8 Milwaukee shows we’re looking forward to this fall
With the dog days of summer behind us and school back in session, we can finally enjoy the all-too-brief window of pleasant autumn weather. We’ll also be able to enjoy a slew of top-shelf Milwaukee shows that promise to tickle the fancies of just about any serious music fan. So before the temperatures dip back to snot-freezing and soul-crushing numbers, mark these eight shows down in your personal planner of choice.
Sept. 12, Cactus Club
For a man who first found fame voicing the mysterious MC Pee Pants on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, MC Chris has had a remarkably fruitful career. Not that he’s strayed too far from the “nerdcore” hip-hop world; it’s a sure bet he’ll be busting out songs like the Boba Fett-inspired “Fett’s Vette” during this show, which is part of the Cactus Club’s 15th Anniversary celebration.
What to expect: Rowdy nerds, hot beats.
Sept. 21, Pabst Theater
No one pulls off dramatic indie-rock quite like Okkervil River. Singer-songwriter Will Sheff's verbose, impressionistic compositions play more like overheated short stories than mere songs, and it’s hard not to get swept up in their bruising sincerity. The band has blown up in recent years, thanks to the terrific double dose of The Stage Names and The Stand-Ins.
What to expect: Some songs from the new I Am Very Far, plus plenty of onstage histrionics from Sheff.
Oct. 2, Cactus Club
The whole “band playing a classic album in its entirety” thing may done to death these days (and better suited to the county fair circuit), but if the band happens to be Trans Am, and the album happens to be 1999’s Futureworld, it’s okay to get excited. (Go ahead—get excited.)
What to expect: Vocoders, synths, and a sold-out show stocked with fans pining for the long-ago late-’90s.
Oct. 2, Turner Hall Ballroom
In the realm of niche-y subgenres, baroque pop is one of the more difficult to expand upon. Credit England’s Wild Beasts for continuing to inject the oft-stagnant formula with some much-needed sex. Not that they peddle in overheated smut: On the contrary—the group’s third album, Smother, is most notable for its icy restraint. Given enough time, it seems destined to take its rightful place among indie-rock’s great humping albums.
What to expect: A hot and bothered band, and a hot and bothered audience.
Oct. 3, Pabst Theater
It’s been two years since Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, bestowed her lovely Actor upon the world. It was a strong album, stuffed with Clark’s off-kilter chamber pop, and a step up from her 2007 debut, Marry Me. A new album, Strange Mercy, is slated for a Sept. 13 release in the U.S., and is produced by former Paper Chase frontman—and past St. Vincent producer—John Congleton.
What to expect: Plenty of guitar heroics, and a smattering of lovelorn dudes swooning over the fetching Ms. Clark.
Oct. 13, Riverside Theater
If you’re a bit baffled by the current iteration of alt legends Smashing Pumpkins, you’re probably not alone. After a string of stone-cold classic ’90s albums, frontman Billy Corgan killed the group in 2000. Since then, he’s both thrilled and confused (mostly confused) fans with lineup changes, supergroups, and in-name-only Pumpkins albums.
What to expect: A crowd of aging fans pretending they no longer care about Smashing Pumpkins, but who are secretly waiting for Corgan to play “Today” and “1979.”
Method Man, Curren$y, Big K.R.I.T.
Oct. 26, The Rave
You know the saying: If you remember Woodstock, you weren’t really there, man. Likewise, if you remember last fall’s Smoker’s Club Tour—a gleefully weed-happy happening featuring Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T.—you probably weren’t really there, either. But whether you missed the party or just forgot about it, Curren$y and company are offering up a brand-new Smoker for 2011. Wu-Tang legend—and fellow smoke enthusiast—Method Man will be along for the ride, bridging the gap between two generations of weed-rappers.
What to expect: Soda pop and various smoking devices intended for tobacco use only.
They Might Be Giants
Oct. 28, Pabst Theater
It’s always been easy to damn They Might Be Giants with faint “geek-rock” praise, but look past the band’s nerdy trappings and you’ll find some of the most terrifically realized pop songs of the last 20 years. From “Don’t Let’s Start” to “Ana Ng” to “Birdhouse In Your Soul,” Johns Linnell and Flansburgh have penned indelible ditties that serve as rites of passage for any serious music fan. The new Join Us is a refreshing corrective to recent years dominated by kiddie albums, and is clearly the Giants’ strongest work in some time.
What to expect: Geeks young and old coming together as one happy, pimply unit.