Welcome to August: What's happening in Milwaukee this month
Mark your calendar
Here’s a surprise: Our most anticipated show this month is The National Aug. 4 at the Riverside Theater. It’s not like we’ve been talking about this concert for months now, but we still think it’s a potential “best local gig of the year” candidate. That same night, sad-sack alt-country outfit Phosphorescent plays what’s being billed as a National after-party at Mad Planet with Fleet Foxes’ J. Tillman; before then, give a listen to Phosphorescent’s quietly sprawling (and quite good) Here’s To Taking It Easy.
We’re also looking forward to Jaill’s record-release show for the great That’s How We Burn Aug. 14 at Turner Hall, which should be a coming-out party for one of the city’s most heartwarming musical success stories. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the biggest show of that weekend (and perhaps the whole month), which is Phish’s two-night stand Aug. 14-15 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre. (Insert hippie joke here.)
Mark your calendar in pencil
It’s been a hot, sticky summer, so we’ve spent a lot of time drinking ice-cold beer on the porch and listening to The Black Crowes’ 1992 strutting trad-rock classic The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion. The band’s studio work has been spotty for the past 15 or so years, but live, the Crowes still deliver the goods, and they should again Aug. 13 at Riverside Theater. This is the umpteenth time they’ve played a “farewell” tour, but with acoustic and electric sets focused solely on hits, fans shouldn’t feel ripped off even when the Robinson brothers inevitably decide to get the band back together in five years.
Speaking of getting the band back together, Stone Temple Pilots have apparently gotten their shit together after a circus-like 2008 reunion tour, releasing a so-so new album and playing solid live shows in the past year, which bodes well for their Aug. 16 gig at The Rave. Also playing the Rave this month is Interpol, which is back without long-time bassist Carlos D. and a new self-titled album that will hopefully reclaim at least some of the glory of the band’s sterling 2002 debut Turn On The Bright Lights.
Mark your calendar sensitively and judiciously
A Rufus Wainwright concert at Pabst Theater is always an event—look no further than his memorable live album Milwaukee At Last!!! for proof. It will be interesting to see whether the somberness of Wainwright’s 2010 record, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, will translate to his typically flamboyant live show Aug. 10. If bigness is what’s you’re after, Keane will offer plenty that same day a few blocks away at Riverside Theater.
Mark your calendar guiltily
We know she’s a low-rent Lady Gaga rip-off, but damn it if Ke$ha doesn’t push our guilty pleasure buttons every time. She’s like the ultra-airhead Monkees to Lady Gaga’s mildly airhead-ish Beatles. She’s Britney Spears without the “Gee, I didn’t realize that old men would find a teenage girl in a Catholic schoolgirl outfit sexy” act, and that works for us. So, yeah, we’ll probably sneak into her show Aug. 26 at the Rave/Eagles Ballroom.