January 27-February 1
Screaming females, band fundraisers, and Groundhog Day goodness.
In 1993’s Groundhog Day, Bill Murray sums up winter thusly: “It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” Murray’s character was dealing with an existential crisis of…wait a minute. Haven’t we done this before? Something seems strangely familiar about all this. Is that “I Got You Babe” playing on the clock radio again? Weird.
Anyway, Groundhog Day is this week and there are 8,000 things going on in Milwaukee, so let’s get to it.
Screaming Females at Cactus Club
There’s only one screaming female in Screaming Females—singer-guitarist Marissa Paternoster—but this New Jersey trio lives up to its hysteric moniker in nearly every other sense. Aggressive, melodic, and unafraid to indulge in some Nicki Minaj-esque vocal histrionics, Screaming Females have been giving post-rock a bracing shot of vitality for nearly a decade. 2012’s Steve Albini-produced Ugly was one of the best records of the year, and last year’s Chalk Tape EP continues the band’s winning streak by tossing in the occasional acoustic strummer. Tenement and Rio Turbo open this can’t-miss show.
Wednesday, January 29
Lord Huron at Pabst Theater
Just when you thought it was safe to step outside and not bump into a band dressed like it once had a residency at an old-timey photo booth in Wisconsin Dells, along comes Lord Huron. Yes, the group is another in a long line of Fleet Foxes/Mumford & Sons clones, with all the sweet harmonies and sweeter suspenders one would expect. What’s unexpected, however, is the band’s popularity. 2012’s undeniably pretty Lonesome Dreams must have made quite the impression on Milwaukee, seeing that tonight’s show was bumped from Turner Hall to the Pabst due to overwhelming demand.
Thursday, January 30 – Friday, January 31
Winger at Potawatomi Casino
Anyone who spent a significant chunk of the late ‘80s hanging out in bowling alleys will be more than familiar with Winger. “Seventeen” and “Headed For A Heartbreak” were inescapable hair-metal staples back in the day, perfect for tight-rolling your pants, fiddling with your rat tail, and 33 Other Things Only ‘80s Kids Will Remember. Tonight, Winger kicks off a two-night stint at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater, where the sounds of a casino will provide an acceptable substitute for the sounds of a bustling bowling alley.
Friday, January 31 – Saturday, February 1
Benefit for Direct Hit! At Riverwest Public House
Last December, Milwaukee punk band Direct Hit! found itself facing the one thing all bands dread: a stolen van. The group’s ride was jacked in Detroit (insert Detroit joke here), and the band lost all of its equipment, all of its tour money, and various personal items. Making things worse, the group had lost nearly $15,000 worth of equipment to a fire earlier that year. But while the universe clearly has something against Direct Hit!, Milwaukee does not: Two shows at the Riverwest Public House this weekend aim to help get the band back on its feet. Friday night features Heavy Hand, Lamb’s Legs, Soup Moat, and Midwives; Saturday night features Enabler and The Revenge Society. A $5 cover is suggested for each show—which, let’s be honest, is the least you can do for one of Milwaukee’s best (and, sadly, unluckiest) bands.
Saturday, February 1
Christopher Porterfield at Linneman’s
Field Report’s 2012 self-titled debut album is one of those records that will inevitably define Milwaukee for the next decade or so. Wounded, searching, and ultimately hopeful, it nicely captures a life in transition—or, if you like, a city in transition. Past solo sets from Field Report frontman Christopher Porterfield at Linneman’s have been jaw-droppingly great; expect nothing less tonight, when Simon Balto and Hello Death’s Marielle Allschwang join the singer for an intimate night of intimate music.
Saturday, February 1
Mount Salem at Harley-Davidson Museum
Mount Salem’s 2012 Endless EP opens with audio of Charles Manson dropping his usual Manson-esque pearls of wisdom. (“I’m the king, man! I run the underworld, guy!”) That would typically tell you all you need to know about Mount Salem’s dark, booming, and dressed-all-in-black music. But the group sets itself apart from the doom-rock crowd thanks to singer-organist Emily Kopplin, who brings a sinister gothic purr to the sludgy proceedings. Tonight, the Chicago band performs during the after-party for the Living Lost photography exhibit at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Living Lost features the work of Josh Kurpius, who embarked on a series of cross-country road trips on his chopped 1977 Harley.
Saturday, February 1
The Fatty Acids at Mad Planet
Just in case you didn’t have enough live-music options for Saturday night, one of Milwaukee’s most popular bands—The Fatty Acids—teams up with two other local favorites—Kane Place Record Club and Soul Low. These groups need no introductions, though it should be noted that soon-to-be-departed Fatty Kurt Raether and his Honeycomb Productions will provide a video remix of Groundhog Day throughout the show. Weird. Didn’t we just read something about that movie…?