Days after his ‘farewell’ here, Elton John adds another Milwaukee show

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The long-running joke about farewell tours is they usually take some liberties with the word “farewell.” Kiss played their first farewell tour way back in 2000, for instance, and they’re currently in the middle of another one. But even by the squishy standards of farewell tours, this news is pretty head-turning: Days after taking what was billed as his final bow in Milwaukee, Elton John has announced that he’ll be back for another show here.

The legendary singer-songwriter played a nearly three-hour sold-out show at Fiserv Forum on Saturday, and now the venue has announced he’ll return for an encore on April 28 as his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour continues.

Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Nov. 1 at Prices have not yet been announced.  

Elton John | Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a description of the show from the press release:

Taking the audience on a magical journey through his career, the show features some of Elton’s most beloved songs from his legendary catalogue including, “Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” and “Philadelphia Freedom.” Elton’s music has taken him to many places, opened many doors and inspired many passions in his life. The audience will experience a rare glimpse into Elton’s life and the deeply personal meaning behind some of his greatest hits, with mesmerizing, never-before-seen photos and videos shown throughout the show from his incredible 50-year career.

But, of course, fans who saw the concert on Saturday already knew that.

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Heavy Hand’s latest deserves to be sponsored by Pert Plus

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The fourth release from Milwaukee trio Heavy Hand is a fast, high-energy, aggressive kick to the gut that will knock all the dirt and grim right off ya.

The 10-track release is tagged with the usual suspects — punk, rock, indie rock — but also throws some refreshing curveballs: fluffy kitties and kindercore.

Heavy Hand | Photo by Mike Olen

Recorded at Howell Street Recordings with Shane Hochstetler and mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering, the “Get Soft Get Clean” release is, as Heavy Hand says, a tight “love letter to Pert Plus” and should be listened to while “you be Pertin’ your hair.” The amp’d up dirty-yet-so fresh, so clean record is overall a fun, head-thrashing, and rejuvenating helluva time.

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Holy Pinto tours the heartland in his ‘Acquaintances, Friends; Love Ends’ video

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Nobody writes about breaking from the past quite like Aymen Saleh of the indie-pop project Holy Pinto. His group’s charmer of a new album “Adult” is a eulogy to youth, filled with wry yet tender prose about the ironies and indignities of adulthood.

It turns out that record wasn’t the only music Holy Pinto had in the pipeline for this year. Saleh is closing out 2019 with what he’s dubbed his “Holy Trinity Singles Club,” a promise to release a new song each month for the rest of the year. Today he shared the first of the bunch, “Acquaintances, Friends; Love Ends,” a song that finds the British expat adjusting to his new life in America’s heartland with his usual mix of humor and melancholy.

Holy Pinto | Photo credit: Kelly Bolter

The video is a treat, too. It documents Saleh’s quest to drive the biggest vehicles he can find, an exercise that — without spoiling too much — takes him to terrain he never imagined.

“I wanted to shoot a video where I went on a journey where I’m hopping between vehicles and the vehicle kept getting bigger,” Saleh tells Radio Milwaukee. “It was originally meant to be more of an artsy, casual, less engrossing story and more of a ‘visual component’ to the song. I wanted it to start on a scooter, then go through a car and pickup truck and hopefully, just maybe, end up on tractor… then I met this guy called Aaron out in rural Wisconsin and it all got out of hand.”

Watch the video below.

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Get in the local Halloween spirit with our Spooky Milwaukee playlist

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Your Halloween party deserves better than “Thriller” and “Monster Mash.” At some point the world stopped updating its Halloween playlists and we all started settling for a shuffle of the same tired old staples. Sure, you might luck out and attend a party that slips “Pet Sematary” or “Goodbye Horses” into the playlist, but chances are you’re going to be stuck listening to songs you burned out years ago.

So we’ve created something a little fresher for you this year: a completely local playlist of moody, morose and macabre music. Spanning ghoulish rap, gruesome punk and gloomy post-punk fit for a USA Network broadcast of an ’80s Stephan King movie, our Spooky Milwaukee playlist has it all: vampires, witches, ghosts, zombies and a general sense of impending doom. We even threw in some black metal at the end.

In the spirit of the season, we also mined the Milwaukee music graveyard for this one, digging up some old corpses from late, lamented local favorites. Die Kreuzen? Check. Temper Temper? You bet. Drugs Dragons? Let’s get it.

Stream our Spooky Milwaukee playlist below.

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WebsterX, Immortal Girlfriend and Bravo are Backline’s fall 2019 artists

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Backline has announced the third group of Milwaukee musicians selected for its intensive 12-week accelerator program. R&B and pop singer Bravo, the electro-pop duo Immortal Girlfriend and rapper WebsterX were chosen by a national panel of judges from more than 300 applications.

