News Column

Brian Wilson; Chris Tomlin; Blue October; Kate Nash; Limousines; Jacuzzi Boys; City and Colour

October 24, 2013

YellowBrix

Oct. 24--8 p.m. Wednesday, Riverside Theater, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave. $59.50 to $89.50 at the box office, (414) 286-3663 and pabsttheater.org.

There were times over the years when seeing Brian Wilson and guitar master Jeff Beck perform seemed impossible, and yet here they'll be Wednesday, sharing a stage ahead of a forthcoming album, possibly two, that they have collaborated on.

Wilson, 71, was the instrumental creative force behind the Beach Boys and its landmark 1966 psychedelic pop opus, "Pet Sounds." "Pet Sounds" went on to inspire the Beatles' masterpiece "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," and its influence continues to this day, from the soulful male harmonies in folk group the Fleet Foxes, to Bon Iver's baroque pop ambitions, to the lyrical longing and meticulous pacing in Radiohead's "OK Computer." Deeply troubled by mental health problems and drug addiction, Wilson finally completed his visionary, long-shelved "Pet Sounds" follow-up "Smile" in 2004, and he was celebrated anew.

Beck, 69, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, with the Yardbirds and as a solo artist, jumping genres from prog rock and jazz fusion with ease. But Beck's output was sporadic over the decades. When active, he made enough of an impression to achieve his esteemed status, from his short-lived Jeff Beck Group at the start of the '70s, led by Rod Stewart, to the 2011 live album "Rock 'n' Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul)," paying tribute to the late guitar pioneer from Waukesha.

The show also will feature a mini-Beach Boys reunion with appearances from Al Jardine and David Marks.

COHEED AND CAMBRIA

7:30 p.m. Friday, the Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave. $27.50 and $36.50 general admission at the box office, (414) 342-7283 and therave.com.

A synopsis of "Coheed and Cambria" -- the doomed lovers whose saga forms the basis for most of the albums by the band called Coheed and Cambria -- would fill half this page and still not account for all the twists, turns and supplemental material -- including graphic novels that help fill in the "Amory Wars" story.

The band's own tale takes up less space: Forming in 2001 from the remains of another group, Coheed and Cambria set out to be unashamedly ambitious, combining grandiose elements of progressive rock with the energy of myriad punk and metal subgenres and also using the music to buttress a long-running science-fantasy narrative.

In 2002, CAC issued "The Second Stage Turbine Blade," its first album but actually the second installment in a five-part series that seemed to conclude with 2010's "Year of the Black Rainbow," a prequel to the first four studio albums. Yet the band and primary songwriter Claudio Sanchez have shown renewed ambition with the two-part "The Afterman," the second half of which, "Descension," came out in February.

Balance and Composure and I the Mighty also are on the bill.

-- Jon M. Gilbertson,

Special to the Journal Sentinel

CHRIS TOMLIN

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Milwaukee Theatre, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave. $26 to $35 at the box office, (800) 745-3000 and ticketmaster.com.

It's not uncommon to hear God or Jesus mentioned at a country show, but it was still a welcome surprise when the Band Perry slid in a cover of "Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)" into its set last year. It was just further evidence showing how far the song's originator, Chris Tomlin, has come in popular culture. It was fitting, too, for the country band to cover the Christian artist, since Tomlin learned to play guitar from country artists, inspired in particular by Willie Nelson.

Tomlin wrote his first worship song at 14, but his vision formed in college, where he befriended pastor Louie Giglio and released his first album, "The Noise We Make," on Giglio's label, sixstepsrecords. Within a few years, Tomlin became a leading light in the Christian music world, with songs like "How Great Is Our God" and "Forever" becoming among the most popular contemporary songs sung in Christian churches in the U.S.

Tomlin won his first Grammy in 2012, and earlier this year he was only the fourth contemporary Christian artist to have an album, the sweeping "Burning Lights," debut at the top of the Billboard charts. Yet he's remained loyal to those who helped his career in the beginning: "Lights" was released by sixstepsrecords, and that influential pastor, Giglio, is the opening act on Tomlin's tour.

