You're going to have to make tough decisions this week because the live music schedule is fantastic.
The warm summer months, teeming with shows and festivals, often present a myriad of music-schedule conflicts. On Saturday nights, especially, the options are seemingly endless: Catch the free street festival, see a burgeoning musician at a small club, or watch the big, shiny, famous band play the spacious theater? Selecting the best choice can seem impossible. One upside of the winter months: Stress-free decision-making.
Unfortunately for you, that’s not the case this week. By luck, coincidental booking, or some stroke of God, the music calendar is rife with tough conflicts. While the week begins slowly, things kick into high gear on Wednesday, February 1 with two worthwhile performances. Baraboo folk outfit PHOX headline The Pabst Theater while Turner Hall Ballroom hosts the roots rock vets Drive-By Truckers. The Truckers just released the weighty, political album, American Band, which searches for some common ground in a highly polarized country. After years of touring behind 2014’s self-titled album, Phox plans to go on “indefinite hiatus” after the conclusion of their winter tour, so band members can work on other creative projects.
On Friday, February 3, singer-songwriter Ryley Walker comes to the cozy quarters of the Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee. Pitchfork showed high praise for opener “The Halfwit in Me” from the promising, Chicago folk singer’s latest album, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, as Benjamin Scheim wrote that “the song pulls from the successful elements of Walker’s previous work while embracing these newer (albeit still “retro”) influences and melding it all into a beautiful, pensive six-minute suite that seems to declare the official arrival of an artist who’s on his own path.” Also playing on Friday night, alt-country outfit Glacial Speed rounds out an all-Wisconsin bill featuring Haunted Heads and Liar’s Trial at Cactus Club. Their new album, New Wilderness, is worth checking out.
Saturday, February 4 truly presents the most soul-searching. The ever-elusive R&B singer Lauryn Hill headlines The Riverside Theater. Jason Narducy, the perpetual side-man who’s played big names like Bob Mould, Robert Pollard, Superchunk, Britt Daniel and Telekinesis, comes to Milwaukee with his own band this time, Split Single. Midnight Reruns opens the Anodyne Coffee show. A full day of music floods Quarter’s Rock n’ Roll Palace for the MKE Punk Fest Planned Parenthood Benefit show. The fundraiser features 23 bands, starting at noon. And if that wasn’t enough to mull over, Saturday also offers the annual winter outdoor music festival Mittenfest, which features performances from Lorde Freddee33, Paper Holland, Christopher Porterfield and Storm Clouds and enough craft beers and cocktails to make you feel warm.
The month of February doesn’t get much better than this week, so make sure you don’t miss out.
Stream of the Week
Might as well add The Platinum Boys to the list of Friday shows that are worthy of checking out. The sleazy rockers are celebrating the release of a 7-inch at Quarter’s Rock ‘n Roll Palace on Friday night at 9 p.m. with openers Wet Piss and Slow Walker. Listen to the new track “New Kind of Love” below. You can preorder a vinyl copy of the 7-inch here.
This Week in Live Music
Wednesday, February 1: PHOX with Cuddle Magic at The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m. ($17 advance; $20 door) – (144 E. Wells St., PabstTheater.org)
Also: Drive-By Truckers at Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m. ($25 advance; $29.50 door) – (1032 N. 4th St., PabstTheater.org)
Thursday, February 2: Smoking Popes with Avenues at The Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee, 8 p.m. ($15) – (2211 N. Prospect Ave., PabstTheater.org)
Friday, February 3: The Glacial Speed with Haunted Heads and Liar’s Trial at Cactus Club, 10 p.m. – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)
Also: Milwaukee Gospel Jubilee featuring Queens of Harmony, Voices of Faith, SistaStrings, The Sermonettes and O.W.’s Exalters at Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m. ($20) – (1032 N. 4th St., PabstTheater.org)
And: Ryley Walker with Dryhouse Ruins at The Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee, 8 p.m. ($13 advance; $15 door) – (2211 N. Prospect Ave., PabstTheater.org)
And: Dakhma (album release) with Low Hangers, Pig’s Blood, Kagedama and Sex Scenes at Bremen Cafe, 7 p.m. (FREE) – (901 E. Clarke St., BremenCafe.com)
And: Chief with Indonesian Junk and The Hullman at Landmark Lanes, 9 p.m. – (2220 N Farwell Ave., LandmarkLanes.com)
And: Astral/Subastral with They GuanUs and Entropy at Frank’s Power Plant, 9 p.m. ($5) – (2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., FranksPowerPlant.com)
And: Los Rehenes with Los Guardianes Del Amor, Yndio and La Revolucion de Emiliano Zapata at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($32.50) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)
And: Excision with Cookie Monsta, Terravita, Barely Alive, Dubloadz and Dion Timmer at The Rave, 8 p.m. (SOLD OUT) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)
Saturday, February 4: Mittenfest featuring Lorde Freddee33, Paper Holland, Field Report (Christopher Porterfield solo set) and Storm Clouds at Burnhearts, noon (FREE) – (2599 S. Logan Ave.)
Also: Ms. Lauryn Hill at The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m. ($59.50-$95) – (116 W. Wisconsin Ave., PabstTheater.org)
And: Split Single with Midnight Reruns and Two Houses at Walker’s Point Anodyne Coffee, 8 p.m. ($15) – (224 W. Bruce St., AnodyneCoffee.com)
And: MKE Punk Fest Planned Parenthood Benefit Show featuring Self Help Club, Gas Station Sushi, Scarecrow Dave, Action Jelly, Moth Light, The Brash Menagerie, Hi/Jack, False Flag Renaissance, So Far So Bad, Warden, Electric Adventure, The Women, Floor Model, Rocket Paloma, Spatola, Mr Russia, Horrible, GRMLNZ, Rhetoric Vendetta, The Meatcurtains and Billy Dreamer at Quarter’s Rock ‘n Roll Palace, 11:30 a.m. ($5) – (900 E. Center St.)
And: Ruby Yacht at Landmark Lanes, 10 p.m. – (2220 N Farwell Ave., LandmarkLanes.com)
And: Indonesian Junk with The Grovelers and Size 5’s at Cactus Club, 9:30 p.m. ($6) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)
And: Greg Koch and the Tone Controls at Shank Hall, 8 p.m. ($15) – (1434 N. Farwell Ave., ShankHall.com)
And: Salford Lads Club with Pretend and Parallel Blondes at Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m. ($12) – (1032 N. 4th St., PabstTheater.org)
And: Excision with 12th Planet, Cookie Monsta, Bear Grillz, Barely Alive and Dion Timmer at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($35-$47) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)