Milwaukee’s 6 can’t-miss concerts of the summer (non-Summerfest edition)
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Summerfest may lay claim to some of the biggest names during Milwaukee’s festival season (Foo Fighters, The Walkmen, Pat McCurdy), but there are plenty of can’t-miss shows before and after the Big Gig. Here are six that we’re really, really, really looking forward to.
1. Destroyer at Turner Hall (June 13)
As a member of The New Pornographers, Dan Bejar tends to blend into the background (never mind the hair), but as the frontman of Destroyer, he’s impossible to ignore. (Okay, mind the hair now.) The group’s excellent 2011 album, Kaputt, is equally attention-grabbing, and it’s stuffed with the kind of jazzy, soft-rock ditties that send listeners into woozy hysterics. Your mileage on the good ship Yacht Rock may vary, though seeing Destroyer live may be the perfect combination of chill music and sweltering weather.
2. R. Ring at Cactus Club (July 10)
Kim Deal may be currently swimming in Pixies-reunion cash, Scrooge McDuck-style, but her twin sister Kelley apparently needs to keep plugging away on the smallish rock club circuit. The former Breeder is now one half of R. Ring, a sparse, moody outfit that includes musician Mike Montgomery. The group doesn’t have an album to its name yet, but that shouldn’t stop Milwaukee from digging Deal’s loopy songwriting and cracked, haunting voice.
3. Liars at Mad Planet (July 18)
It’s been a little more than two years since the ambient art rockers of Liars released the brooding, paranoia-fueled (and terrific) Sisterworld. Now, the band is on the road in support of a new sure-to-be-unnerving album, WIXIW. If the bizarre video for the album’s lead single “No. 1 Against The Rush” is any indication, unsuspecting clubs across the country (including Mad Planet) may or may not be subjected to death by dry cleaning—or, more likely, a really good show.
4. My Morning Jacket at BMO Harris Pavilion, Summerfest grounds (Aug. 11)
My Morning Jacket’s show at the Riverside Theater last summer was one of our absolute favorites. From our recap: “About an hour into My Morning Jacket’s marathon 150-minute set, frontman Jim James launched into a heartfelt ‘thank you,’ and compared the Riverside to the room at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was a charming, off-the-cuff moment, and one of the few chances to catch a breath in a show that ultimately left the fawning crowd speechless. Indeed, it was hard to find the right words to describe the surprisingly spiritual (and loud) evening. ‘Mind-blowing’ and ‘face-melting’ immediately come to mind.” Here’s hoping we lose our faces again this year.
5. Swans at Shank Hall (Sept. 22)
When we recapped legendary no-wave group Swans’ Turner Hall gig last year, we used words like “massive,” “brain-prodding,” and “brutal.” If that sounds like your cup of tea (and it should), witnessing the band in the close confines of Shank Hall just may be the highlight of your summer. The Michael Gira-fronted group may never have completely escaped the ’80s underground that birthed it, but a fervent fan base—including one in Milwaukee—guarantees the show will be a standing-room-only stunner.
6. Dirty Projectors at Pabst Theater (Sept. 30, rescheduled from July 14)
Brooklyn, New York’s Dirty Projectors have fulfilled nearly every obligation expected of an art-rock outfit from Brooklyn: a collaboration with David Byrne, a charity EP with Björk, and an album of Black Flag songs played from memory. Now, the Dave Longstreth-fronted band is set to embark on a pleasant two-month jaunt in support of a new full-length album, Swing Lo Magellan. The tour includes a stop at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, a few months after Magellan drops July 10.