Countless ‘90s nostalgia acts headline state fairgrounds, Summerfest side stages or city block parties as their popularity grows closer and closer to zero, but few return to the clubs with smaller crowds to resurrect their careers. This Friday night harmonica-heavy Blues Traveler takes its shot at the latter, squeezing into Turner Hall Ballroom to give its graying fans, a cultish group just a scale below Dead Heads and Phish phans, another chance to catch the band indoors.
While Blues Traveler owned 1995 mainstream radio with hits “Run-Around” and “Hook,” its touring summer festival, Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere (or H.O.R.D.E.), grew interest in a new crop of diehard fans much earlier than its breakout moment. Started in 1992 as a jam band response to Lollapalooza, H.O.R.D.E. brought together Widespread Panic, Phish, Spin Doctors, The Samples, and Aquarium Rescue Unit on one bill throughout the country, helping spawn a second generation of jam bands.
Flirting with relevance throughout the last decade, Blues Traveler returned with its 12th studio album in April, Blow Up the Moon, which features guest performances from a handful of artists that also reached big—if fleeting—musical success. On this effort, the band collaborates with 3OH!3, Plain White T’s, Jewel, Sublime with Rome’s Rome, JC from N’Sync, Bowling for Soup and Hanson (whom Blues Traveler singer John Popper had worked with on their second record, 2000’s This Time Around). Blues Traveler sounds rejuvenated next to the more youthful (relatively) contributors.
“Well, I really gotta give the credit to Lani Sarem, our manager,” Popper told Rolling Stone in March on the idea for bringing in other artists. “She really had an idea for a collaboration record, and the artists she had in mind were with Blues Traveler in mind. It seems to me that the coolest thing about us is that we don’t know what’s cool about us, and so if we actually said, ‘Hey, who would this band work well with?’ I think we’d fuck it up somehow. So you kind of need somebody who’s looking at you and saying, ‘Do you know what’s cool about you?’ They remind you about a part of yourself that you might dismiss.”
Another ‘90s success, one that doesn’t need a kick start, also plays Milwaukee this Friday. The nu-metal pioneers Korn headline the Rave off the back of 2013’s successful 12th studio album Paradigm Shift, though, the freaks on a leash claim a new album is in the works. After 2011’s dubstep-tinged misstep, The Path of Totality, it’s best to stick to the tried-and-true heavy metal formula that’s worked for the past 22 years.
Hello and Goodbye
Mysterious electro-soul artist Fauxny removes the secret cloak surrounding his musical persona and plays his first show at Hotel Foster on Thursday night with Golden Coins. Unfortunately, the live performance will also be his last, as he readys his move to Australia just a few days later. Don’t miss out on this once-and-only concert.
Stream of the Week
The new milo record is here. Listen to the poetic rapper’s latest album off Milwaukee label Ruby Yacht, so the flies don’t come, which features a guest performance from Future Islands’ singer Samuel Herring aka Hemlock Ernst on “Souvenir.”
Tuesday, September 29: Brandi Carlile with TORRES at The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m. (SOLD OUT) – (144 E. Wells St., PabstTheater.org)
Wednesday, September 30: Mark Knopfler at The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m. ($55.50-$109.50) – (116 W. Wisconsin Ave., PabstTheater.org)
Friday, October 2: Dogs in Ecstasy (album release) with Bleach Athletixxx (live debut) at Circle A Cafe, 8 p.m. (FREE) – (932 E. Chambers St., Circle-A-Café.org)
Saturday, October 3: Faux Fiction with Andi Action & The Draft Kings and Conundrum at Mad Planet, 9 p.m. ($5) – (533 E. Center St, Mad-Planet.net)
Sunday, October 4: Russian Circles with Cloakroom at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($16) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)