Our fat-free, dolphin-safe Milwaukee events calendar is chock-full of things to do, but only a handful of events are worthy of the lofty honor of “Record Recommended” (patent pending). Here are our recommendations for March 2-8.
MONDAY, MARCH 2
Reigning Sound (original lineup) + Dusk @ Cactus Club
Each time the Reigning Sound has changed players over the years, the dynamic of the band has also changed, lead singer Greg Cartwright says. The key for him is to learn how to lean into that dynamic. “The original lineup, the feel is very loose in a good way,” he says. “I love this opportunity to get back and play these songs and represent those albums in the only way they can, with these four guys.”
TUESDAY, MARCH 3
WMSE Local/Live: Magnetic Minds @ Club Garibaldi
They don’t make bands like Magnetic Minds anymore. Though new sub-genres seem to be created on a daily basis (and fall out of favor at an equally alarming clip), there will always be a place in music for straight-up, unadulterated rock and roll. With 2019’s Recompose—the first Magnetic Minds release since 2012—the trio proves as much with a chaotic quintet of fast, frenzied, and just plain pummeling songs. Chris Ortiz leads the charge with well-placed screams that are carefully laid atop meticulous, angular guitar riffs and an imposing wall of bass and percussion that demands the listener’s undivided attention. In under 15 brash and brutal minutes, Magnetic Minds make their long-awaited return with a short and sweet release that’s likely get your head banging and leave your ears ringing before you recompose and do it all over again.
THURSDAY, MARCH 5
They Might Be Giants @ The Pabst Theater
Why is the world in love again? Why are we marching hand in hand? Why are the ocean levels rising up? It’s a brand new anniversary show for 2020! They Might Be Giants’ 30-year-old album Flood! What will the show entail? Well, it’s being billed as “an evening with” thing, featuring Johns Flansburgh and Linnell playing two full sets with their live band. Flood will be played in its entirety, of course.
414 Live: Marielle Allschwang & The Visitations @ 88Nine Radio Milwaukee
The first thing to hit you when cueing up the new Marielle Allschwang record is the noise. A distorted guitar. A rat-a-tat snare. A solitary cymbal. Could this possibly be the same Marielle Allschwang whose 2015 album Dead Not Done rarely rose above a whisper? VISITATIONS IV isn’t exactly a complete sonic overhaul, but it is a record that demonstrates just how much Allschwang and her band (the Visitations, natch) have coalesced and solidified in the past few years. It’s also a record of echoes: The new “312: Year Of The Optical Fire” recalls the melody and sway of Dead Not Done‘s title track, and “Be The Dirt” digs into the same old, weird, and elemental concerns that populated the previous album. This time around, however, the full band (Nathaniel Heuer, Adam Krause, Kavi Laud, Ken Palme) provide each track with a sturdy framework that recalls Allschwang’s other post-rock-minded projects: the shuttered Group Of The Altos and the ever-changing Collections Of Colonies Of Bees. And yet the highlight of the record is, once again, Allschwang herself. Her voice, forever haunting, remains a wonder.
FRIDAY, MARCH 6
Klassik (vinyl release show) @ Shank Hall
Listeners throughout Milwaukee, all around the Midwest, and in Rob Gronkowski’s car know Kellen Abston for his extensive, eclectic, and altogether impressive body of work he’s released under the name Klassik. Over Klassik’s near-10-year run, the rapper, producer, and multi-instrumentalist has earned oodles of attention in the local scene, opened for a host of impressive acts, challenged himself with a wide range of different creative undertakings, and made some of Milwaukee’s most impressive music of the past decade. The tireless creator’s latest, QUIET, was released in late 2019 (and earned the No. 3 slot on last year’s Best Albums list). About four months later, the record will come out on vinyl via Confluence Records and Klassik will mark the belated release with a show at Shank Hall. He’ll be joined with a stacked lineup of local musicians that will be performing under the name Student Body. Get active and come out to this show.
Joe Fernandez @ The Laughing Tap
Actor, comedian, and Marquette alum Joe Fernandez returns to the city where he received the Chris Farley Scholarship for a pair of headlining shows at The Laughing Tap.
SATURDAY, MARCH 7
LEAP NEAR 2020 Matinee: CRLSS + Kendra Amalie, Vanity Plates, Genau, 1996 @ Cactus Club
Exactly a week after the weird holiday that is Leap Day, Cactus Club will host a pair of shows that will double as a daylong micro fest (1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.) that will feature a wide range of acts who made waves in Milwaukee music last year. The 2 p.m. all-ages matinee will offer up the likes of CRLSS, Kendra Amalie, Vanity Plates, Genau, and 1996. When 8 p.m. rolls around, Apollo Vermouth, Haunter, Snag, Large Print, and Beach Burial will take the stage for an 18+ show. Cover is $7 and $8 respectively or just $12 for both shows. Wow!
Mac Lethal + Crypt, Feral The Earthworm, Guerrilla Ghost @ X-Ray Arcade
Whether he’s spitting verses while flipping flapjacks, showcasing 27 styles of rapping to tens of millions of YouTube viewers, or performing his more conventional material on stages all over the world, Mac Lethal needs to be seen if you have the opportunity. Fortunately, you’ll have a chance to see the viral vocalist in action when he comes to Cudahy’s X-Ray Arcade on March 7. The lightning fast rapper will be joined by Crypt, Feral The Earthworm, and a long list of locals (including Guerrilla Ghost).
SUNDAY, MARCH 8
WMSE’s Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser @ MSOE Kern Center
Since the early aughts, WMSE has assembled the city’s most skilled chili connoisseurs to vie for prizes in but a few categories during its annual Rockabilly Chili fundraiser. This year, more than 50 restaurants, bars, and cafes will compete. Long Line Riders will provide musical accompaniment. As chili season’s conclusion is nigh, end it in the best way imaginable.
Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day @ Black Husky Brewing
Ever notice how the craft brewing industry seems to be dominated by men? Of course you have. Well, the Pink Boots Society aims to change that by, in its own words, assisting, inspiring, and encouraging women beer professionals through education. Want to support that mission? You’re in luck, because on Sunday, March 8 (International Women’s Day, natch), Black Husky Brewing will host the annual Wisconsin Chapter Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day. Food will be provided by Addicting Pretzels, Foxfire Food Truck, Honeypie Cafe, Lumpia City, Lush Popcorn, and Nessun Dorma. Music, which begins at 1 p.m., will be provided by Ruth B8r Ginsburg, Amanda Huff, and Cream Vellum.