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 January 25-31, 2016.
Tuesday, January 26
Super Thief + Gauss @ High Dive
You have been to a show at High Dive, yes? The recently opened Riverwest watering hole, located in the old Riverhorse/Impala Lounge spot, hosts a ton of local and national bands, jazz nights, and other musical fun all throughout the week. Better yet, it’s all free. Tonight’s show finds Milwaukee’s Gauss playing alongside Austin’s Super Thief. Here’s hoping the latter plays one of it’s latest songs, “Dog Fart.”
Thursday, January 28
Gallagher + Artie Fletcher @ Turner Hall
There was a time, long ago, when funnyman Gallagher was a.) funny, and b.) not as terrible as his watermelon-smashing routine would suggest. Yes, back then, the bellbottom-clad Gallagher was something of a cross between a less-biting George Carlin and a less-ripped Carrot Top, using ridiculous props and performance art to poke holes in the foibles of everyday life. Sadly, something happened around the 8 billionth watermelon smash, and the Gallagher of 2016 spends most of his time making lame racist and homophobic jokes in the name of being “outrageous” or whatever. He still smashes the shit out of food, though, and his front row “Splash Zone” tickets usually come complete with plastic tarps.
Friday, January 29
Local H @ Shank Hall
After bringing some warmth to an otherwise brisk night at Summerfest last year, veteran Illinois outfit Local H will return to its familiar Shank Hall haunt to play “Bound For The Floor” and other material that has made the band worth seeing live for more than a quarter century.
Saturday, January 30
Christopher Porterfield: How To Write A Popular Song @ Pitman Theatre
In 1893, Milwaukee-based songwriter Charles K. Harris penned popular music’s first multi-million-selling piece of sheet music, “After The Ball.” 13 years later, the prolific songwriter created a handbook entitled How To Write A Popular Song: A Practical Tutorial On Song Writing—With Music & Lyric Samples. Now, 110 years after that, another Milwaukee-based songwriter—Christopher Porterfield of Field Report—will bring Harris into the 21st century with this one-night-only show for Alverno Presents. Porterfield, along with collaborators Phil Cook, Monica Martin, Caitlin Canty, Dave Godowsky, Ryan Necci, Thomas Wincek, and Shane Leonard, will both reinterpret songs from Harris’ extensive catalog and follow his instructions to create their own “popular songs.”
Patton Oswalt @ Riverside Theater
You’d be hard-pressed to find a modern comedian who is as influential, who is quoted as often, or who holds a higher average ranking among today’s self-described comedy nerds than Patton Oswalt. The veteran alt-comic has parlayed his decades of prickly witticisms expelled on stage into acting work in sitcoms and film, a book deal, and success as the voice of an animated rodent chef in a massive Disney hit. His reach has expanded, but the humorist’s deft dismantling of contemporary culture hasn’t suffered in the slightest, as evidenced by his great 2014 special Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time. Sadly, though, Milwaukee hasn’t been able to witness Oswalt’s stand-up skill set firsthand since his Pabst Theater appearance way back in 2011. That will change when the beloved comic and Ratatouille star returns to town to headline Laugh It Up Milwaukee 2016 at Riverside Theater. The rare Oswalt outing will benefit the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and Special Olympics Wisconsin.