Read our daily events guide, Today in Milwaukee, on expressmilwaukee.com
THURSDAY, FEB. 2
Big Head Todd and The Monsters w/ Sammy Llanas @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Like fellow early-’90s breakouts the Spin Doctors and Rusted Root, Big Head Todd and The Monsters were a jam band before there was an organized jam scene, so they earned their initial following through radio play instead of on the road. They continue to benefit from that radio exposure: Their early-’90s hits “Bittersweet” and “Broken Hearted Savior” continue to draw faithful fans to their shows. Lately the band has been embracing its blues influences. They teamed up with a number of blues legends, including Hubert Sumlin, Cedric Burnside and B.B. King, for last year’s tribute album 100 Years of Robert Johnson.
Jeffrey Ross @ The Pabst Theater, 6:30 p.m.
It takes a particularly likable kind of guy to be able to get away with saying horrible things to people’s faces for a living. With his big, genuine smile and warm demeanor, Jeffrey Ross is well suited for the task. As the current Roastmaster General for the New York Friars Club, he’s overseen the roasts of celebrities like Donald Trump, Pamela Anderson, Charlie Sheen and David Hasselhoff, the latter of which he seemed to particularly enjoy skewering (“What are the odds? A Jew gets to roast a German,” he quipped in his routine). Ross’ latest “Jeffrey Ross Roasts America” tour doesn’t stray too far from the format of his TV appearances.
FRIDAY, FEB. 3
Dark Star Orchestra @ The Pabst Theater, 7:30 p.m.
The members of Chicago-based Dark Star Orchestra consider themselves more than just a tribute band. They’re musical historians, recreating historic set lists from the Grateful Dead’s 2,500 performances with an almost obsessive accuracy, arranging the stage, replicating the visual imagery and even adjusting the band’s personnel to match every detail of the band’s performances. The group, which has been honoring the Dead since 1997, has been joined onstage by alums of that band including Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.
FRIDAY, FEB. 3
Carrie Rodriguez w/ Pieta Brown and Kelly Joe Phelps @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Fiddlin’ singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez has been in a collaborating mood lately. On her 2010 EP with Romantica frontman Ben Kyle, We Still Love Our Country, she covered songs by artists like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt, and for her current “An Acoustic Café Evening” tour, the Austin roots-pop singer is sharing the stage with troubadours Pieta Brown and Kelly Joe Phelps. The three will take turns performing songs and assisting each other.
Supersuckers w/ The Spittin’ Cobras and The Pills @ Club Garibaldi, 8 p.m.
For nearly a quarter-century, Arizona’s Supersuckers have served as punk’s answer to cowboy-hat-wearing, meat-and-potatoes American rock ’n’ roll. Like a lot of bands that had comfortable label homes in the ’90s, the one-time Sub Pop group has taken the independent route in recent years; they started their own label, Mid-Fi Records, in 2001. During their career, they formed an unlikely creative partnership with one of country’s greats: Willie Nelson, who they once backed on “The Tonight Show.” In turn, Nelson did a guest stint on the title track of the Supersuckers’ Must’ve Been High, the band’s purest country record. The group’s most recent album, 2008’s Get It Together!, is a country-punk hybrid more typical of their sound.
SATURDAY, FEB. 4
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana: La Pasión Flamenca @ South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.
One of the premier flamenco dance companies in the United States will perform traditional Spanish flamenco, with its extravagantly sensual duets, solos and improvisational jam sessions, as well as cuttingedge new work commissioned by the company from young flamenco artists who incorporate Afro-Cuban and other Latin American rhythms and folk idioms to expand the boundaries of this explosive dance form. The SMPAC’s big stage and comfortably intimate house make it a great live performance venue. Come an hour early for a chat with the artists, the Milwaukee Ballet’s engaging education director, Alyson Chavez, and SMPAC’s visionary new director, Chad Piechocki.
Smith Westerns w/ Porcelain Raft and Bleached @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
On their no-budget, 2009 self-titled debut album, Chicago’s Smith Westerns trafficked in youthful garagepop, singing of good times and romantic frustrations to an accompaniment of lo-fi fuzz. The subject matter was much the same on the group’s 2011 follow-up, Dye It Blonde, but the production took on almost Mott the Hoople-levels of sheen—a clean, glam-rock sound that really let the group’s summery hooks pop. The band is at work this winter on a third album, which guitarist Max Kakacek has teased as “dreamy and spacious.”
Ira Glass @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
week, more than 1 million listeners tune in to more than 500 public
radio stations to hear “This American Life,” a pioneering program
featuring stories that walk the line between straight journalism and
emotive storytelling. Although the show has a rotating roster of
contributors, including John Hodgman, Chuck Klosterman and David
Sedaris, the one constant is the unassuming, sympathetic voice of host
(as well as executive producer and co-creator) Ira Glass. Glass appears
tonight as part of his “Reinventing Radio” tour, which promises a look
at how the popular program is created and a generous use of audio clips
that will help the host recreate the feel of a typical “This American
SATURDAY, FEB. 4
Cedarburg Winter Festival @ Downtown Cedarburg
theme for Cedarburg’s 38th annual Winter Festival is based on the fairy
tales of the Brothers Grimm. The two-day event will feature ice
carvings, costumed bed racing, a chili contest, barrel races, ice
skating, an Alaskan malamute dog weight pull competition, a cupcake
challenge, Cedar Creek Winery wine samplings, a Saturday night beer
tasting (featuring a performance from Pat McCurdy) and a “Goldilocks and
the Three Bears” pancake breakfast on Sunday morning (with a “Little
Red Hen” egg hunt for kids under 7).
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 8
Jeff Mangum @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
The leader of the long-defunct band Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Mangum is a figure of almost J.D. Salinger-esque mythical proportions in indie-rock circles, capturing the imaginations of fans who are still trying to understand why he hasn’t released a follow-up to the band’s 1998 masterwork, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, an album destined to be passed down from generation to generation on college campuses. Mangum made only rare live appearances throughout the ’00s, but the last two years have seen him return to the road, where he performs Neutral Milk Hotel favorites and often encourages audiences to sing along with their favorite parts.
Ingram Hill w/ Matt Duke and Mikey Wax @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
In the ’90s a slew of vaguely rootsy alternative rock bands like the Gin Blossoms, Tonic and Matchbox Twenty brought the faintest bit of country twang to non-CCM airwaves. The Memphis band Ingram Hill picks up where those bands left off, crafting polished little adult-alternative songs with just enough of a roots-rock twinge to let them co-exist in country circles as well. The group’s records, including 2011’s Blue Room Afternoon, sparkle with the bright, clean production of a Top 40 album.