THURSDAY, APRIL 19
Nick Lowe w/ Paul Cebar @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Elvis Costello’s cover of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” turned the song into a hit, but it was Curtis Stigers’ less-celebrated cover of that song from the massive-selling soundtrack to The Bodyguard that earned Lowe a fortune in royalties. Perhaps because of that wealth, Lowe now works at the leisurely pace of a retiree, recording a new album every five years or so and touring when he feels like it. In December the dapper songwriter thoroughly charmed the Riverside Theater with a solo set opening for Wilco; tonight he returns to Milwaukee with a full band in tow. Expect to hear some selections from last year’s enchanting The Old Magic.
Miranda Lambert w/ Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann @ Bradley Center, 7:30 p.m.
In 2003, Miranda Lambert auditioned for the first season of the country-centric “American Idol” knockoff “Nashville Star.” The singer only placed third on the show, but she went on to become its first and only true star—her steely bad-girl persona made her an easy sell on the country charts. Though her breakout albums Kerosene and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were packed with ribald tales of strong women exacting their (sometimes violent) revenge on the men who scorned them, Lambert has matured on recent efforts, taming her image and softening her sound. She takes on slower songs Youth and Lagoon sings a handful of ballads on her latest album, 2011’s Four the Record.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20
Daniel Tosh @ Milwaukee Theatre, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert get all the buzz among the chattering classes, but fellow Comedy Central comedian Daniel Tosh regularly tops both in the ratings with his droll roundup of viral videos, “Tosh.0.” Though he largely avoids discussing the Internet in his live act, Tosh’s stand-up persona is every bit as sarcastic as that show, with the perpetually cynical comedian offering a meta-commentary on his own material, deconstructing (and sometimes over-explaining) his jokes as he makes them.
Earth Day Celebration @ Market Street Corridor, 11 a.m.
Earth Day has special ties to our state, as Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded the holiday in 1970 as an environmental teach-in. The event is now observed in more than 170 countries. Today the city commemorates Earth Day with an 11 a.m.-1 p.m. lunch event at the Market Street Corridor near City Hall that will feature sustainable food from local vendors, live music from guitarist Evan Christian, and remarks from several speakers, including Mayor Tom Barrett.
Mavis Staples w/ Shemekia Copeland @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
Soul great Mavis Staples will always be best known for her work with The Staple Singers, a group that recorded a string of great records throughout the ’60s and ’70s and scored the hit “I’ll Take You There,” but her underappreciated late-period records are plenty remarkable in their own right. She reflected on the civilrights movement, a topic near to her heart, for 2007’s gospelminded We’ll Never Turn Back, before teaming with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy for 2010’s wonderfully stripped-down You Are Not Alone. Staples’ voice has lost a little of its power with age, but none of its gritty conviction.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20
Milwaukee’s Taste of Great Brewers @ Harley-Davidson Museum, 6 p.m.
Beer Week returns this week, with literally dozens of tastings, cheese
pairings and special dinners taking place at bars and restaurants
throughout the county through April 27. Milwaukee’s Taste of Great
Brewers at the Harley-Davidson Museum serves as a de facto kick-off for
Beer Week. More than 50 breweries will be offering samples of 200-plus
imported and craft beers, including dozens from Wisconsin. Tickets are
$50 and include a commemora- tive pint glass. For a complete calendar of
Beer Week events, visit milwaukeebeerweek.com.
SATURDAY, APRIL 21
Rachel Maddow @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
Maddow’s agreeable demeanor and gentle sense of humor distinguish her
from most of the hothead hosts that dominate prime-time news networks.
Her “Rachel Maddow Show” is as zippy and entertaining as anything else
on MSNBC, and though she’s unabashedly liberal, she’s first and foremost
a policy wonk who loves a good, civil debate—her interviews with
libertarian Rand Paul remain some of the smartest cable conversations of
the last several years. Maddow has hit the road to promote her first
book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, which
takes past presidents (and sometimes the current one) to task for their
overreaching military policies, but it’s a safe bet that she’ll use at
least some of her stage time to weigh in on Wisconsin’s volatile
politics and the upcoming recall election.
Record Store Day @ Various Locations
the fifth straight year, musicians will release a slew of exclusive,
limited-edition CDs, records and DVDs solely through independent record
stores as part of Record Store Day, an effort to assist brick-and-mortar
institutions that have been badly battered by the rise of digital
music. This year’s haul includes releases from Arcade Fire, The Flaming
Lips, Phish, Animal Collective and Beach House, among many others.
Select record stores, including local Exclusive Co. locations, will be
featuring in-store bands and DJs throughout the day.
SUNDAY, APRIL 22
Athletes for Autism @ Blu, 4 p.m.
highest cocktail lounge, Blu at the Pfister Hotel, hosts a benefit
fund-raiser for National Autism Awareness Month. Celebrities including
Green Bay Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush, former Milwaukee Bucks
defensive powerhouse Sidney Moncrief and “one call, that’s all” attorney
David Gruber will serve as the bartenders for the night, and there will
be food, music and a silent art auction courtesy of expressionist
painter Patricia Obletz. Admission is free, but organizers are
requesting a $50 donation.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Don Rickles @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
days of Don Rickles rolling with the Rat Pack and presiding over
celebrity roasts are long over, but that doesn’t mean Rickles has lost
his snarky touch. The venerable insult comic is as audacious as he was
in his heyday. Now 85, Rickles still manages to slot in some television
appearances—on a “Late Show” appearance, he tore into David Letterman
and fellow guest Denzel Washington for 20 minutes, much to their
delight—and the occasional film role (Casino, Dirty Work). Try
not to call too much attention to yourself if you go to one of Rickles’
performances, or he will single you out and ridicule you. For that
matter, don’t try too hard to not call attention to yourself, or he will also single you out and ridicule you. (Also Wednesday, April 25.)