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TV Talent and Makeshift Bands
Milwaukee is treated to All Messed Up, Pentatonix and more

Monday, Feb. 10: Robert Cray with Mavis Staples at Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Northern Lights Theater, 8 p.m. ($60-$70)

Robert Cray isn’t exactly a household name in rock and roll, but he ought to be. The proficient blues guitarist owns five Grammys and has logged time in the backing bands of icons like Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton and even played on of Otis Day’s Knights in a classic party scene in the film Animal House. Even at 60, this Blues Hall of Fame inductee can still shred. Mavis Staples opens. (1721 W. Canal St., PaysBig.com)

Tuesday, Feb. 11: Pentatonix at The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m. (SOLD OUT)

There’s no shortage of “musicians” these days who have attained marginal notoriety as a result of mastering ways to vocally dress up songs written – a thing artists used to do – and made famous by other people. With American Idol entering its 77th season (at least it seems that way) and each network now broadcasting its own rendition of the elaborate karaoke contest, reality show-manufactured acts look to have a permanent place in the modern music industry. In the case of Pentatonix, winners of the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off, at least the overriding talent and inventiveness the quintet possesses makes its TV contest-bestowed credibility stick more than your average Justin Guarini or Reuben Studdard. The Texas-based quintet has held the audience’s interest for two albums and three years with a cappella renditions of pop standards and (get this) even some solid original cuts. (116 W. Wisconsin Ave., PabstTheater.org)

Wednesday, Feb. 12: No Shows

Thursday, Feb. 13: Huey Mack with Immortal at The Rave, 7 p.m. ($15 for two tickets)

Spawned by some rhymes scribbled in the notebook of a bored rural West Virginian teenager named Joseph, an activity initially started as a joke quickly took off and Huey Mack was born. Now just 22, Joseph Michael has a backlog of popular mixtapes and a growing underground following as his rap alter ego Huey Mack. Mack’s true debut, Pretending Perfection, was released late last year. It’s far from groundbreaking stuff, until you take into account it’s a kid from a northern West Virginia town of 30,000 people. Immortal opens. (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)

Friday, Feb. 14: Emblem3 with MKTO, and Jackson Guthy at The Rave, 7 p.m. ($29-$39 for two tickets)

Speaking of singing reality shows (see Tuesday), Washington pop trio Emblem3 first caught its big break on season two of ex-Idol curmudgeon Simon Cowell’s show The X Factor USA when the boy band placed fourth. Apparently that was still good enough to capture the attention of the grumpy judge, as Cowell signed the band to a record deal last year. If you want to see the fourth best band from the second season of basic cable’s third most-watched singing television program, you need look no further. MKTO and Immortal open. (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)

Also: Estates with Paper Holland, Piles, and Conundrum at Cactus Club, 9:30 p.m. – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)

And: Dave Hause with Northcote at Shank Hall, 8 p.m. ($12) – (1434 N. Farwell Ave., ShankHall.com)

And: All Messed Up (Day 1) at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 7 p.m. ($3) – (1001 E. Locust St., Linnemans.com)

Saturday, Feb. 15: All Messed Up (Day 2) at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 7 p.m. ($3)

Entering its fourth year, All Messed Up shuffles members of various local bands to form new bands that are tasked with writing a handful of songs in a very short period of time. This year’s festivities finds a total of 16 – usually hilariously named – bands playing two straight nights worth of shows at Linneman’s. It’s a testament to the unity, creativity and sense of humor thriving in Milwaukee’s music scene. Saturday’s second installment features The Sweet Sweet Seizure Brothers, NWA Pt. 2, Five Cats and a Dog, and Facebook: The Band among others. (1001 E. Locust St., Linnemans.com)

Also: Ugly Brothers with Steven Roth, and Thriftones at Mad Planet, 9 p.m. ($7) – (533 E. Center St, Mad-Planet.net)

And: The Airborne Toxic Event with Kongos at The Rave, 7:30 p.m. (SOLD OUT) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)

And: MartyParty with Joker at Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m. ($14) – (2844 N. Oakland Ave., TheMiramarTheatre.com)

Sunday, Feb. 16: The Calamity Janes with Please Please Me at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m. ($5) – (1001 E. Locust St., Linnemans.com)

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