Music

Lady Gaga to sing anthem at Super Bowl

Written by The AP Friday, 05 February 2016 11:29

Lady Gaga is set to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

Tony-winning actress and "Let It Go" singer Idina Menzel sang the national anthem at last year's Super Bowl.

New music: Panic! At the Disco, Savages, Coasts, Sierra Hull

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 28 January 2016 09:24

Lead vocalist Brendon Urie is now the only official group member of Panic! At the Disco, but he hasn’t lost any of the band’s trademark frenetic energy in the mature, conceptually tight Death of a Bachelor. Inspired by Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, Urie appealingly croons on the album’s title song and the closing ballad “Impossible Year.” “Crazy=Genius” is a winking look in the mirror set to warped big band drums and horns. “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” kicks off with the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” guitar riff in a clever farewell to the party life, due to Urie’s marriage, a sobering influence on his life and this album. As always for Panic records, Death of a Bachelor is a dizzying melting pot of genres and styles, but there are moments of brilliance that sink in well with repeated listening.

New music: David Bowie, Rachel Platten, Grizfolk, Dylan LeBlanc

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Friday, 15 January 2016 14:14

David Bowie :: ‘Blackstar’: Released on David Bowie’s 69th birthday, only a two days before he died on Jan. 10, Blackstar arrives just three years after The Next Day. It continues in that album’s experimental mood, but is warmer and more approachable. The title track that opens Blackstar is its most idiosyncratic, a 10-minute, cinematic epic that majestically sprawls from drum and bass dance music to avant-garde jazz. “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” takes the sounds of Bowie’s ‘80s pop smashes and sets them free. The gorgeous ballad “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is the greatest example of the album’s struggling with themes of mortality while Bowie’s sound steps boldly ahead. Bowie’s death casts a new light on the album, revealing it as an elegant goodbye. The song “Lazarus” in particular references his losing battle with cancer, closing with the words, “You know I’ll be free just like that bluebird. Now ain’t that just like me?”

New music: Coldplay, Troye Sivan, Tom Jones, Babyface

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Monday, 21 December 2015 14:43

To even the most hardcore Coldplay fans, last year’s Ghost Stories, put together in the wake of Chris Martin’s breakup with Gwyneth Paltrow, might have sounded a little mopey. The one exception was the band’s collaboration with Avicii, “A Sky Full of Stars,” a top 10 hit that pointed in a more upbeat direction for the future. That moment is here on A Head Full of Dreams. With pop-soul producers StarGate in tow, songs like “Fun” and “Hymn for the Weekend” lift us up again. Paltrow even makes a guest appearance on “Everglow,” seemingly to let us know all is OK going forward. Don’t look for deep revelations about life here — this album doesn’t have the power of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. But if you want some reassurance that the sun will come out after hard times, Coldplay is again your band.

Run-DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers to perform pre-Super Bowl show

Written by The AP Thursday, 04 February 2016 08:10

Run-DMC will open up for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a pre-Super Bowl concert in San Francisco.

The famed rap group is expected to hit the stage at the sixth annual DirecTV Super Saturday Night concert party at Pier 70. The show is an invitation-only event co-hosted by Mark Cuban's AXS TV.

Milwaukee Symphony plays Bartók and Tchaikovsky’s final works

Written by Kirstin Roble,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 28 January 2016 09:00

Orli Shaham will perform Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto in an MSO program including Tchaikovsky’s last symphony.
—Photo: Christian Steiner

At the end of January, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will present a meeting of titans. The final major works by Béla Bartók and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, both expressions of the composers’ maturation and realizations of their mortality, will define this early 2016 program.

The Sets List: Patti LaBelle, Local Coverage, FemFest, Tortoise , Josh Ritter

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Thursday, 14 January 2016 22:17

Her delicious “Patti Cakes” have her in the news these days, but Patti LaBelle is more than just a viral sensation. Her 50-year career, beginning as the soulful leader of LaBelle and the Bluebelles in the 1960s and ‘70s before going solo and finding crossover success in the ‘80s with songs like “On My Own,” stands on its own as a worthy reason to catch her Riverside show. 

UW-Madison to break ground on new Music Center

Written by Jay Rath,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 20 December 2015 14:41

A long-awaited home for music performance at UW-Madison will soon be a reality, thanks to a recent $25 million gift from the Mead Witter Foundation.

Fans of the riot grrrl scene went nuts when 1990s punk band Sleater-Kinney announced that they’d be reuniting in 2014, but they might have missed an even bigger reunion by one of the acts that inspired S-K. Babes in Toyland never called themselves riot grrrls, but the three-woman act didn’t have to — they could rock as hard as any of their punk contemporaries in the late 1980s/early ‘90s. After disbanding at the end of the decade, the group has pulled itself back together a decade and a half later to prove that punk isn’t dead unless you want it to be. La Crosse act Porcupine and Madison band PowerWagon open.

Perfect Harmony carries on 20-year musical mission

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 28 January 2016 08:41

When Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus performs at the Stoughton Opera House on Feb. 6, it will be one more chance for the Madison-based, LGBT and LGBT-friendly choral group to carry on its musical missionary work in Wisconsin.

“We’ve been successful in bringing these programs to small towns and communities that don’t have a visible LGBT presence,” says artistic director Ken Forney, who also leads Milwaukee’s City of Festivals Men’s Chorus. “Success depends on who is on the ground in the community helping us, something other LGBT choruses in other parts of the country also have experienced.”

Midnight Reruns takes a victory lap opening for Tommy Stinson

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 14 January 2016 12:36

Midnight Reruns and Platinum Boys will open for Tommy Stinson on Jan. 21 at Turner Hall Ballroom, 1040 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee. Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are $10, $12 day-of-show. Visit pabsttheater.org or call 414-286-3205 to order.
—PHOTO: Courtesy

Midnight Reruns had a very good 2015. By the time December drew to a close, the Milwaukee punk/power pop band was able to rightly trumpet on Facebook their status as one of the city’s most celebrated bands of the year. With just two full-length albums under their belts — including this year’s release, Force of Nurture, which numerous local publications counted among the best of the year — Midnight Reruns have risen to the top of the vibrant Milwaukee music scene.

Year in Review: Top albums in 2015

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 December 2015 11:10

Appearing at the height of national discussion about police violence targeting black people, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is a messy and powerful document about the state of being black in America. At times it is so dense it feels practically unlistenable. At other times, you may find yourself singing along to a chorus. Lamar delivered on the promise of his debut album and his work riveted attention like few other albums in 2015.