A collaboration between 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and gener8tor, Backline takes a startup accelerator approach to the Milwaukee music scene, providing selected artists with $20,000 grants as part of an intensive mentorship program tailored to each artist’s needs. The artists have already begun that 12-week program.

“This cohort is very special,” Backline Program Director Mag Rodriguez said in a statement. “These artists represent what makes Milwaukee such a rich and diverse music city. Just in the last month of starting the program, we have accomplished so much, and we expect a big year for all of them in 2020.”

Learn more about these artists below.


WebsterX | Photo credit: Nick Edmonds 

One of the leading figures in Milwaukee’s current hip-hop renaissance, WebsterX garnered national attention for his 2015 single “Doomsday,” and has remained a favorite of rap blogs and local festivals ever since. A founding member of the city’s New Age Narcissism collective, he’s opened for acts like Earl Sweatshirt, D.R.A.M. and Lupe Fiasco, and has been a champion of all-ages spaces in the city as a co-founder of the youth organization Freespace and a board member of the music venue The New State. Last year he followed up his 2017 album “Daymares” with a series of new singles.

Immortal Girlfriend

Immortal Girlfriend | Photo credit: Ariel Kassulke 

Brothers William and Kevin Bush made their debut as the electronic duo Immortal Girlfriend with their retro-tinged 2017 “Daybreak” EP, and in the two years since the two have become one of the city’s most active live acts, performing at Flannel Fest, the Bay View Bash, Chill on the Hill, 414 Live and club stages all over the city. 88Nine has played their songs “Summer Dream,” “Happy Idiot” and “Daybreak.”


Bravo | Photo credit: Ashley Wendt

“A lifelong singer with a voice and personality that cuts through the clutter of music being released each day, Bravo’s plan is to bring flavor, soul and purpose to popular music,” according to his Backline bio. You can find him on Facebook.

See them live at the Radio Milwaukee Music Awards

Backline’s fall artists will perform along with the program’s spring artists — REYNA, Klassik and Kaylee Crossfire — at the 12th annual Radio Milwaukee Music Awards at Turner Hall Ballroom Dec. 14. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5:30 p.m.). Online voting for the music awards begins Nov. 6 at

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Sleepy Gaucho’s latest release feels like a late summer desert dream

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The globally influenced Milwaukee artist Sleepy Gaucho is back with another Pan-American psychedelic track that’s reminiscent of warm summer nights and desert landscapes.

The latest release from Sleepy Gaucho is an ode to a fleeting moment everyone encounters at some point in their life. “I’ve always though there is a certain beauty to a brief encounter, someone you might catch eyes with but will probably never see again. That’s Lucy, wherever she is,” he explains.

Sleepy Gaucho | Photo by Scotify

The licks and slide guitars are prominent and caught between comforting harmonies and nostalgic melodies. Featuring Patrick Sansone of alt-country ‘fit Wilco, the folk-inspired track is a consoling welcome to what you’d expect the Wild West to sound, and feel, like.

Listen below.

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Summerfest announces plan to bring more outside concerts to its amphitheater and pavilion

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Next year Summerfest will unveil its new American Family Insurance Amphitheater, a cutting-edge, $53 million overhaul of its existing facility. And now Summerfest’s nonprofit parent company Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. has announced plans to keep that venue busy even outside of its flagship festival.

Milwaukee World Festival has partnered with the Madison-based concert promotion company Frank Productions Concerts (FPC Live) to co-promote concerts at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater and BMO Harris Pavilion. FPC Live owns and operates four Madison venues (The Sylvee, Orpheum Theatre, Majestic Theatre and High Noon Saloon) as well as two Missouri venues.

The agreement grants FPC Live “preferred booking rights to all national touring shows” at those venues outside of Summerfest. Summerfest will continue to be booked in-house.

Rendering for the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater | Courtesy of Summerfest

“As we look forward to the grand opening of the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater next June, we are excited to begin this new relationship to continue our legacy as Milwaukee’s premier destination for music during the summer,” Summerfest President and CEO Don Smiley said in a statement. “With $53 million in upgrades to the venue, our goal is to host as many concerts as possible during our festival season.”

No shows have yet been announced for Summerfest’s 23,000-seat amphitheater or its 5,000-seat pavilion. But in a statement, FPC Live President Charlie Goldstone sounded an ambitious note.

“The combination of Henry Maier Festival Park’s longstanding history with Frank Productions’ 50 years of producing Wisconsin’s biggest concerts is going to lead to a successful future of more live events on Milwaukee’s lakefront,” Goldstone said. “We are thrilled to announce this relationship, and we cannot wait to get started.”

