Our fat-free, dolphin-safe Milwaukee calendar is chock-full of things to do, but only a handful of events contained therein are worthy of the lofty “Record Recommended” (patent pending) honor. Here are our recommendations for the week of March 21-27, 2016.
Monday, March 21
The Who + Tal Wilkenfeld @ BMO Harris Bradley Center
Back in 2014, in our recounting of the strange story of Tim “The Rock And Roll Animal”‘s quest to bring The Who to Milwaukee in 1982, we speculated that the legendary group would likely skip Milwaukee on its “goodbye” tour. We were close: A show scheduled for October 15, 2015 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center was postponed after frontman Roger Daltrey was diagnosed with viral meningitis. Happily, Daltrey is on the mend, and he and his band will finally bring their “The Who Hits 50!” show to the BMO Monday night.
Tuesday, March 22
WMSE Local/Live: Sat. Nite Duets + Myles Coyne, Tontine Ensemble, True SKOOL @ Club Garibaldi
Indespensible indie radio station WMSE is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Along with a punk resunion blowout at Turner Hall (see below) and a host of other events, the station will set up shop at Club Garibaldi Tuesday night for a stacked live edition of its wonderful Local/Live show. The three-hour show will feature performances from Sat. Nite Duets, Myles Coyne, and Tontine Ensemble, and a Q&A session moderated by hosts Erin Wolf and Cal Roach. Oh, and it’s free!
Juiceboxxx + Midnight Reruns, Zed Kenzo, Athletic Supply @ Riverwest Public House
Not only is this probably the most stylistically varied show lineups in Milwaukee this month, it’s also one of the best. Juiceboxxx returns to town for the first time since his raucous New Year’s Day breakfast show at High Dive, and he’ll be joined by Midnight Reruns, Zed Kenzo, and Athletic Supply (formerly Bleach Athletixx) for a can’t-miss show at Riverwest Public House.
Wednesday, March 23
The Midwest Beat + The Belle Weather @ Tonic Tavern
Believe it or not, The Midwest Beat has been around for over 10 years. During that lengthy tenure—in which the band has amassed four full-length albums—its sound has shifted, augmented, and developed considerably. 2014’s Free Of Being sees the veteran Wisconsin music constant somehow still turning over new sonic stones, and expertly navigating through a variety of styles, including classic rock, power pop, country, and vintage punk.
Thursday, March 24
Ezra Furman + Sleepy Kitty, The Living Statues @ Company Brewing
Last year’s Perpetual Motion People from Chicago-born musician Ezra Furman is stuffed with enough ideas and stylistic ticks for a dozen albums. Old-school R&B, doo-wop, rock ‘n’ roll, and jumpy indie rock all pop up on the record, accompanied by a boatload of effortless hooks and Furman’s David-Bowie-meets-Gordon-Gano vocals. The Guardian called Furman “the most compelling live act you can see right now,” so yeah, go see him live Thursday night at Company Brewing.
Friday, March 25
The Vitrolum Republic + Dickie @ Anodyne Walker’s Point
At a time with infinite sub-genres featuring the word “rock” and most folk acts congealing in an overused mold of contrived themes, it’s refreshing when a band like The Vitrolum Republic can push elements of folk down an unfamiliar path, heap in classical influence, and project it through an indie rock lens to forge something you won’t hear anywhere else in Milwaukee. With last year’s For The Lovespun Ramblings And Ghosts In Our Shoes, the band has made a record few Wisconsin group would think to make, and even fewer could pull off.
Saturday, March 26
WMSE 35th Anniversary: The Benjamins + The Crosses, Skiptracer, Feck, The Mighty Deerlick, Moloko Shivers @ Turner Hall
WMSE is nothing short of a local institution. It’s impossible to adequately articulate exactly how much the listener-supported station means to Milwaukee, nor could anyone come close to calculating how much of an impact it’s had on the city as an outlet and ardent champion of Milwaukee music. To celebrate WMSE’s 35th birthday, six bands will reunite for a multi-genre, cross-generational gathering. The Benjamins will headline the party, playing a show to mark the 15th anniversary of their one and only record, The Art Of Disappointment, after The Crosses, Skiptracer, Feck, The Mighty Deerlick, and Moloko Shivers turn the clock back. Happy birthday, WMSE. We love you.
Sunday, March 27
Jonathan Richman @ Shank Hall
While you’re digesting your Easter ham and shaking off whatever politically charged things your loved ones said to ruin brunch, enjoy a very special performance by the incomparable Jonathan Richman. The Modern Lovers singer and respected solo troubadour will return to Shank Hall toting hundreds of songs from dozens of albums spanning the mid-’70s through 2010’s O Moon, Queen Of Night On Earth. Holiday or not, don’t miss this.