Rock Roundup

Everything But Natalie Merchant

Alas, Merchant cancelled her Pabst concert, but lots of other shows on tap this week.

By - Jul 21st, 2014 01:23 pm
Natalie Merchant. Photo from facebook.

Natalie Merchant. Photo from facebook.

This week’s top show was supposed to be Natalie Merchant performing at the Pabst Theater this Friday, and an earlier version of this column led with that concert. Whoops. Merchant has cancelled at least part of her tour due to illness and the Pabst announced today that the concert has been rescheduled for Wednesday, September 10th.

Customers can either use their tickets for the rescheduled date or receive a refund if unable to make the new performance. (If you have questions contact the Pabst box office at 414-286-3205 or online at

Meantime, there are four other shows worth checking out this week:

Tuesday, July 22: Panic! at the Disco at Rave

For being one of the most famous and infamous entertainment centers in the world, Las Vegas has produced remarkably few bands of note. The few that have made an impact outside Sin City have tended toward theatricality, and Panic! at the Disco is not unusual in that respect.

Still, under the glitter and pop-chart savvy of its latest full-length, 2013’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, Panic! expresses a wry emo-rock earnestness, courtesy mostly of singer Brandon Urie’s tuneful yammer. The band also comes across a little better live; again, that’s common enough in Vegas.

This is not the same song recently covered by the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, as you’ll thankfully find here:


Friday, July 25: The Blind Shake at Cactus Club

Last year, I saw the Blind Shake open for Redd Kross, and the Minneapolis trio not only added value to the price of admission but also poured rock noise into my ears until I pleasurably resigned myself to the early death of my finer hearing.

This time around, the Blind Shake is headlining, although I suspect the step up on the bill will neither lengthen its set by more than 20 minutes nor dampen its punk energy at all. Its latest disc, Key to a False Door, came out last September and has not used up its welcome among lovers of rock that stays simple and not stupid.

The GoPro camera justifies its existence:


Saturday, July 26: Hexis and Primitive Man at Cactus Club

When heavy metal evolved subgenres, nobody gave them names like “heavier metal”; no, they were called “speed metal” and “doom metal” and “black metal.” The last of these developed in England and Scandinavia and does sound like the result of long winters consumed by feelings of brooding brutality.

Black metal has spread from places like Copenhagen—home of Hexis, whose latest LP, Abalam, is a strangely concise series of hammer blows to the head—to Denver—home of Primitive Man, which shared a split release with Hexis and whose own catalog includes albums like Scorn and songs like “Suffering Brings Wisdom.”

Have fun, you crazy kids:


Sunday, July 27: Plain White T’s at German Fest

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Plain White T’s, a Chicago band whose pop-rock craft didn’t jump into the mainstream until the mid-2000s success of “Hey There Delilah,” a winsome ballad that has somehow survived too much airplay.

However, the real reason the band is on this list is because it’s one of the national acts inaugurating German Fest’s “Jams on Tap” usage of the BMO Harris Pavilion. The hope is that the festival will attract more and different demographics, and if it succeeds in doing so, other MKE event organizers will probably adopt the idea.

Funny, this doesn’t sound Teutonic:

0 thoughts on “Rock Roundup: Everything But Natalie Merchant”

  1. Anonymous says:

    UPDATE: The Natalie Merchant show has been postponed.

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