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Supertentacles’ new single reminisces on the 17th century lifestyle

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Earlier this year, Milwaukee based multi-instrumentalist/producer Supertentacles debuted his full self-titled EP. A mix of indie, pop-rock and experimental, the album pulled from unexpected styles and new techniques out of Sean Anderson’s ordinary wheelhouse.

Transitioning from the familiarity of his string background, the new moniker delves into his (comparatively) newfound love of production and takes a synth-heavy approach.

The Last of the Salamander Kings” is no different. While on extended trip in Europe, Sean Anderson was inspired by the lifestyle of the rich and famous of the past. With his historic surroundings and inspiration, the latest single was a blend of stories of the past and sounds of the present.

“The lyrics stem from a road trip we took in the Loire Valley to see a bunch of old Chateaus,” Anderson explains. “They were these crazy castles that French royalty used as vacation homes and to host parties. There’s a reoccurring symbol at all these chateaus of a crowned salamander, which King Francis I adopted as his sigil.

Supertentacles | Photo courtesy of artist

Also, I literally did get stopped at the entrance of one of the chateaus because I had a crossbow in my backpack. It only shoots wine corks though.”

Listen to the 1600s party recap below.

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Von Alexander flaunts his romantic side on ‘Wildfire’

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Every week, 88Nine brings you a fresh track from a Milwaukee artist. They send it to us. We post it here. You hear it before everyone else.

For today’s premiere, we’ve got a suave track from Milwaukee rapper Von Alexander and his upcoming album “I Can’t Die,” due tomorrow. You can stream “Wildfire” below.

Von Alexander | Photo credit: @byawillmke
Von Alexander – “Wildfire”

First impressions

Von Alexander already had our interest piqued for his upcoming album “I Can’t Die” with his sumptuous single “Solange” and its artful music video. “Wildfire,” produced by Milwaukee’s Main.Key and SpiceGod, runs with a similarly romantic vibe, with a smooth chorus fit for crossover pop playlists. The pop trappings don’t distract from Von Alexander’s prose, though — his rhymes remain as understated and precise as ever.

Artists’ statement

The lyrics to this project can be described as confident, bold, fun, motivational and optimistic. The writing for this album comes from a place of outlook and therapy. Understanding where you are, realizing it is temporary, and writing the words that are going to help you move forward in all aspects.

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Milwaukee artist You Should Know: Marielle Allschwang

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Radio Milwaukee had a chat with multimedia artist and performer Marielle Allschwang, who recently performed a stunning song cycle with her band The Visitations devoted to the memory and works of Milwaukee visual artist Mary Nohl. We talked about that project as well as Allschwang’s musical trajectory.

The basics

Where they’re from: Milwaukee, Wis.
Songs you’ve heard on 88Nine: “Engineer,” “Dead Not Done”
RIYL: Collections of Colonies of Bees, Mary Nohl, David Lynch

Five questions with Marielle Allschwang

1. How did you get into music?

My dad had a pretty sweet record collection; mostly classic rock and this one record I was obsessed with at a really young age called “Poetry Readings in the Cellar.” One side was Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading over a jazz quartet. That was one of my first favorite records along with Velvet Underground with Nico, Jimmy Hendrix Experience. My dad wrote poetry when he was in his 20s and my grandfather on my dad’s side was a poet. Actually, he opened a coffee shop bookstore in Milwaukee called the Purple Eye. It was a beatnik hang, maybe that was one of his old records, but we loved Ferlinghetti in the Allschwang household.

2. How did it feel to go from playing small house shows to sold out shows at the Riverside and Bradley Center?

There is definitely an intensity to the experience and whatever rituals that go into what you do beforehand. To be able to be in a room and not necessarily be the performer, but to feel what it’s like when the person who is activating the piece/activating the room, whether or not they are directly engaging with you, you feel that. To feel that energy and have opportunities to contemplate how that happens or how you feel connected to that is definitely important. If you want to make great work or make work that connects with people, as nerve-wracking as it can be to try new things, it’s worth it. At least try to activate something similar. Coming out of my comfort zone, or contacting Dawn Springer to work on choreography, or do things I’ve never tried before have helped a lot.

3. How was transitioning from writing songs on your own to collaborating with people with other visions?

The solo performances definitely had more intricate finger-styling and chord progressions I felt could carry the songs. It was very important to me at the beginning of doing this to be self-sufficient. Aside from intimate collaborations that were songs recorded and shared with my circle of best friends from high school and college, I wasn’t really in a band. I don’t even think I thought of it as something I wanted to do, I was really focused on getting out into the world and seeing what other artists were doing and figuring out what I wanted to do.

