwaukee media are likely familiar with Dave Begel and his oft-perplexing columns for OnMilwaukee.com. Whether it’s strip clubs (“I want to talk about my strip club experience, which is fairly vast,”) the awfulness of women’s basketball, strip clubs (“Let me start by saying I have been in strip clubs in big cities and small towns,”) the awfulness of pit bulls, or strip clubs (“I have been in strip clubs in probably 30 states and at least six or seven countries,”) Begel’s sometimes-baffled, sometimes-baffling think-pieces place him squarely between Andy Rooney and Andy Kaufman. Tonight, Begel celebrates his 70th birthday by strapping on a guitar and playing some tunes on stage for the very first time. Happy birthday, Dave. Hopefully the city gets you a downtown strip club soon.