Monday, Nov. 18: John Legend with Tamar Braxton @ The Riverside Theater, 6:30 p.m.
Legend acquired his unusual surname from poet J. Ivy, who likened his old school, piano-driven sound to the legendary performers of the past. But newest album Love In The Future is more progressive, thanks to crafty production from a long list of producers including Kanye West and 88-Keys. Legend will return to Milwaukee for the first time since 2010, this time to the intimate Riverside.
Tuesday, Nov. 19: Highlonesome with Jeff Shepherd and the Jailhouse Poets and Nellie Wilson and the Hellbound Honies @ Bremen Cafe, 9 p.m.
Highlonesome injects its traditional bluegrass with a gritty punk rock undertone, accomplished primarily via the dark lyrics and growling vocals of lead clawhammer-picker Noah Tyson. The Milwaukee band will be joined by country-punk counterparts from Chicago and Madison, respectively, for a night of slightly askew Americana at the (always free) Bremen Cafe.
Also: Lamb Of God with Killswitch Engage, Testament and Huntress @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
And: Brian Setzer Orchestra @ Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 20: Nightmare Boyzzz with Space Wolves, Tim Schweiger and the Middle Men and Beach Patrol @ Quarters, 9 p.m.
Huntsville's Nightmare Boyzzz makes the kind of super-catchy, beer-drenched fuzz-rock that Quarters Rock 'n' Roll Palace is founded on. In fact, it will be the band's second pass through the venue in less than a year after playing the garage rock-centric Lookout Weekend in April. Joining them will be Buffalo's Space Wolves, local rock staple Tim Schweiger and Green Bay's Beach Patrol.
Thursday, Nov. 21: Manchester Orchestra with The Front Bottoms and O'Brother @ The Rave, 7:30 p.m.
OG indie rock band Manchester Orchestra was formed in 2004 by Andy Hull after he opted for home-schooling his senior year of high school so he could focus on writing and recording songs. By 2011, Hull and Co. had released Simple Math, an ambitious, introspective concept album about Hull's life that remains the high point of the band's career. So much so, in fact, that the band appears to still be touring behind it two years later. With The Front Bottoms and O'Brother.
Also: Hello Death with She Keeps Bee and Last Good Tooth @ Riverwest Public House, 9 p.m.
And: Toad The Wet Sprocket with Peter Mulvey @ Turner Hall, 7 p.m.
Friday Nov. 22: Calliope with Mortgage Freeman and Tigernite @ Riverwest Public House, 9 p.m.
Local throwbacks Calliope made it look easy on this year's self-titled full-length, slipping effortlessly into vintage-sounding electric blues and classic rock with a heavy Midwestern vibe. Joining them will be the equally classic rock-indebted (albeit a bit more goofy) Mortgage Freeman and surf punk up-and-comers Tigernite. Overall, a kind of retro night of locals at Public House.
Also: Metric with Battleme @ Turner Hall, 7 p.m.
And: SRO Lords with Drugs Dragons, Slow Walker and The Midwives @ Quarters, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23: Said The Whale with Elusive Parallelograms and Certain Stars @ Cactus Club, 9:45 p.m.
Like most bands with Whale-related names, Said The Whale makes indie pop that's a bit too lush and precious to be believable. ("My grandfather picks wildflowers / at the top of the hill"? Come on.) Still, the locals on the bill – both specializing in catchy, ’90s-influenced guitar rock – make this one worth seeing.
Also: D'Amato with Mally, Webster X and Dana Coppa @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
And: Fitz And The Tantrums with Capital Cities and Beat Club @ The Rave, 7:30 p.m.