When I met Group of the Altos, that was my first actual band. It was really special, because so many of us continued to collaborate for years after that. It also established a way to practice listening to different nuances and how everybody plays. It exercised discipline. Being able to both listen to the nuances of others and play to those things. Along the way you feel free to retreat into a space where you can experiment with your own style of playing. For me as a violinist who only played in school orchestras and learned classical songs, I was really interested in experimental music; drone and textures, and was just starting to discover what I could do with that. Altos was a really liberating opportunity to do that. That was one thing that was really cool, among many other things.

Marielle Allschwang | photo by Kyle La Mere

4. You met your collaborator and now husband in Altos…

Adam [Krause] was in a band called Deprong Mori at the time. They were playing with the idea of having me be part of that band. That never ended up happening, but Adam and I started making music together. He was working on a piece in collaboration with Ken Montgomery in New York who founded the Generator Sound Art Gallery, who has put out some of Adam’s music and is an experimental musician and really cool person. Adam wanted me to play violin on that. That’s a really minimalist textural piece. It was a really nice collaboration and maybe the juncture between our shared enthusiasm for minimal, careful songwriting and texture to us sitting down and crafting songs together. When we play guitar we both play finger style and are influenced by a lot of the same things, but our approaches are very different. We would sit there and go almost note-by-note for these really intricate parts. Every single harmony throughout totally surprised me. That was a really dynamic beginning of this other chapter of what became a duo project, and then a band. I was really surprised by this thing that would sound cool on its own, but together it’s come together as something that could progress… I feel like I’m talking about our relationship. But, that was the first really important and essential building block towards fleshing out songs I write or songs he writes in an interesting way.

5. You created a song cycle and film for Milwaukee visual artist Mary Nohl. Can you talk about that multimedia project and how it came about?

Five years ago, David Ravel approached me about what originally was thought to be a project involving various artists that were stewarded by the John Michael Kohler art center to write some music in response to an artist that the Kohler exhibited. That didn’t exactly come to fruition as a wider scale project, but David floated the idea of Mary Nohl. Seeing Mary Nohl’s work as a little kid, even brought up to me later as an art student outside of Wisconsin, that really intrigued me. It took about a year before I had a self-urgency to pursue this project despite it not having come to fruition as a series.

Around that time there was all this debate about whether Mary Nohl’s house and artwork would stay in Fox Point where it was created. At this point I thought it would all disappear. To think that you couldn’t drive past those sculptures anymore…

It was this thing that happens when you’re actually in the space, there is something really special about it. I hadn’t seen it in years, and what really spurred this project on was driving down Lake Drive and thinking, “I had better check this out while I can.” I turned down Beach Drive and it was a really grey morning and the waves were crashing and something about the acoustics of the space that morning was really different than going to Bradford Beach on a windy day or something. It really sounded like an ocean crashing and no one was outside. It was Easter morning and everyone was either in bed or in church so it was totally deserted. I scaled this fence crowned with barbed wire, I found a spot that wasn’t barbed and climbed over and just respectfully explored the outside of her house and communed with the sculptures there, and the trees, and the ground, and the sounds of the water and the entire environment as a collective experience and force. I was bewitched. From then on, I immediately started writing songs and felt deeply connected to this project and dove into research. About three songs in I finally told David this was something I was working on. That’s when it became “a thing” we would pursue through fruition to this multimedia project.

The film was Adam’s idea, because we were trying to figure out how to make it evoke the immersive-ness of the environment; how we would tie it to the artwork. Me and Adam and Heather Hass spent a day soaking in as much as we could onto our film cameras. Kelly Bolter was taking photos, I’m so glad she was able to come and record that process because it was definitely a valuable record of how we approached this part of the project but it was also important to me to have someone have photographs of women creating something in a space that women created. There are so many photos of men composing, and it’s great but I think seeing photos of women… Maybe an homage to Mary Nohl because there are so many myths about her. There is a photo of her working on the dinosaur sculpture on her lawn and it’s her and friends in the summertime, laughing and making art. The stereotype or archetype of Mary Nohl is she’s a recluse or secluded figure but she wasn’t. And there’s photographic proof of that.

It was cool to see Heather do live animation while we were shooting. She’s such a brilliant animator and does a lot of stuff in post, but she was doing some interesting things with how she used the camera, placed it, and played with light to animate the sculptures that we weren’t allowed to handle ourselves.

Listen to “Prescession of a Day: The World of Mary Nohl” by Marielle Allschwang & the Visitations:

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