-- Piet Levy,

plevy@journalsentinel.com

BLUE OCTOBER

7:30 p.m. Saturday, the Rave. $24 and $31 general admission.

It might excite some fan, somewhere, that the band Blue October is playing in Milwaukee in October. It probably excites more area fans that the Texas band is playing here, period. When Blue October started out in the late '90s, it was just one among many rock groups influenced but not beholden to grunge, and it had a fairly emotive and relatively subtle singer in the person of Justin Furstenfeld.

By 2003, the band scored a hit with "Calling You"; by 2006 and 2007, it scored a bigger hit with "Hate Me" and the album "Foiled." Its more recent albums have struggled to expand the musical palette with synthesizers and genre jumps, and Furstenfeld's angst can seem pettier now.

The Unlikely Candidates and Tori Vasquez will begin and continue the evening.

-- Jon M. Gilbertson

JACUZZI BOYS

10 p.m. Saturday, Cactus Club, 2496 W. Wentworth Ave.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with rock 'n' roll that appeals to intelligent adults, but bands who prefer the original purpose of the music -- teenage kicks, daddy-o -- do the form and its fans a service.

Jacuzzi Boys like their rock 'n' roll simple and dirty and covered in the echo and dust of the garages and basements in which young hopefuls used to practice making noise regularly. After gigging around their native Miami for a couple years, they issued their first album, "No Seasons," in 2009.

As they got older, they tightened their sound but kept their spirit, drawing attention ranging from those who saw the movie "50/50" (which featured one of their songs) to Iggy Pop, who stated that he dug them. Their third album, "Jacuzzi Boys," came out in September, thus allowing us to take in the autumn of the year with a blast of summery fun.

Fox Face and the Revenge Society will set up the headliner.

-- Jon M. Gilbertson

KATE NASH

8 p.m. Tuesday, Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. 4th St. $15 at Pabst and Riverside Theater box offices, (414) 286-3663 and pabsttheater.org.

Long ago, in the age of MySpace supremacy, London singer-songwriter Kate Nash was one of its chief benefactors. After the now 26-year-old injured her foot, the housebound Nash worked on her songwriting and released some of her recordings to the social media site. Her sound spread across the web, leading to a major record deal and making her somewhat of an overnight sensation when her cute and cheeky piano pop song "Foundations" became a hit in the U.K. in 2007, prompting Nash to hastily release her debut album, "Made of Bricks," that year.

But Nash has done something MySpace probably should have done earlier: she's routinely keeping her sound fresh through reinvention. Her 2010 album "My Best Friend Is You" had a Motown vibe, and '50s girl groups, surf rock and early punk are key influences on this year's "Girl Talk."

La Sera, a.k.a. Katy Goodman from the vintage punk band Vivian Girls, opens Tuesday's show, the first date on Nash's latest tour.

-- Piet Levy

CITY AND COLOUR

8 p.m. Tuesday, Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St. $30.

City and Colour is the gentler, more introspective, folk-and-country side of Dallas Green, an Ontario singer-songwriter who reached minor prominence Up North as the singer and guitarist for the post-hard-core band Alexisonfire. Even as that band continued, he issued his first City and Colour EP, "The Death of Me," in 2004.

The side project became Green's main outlet when Alexisonfire broke up in 2011, the same year his latest City and Colour LP, "Little Hell," topped the Canadian charts. His latest album, "The Hurry and the Harm," also has topped the charts there, but here a digital download of the release is part of the price of admission to this show.

Sleepy Sunwill open.

THE LIMOUSINES

8 p.m. Thursday, Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. $12 in advance, $14 day of show.

The Internet may not have killed the video star, as dance duo the Limousines insist on its best-known song. But one thing's certain: the Limousines wouldn't exist without the Internet. Multi-instrumentalist Giovanni Giusti and singer Eric Victorino were introduced to each other through a mutual friend, and essentially formed the band, and established its sound -- a modern take on synth-soaked '80s pop, similar to Passion Pit -- through online file sharing. It led to the 2010 album "Get Sharp" before the duo went out on its own, thanks to fans' financial support through Kickstarter, with this year's "Hush."

Alternative rock act Mona and whimsical boyfriend-girlfriend duo Dresses open.

-- Piet Levy

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