• 2015: Live Music

    Posted 12/29/2015 by cal

    As I’ve ranted on twitter, 2015 was a fairly shitty year in terms of live music in Milwaukee. The Pabst group’s renaissance appeared to be over, as those venues welcomed lots of youtube sensations and actors and 88nine bands and not many artists I was very interested in seeing. What’s that? You say I’ve aged out of the venues’ target audience? Well shit. There were exceptions of course, and 2016 is already looking like it will destroy 2015 in this regard. We need slow years from time to time. And maybe the big events from this year will ultimately shine brighter in my memory for years to come. It certainly seems like they ought to. Here are the ones (excluding Altos and associated acts, since I'm married to an Alto and friends with the whole gang) that I most love reliving in my mind.

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  • The Best Shows I Saw In 2014

    Posted 12/23/2014 by cal

    In an effort to impress upon people who need these things explained the ultimate meaningless of the numbers involved in these lists I like to write, there is a tie for number one this year. The shows were so completely different and earth-shattering that I couldn't possibly choose. BUT THEN NUMBER TWO SHOULD REALLY BE NUMBER THREE. Are you happy now?

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  • Hot Tuna: Pabst Theater, 3/11/12

    Posted 03/14/2012 by cal

    As rock stars other than Paul McCartney age into their sixties, they tend to tone things down, stop releasing albums, mellow out and, if they’re still into playing live, strip down the performance to basically just sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar. This approach tends to work well if you’re, say, Ray Davies or Nick Lowe, and you have all these perfect pop songs that don’t need any additives to be amazing. It’s not so easy when you’re Hot Tuna. These guys are better known for their cover tunes, long jams and other bands than their songwriting. In case the names of founding members Jorma Kaukonen (guitar/vocals) and Jack Casady (bass) don’t ring a bell: they were also founding members of Jefferson Airplane. Yeah, they were at Woodstock? Rrrrright, let’s see…Remember the scene in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas when Benicio del Toro is in the bathtub begging Johnny Depp to throw the tape recorder in when “White Rabbit” peaks? No? *Sigh* Well, there’s always Wikipedia.

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  • AV Club, Et Cetera

    Posted 04/18/2011 by cal

    Just a quick note for anyone who doesn't get my Twitter/Facebook updates: I've been doing quite a bit of work for The Onion's AV Club lately; too much to put links to all of it here, in fact.  If you're interested, here are a few recent reviews

    Robert Plant and Band Of Joy @ The Riverside

    Bright Eyes @ The Pabst

    Sharon Van Etten @ The Pabst

    At this point, you can't really search for my name at the AV Club's website.  I hope I can get them to fix this at some point.  If you happen to be on Twitter, I'm @roachcraft.  Much more to come this week and in the future at You-Phoria, have no fear.  Thanks for reading!  We really do appreciate it.

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  • Top Ten Non-Phish Shows Of 2010

    Posted 01/20/2011 by cal

    This is the way it’s got to be for now.  If you read this blog with any regularity you’re probably sick of getting Phished to death anyway, but no other band puts on as good a show these days.  So I’ll skip writing about seven of the eight Phish shows I went to in 2010 (but for anyone interested, 10/16 was the best show I saw in 2010) and point out some of the other amazing nights of the year.  In narrowing down this list, it became clear that 2010 has to be my new best year ever; some truly mind-blowing shows didn’t even make the cut.

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  • Pavement: Pabst Theater, 9-14-10

    Posted 09/21/2010 by cal

    Critics can chide Stephen Malkmus in their sleep for his obstinate lack of enthusiasm in fronting his old band; it’s as tired a tack as the group’s slacker legacy demands.  Fans of Pavement are just happy that the old tensions between Malkmus and guitarist Scott Kannberg haven’t arisen and sabotaged this reunion tour.  Early on in the tour, the band’s languid approach may have resulted in some uninspired shows (AHEM Pitchfork), but there was no trace of laziness at the Pabst Theater on Tuesday night--except in the audience, where that old 90s lethargy was alive and well in the mostly seated and/or motionless crowd.

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  • Public Image Ltd.: Pabst Theater, 4.30.10

    Posted 05/03/2010 by cal

    “Don’t blame me if you don’t like it”, said John Lydon, a couple songs into PiL’s powerful set Friday night.  “These songs actually mean something to me.”  You could justifiably denounce his reunion tours with the Sex Pistols as shameless money-grabs; he freely admitted it at the time, and it’s doubtful that songs like “Holidays In The Sun” or “E.M.I.” have much meaning for him these days.  But PiL was always the more personal project for the erstwhile Johnny Rotten, and it showed tonight.


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  • Trey @ The Pabst Theater, 2.18.10

    Posted 04/14/2010 by cal

    What can you say about a band whose first songwriting effort yielded "First Tube"?

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