Johnny Hickman and David Lowery of Cracker
The beginning of February is a time for celebration, be it in the Old World forms of Imbolc and Candlemas, or in the American tradition of Groundhog Day, for the end of winter is in sight. Extend this weekend's parties and this morning's celebration with Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie, and hit the town for a blizzard of live music. This week's calendar includes: Ghost Town Council with the New Mountain Kickers, Michael Flately's Lord of the Dance, The Virgins, The Mighty Underdogs, Isodynamics, Javier Calderón, Cracker, Griffin House, and John the Savage.
Noteworthy: Vince Lombardi signs five-year contract to coach Green Bay Packers, 1959.
Birthdays: Gossip-mongering entertainment columnist Liz Smith, 1923; singer Shakira, 1977.
Cannery Square Plaza, Sun Prairie, 7 am
Punxsutawney Phil? Feh. We have our own meteorologically inclined groundhog, Sun Prairie's Jimmy, who will have something to say about our weather future at this cheerful annual event. (Actually we love the Punxsutawney-centric Groundhog Day movie; that moment when Bill Murray starts talking about Chekhov always makes us cry a little.)
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
Get a dose of real, down-home country with two local bands that know how to swing -- Western-style.
Noteworthy: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & Jake "Big Bopper" Richardson die when their plane crashes in Iowa snowstorm en route to Fargo, 1959.
Birthdays: Actress Blythe Danner, 1943; actor Nathan Lane, 1956.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
Thirteen years and numberless performances and DVDs later, dancer-choreographer Flatley's iconic creation jigs on and on. In the story, which draws on Irish folklore, the titular lord fights evil. With his dancing feet!
The Annex, 8:30 pm
The four lucky dudes known as the Virgins have opened for Sonic Youth and Patti Smith and made Rolling Stone's "Best 100 Songs of 2008" list with "Rich Girls." Tourmate Lissy Trullie couldn't look more like a thoroughly modern New York hipster but manufactures a kind of cool that's surprisingly accessible and old-school: think Velvet Underground and the Rolling Stones with a smidge of Andy Warhol. Anya Marina opens (see Tour Stop).
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Blackalicious' Gift of Gab and Latyrx's Lateef the Truth Speaker began playing around with some beats from Crown City Rockers producer Headnodic and found they had fantastic chemistry as a trio. Soon a hip-hop supergroup was born, along with a debut full-length, 2008's Droppin' Science Fiction, which features Mr. Lif, Lyrics Born, MF Doom and DJ Shadow. Dumate opens.
Noteworthy: Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, 1974.
Birthdays: Extemporaneously challenged former vice president Dan "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is" Quayle, 1947; proto-shock-rocker Alice Cooper, 1948.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
When they collaborate, MC Liquid Form and DJ Memory -- otherwise known as Isodynamics -- create dark, steamrolling hip-hop sounds that are at least as powerful live as they're likely to be on their new CD, which they're releasing this week. Also playing: Stink Tank, 9 Delegates, DJ Pain 1.
Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Hammerin' Hank Aaron, 1934; edgy actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, 1962.
UW Mills Hall, 7:30 pm
The UW prof, a native of La Paz, Bolivia, performs guitar works by Eduardo Caba, Eduardo Falu and J.S. Bach, among others.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
If you don't remember Cracker's singles "Low" and "Eurotrash Girl," chances are you didn't live through the '90s. Whether or not you did, get a taste of what 1993 was all about with a special acoustic set from the band, which is composed of guitarist Johnny Hickman and Camper Van Beethoven's David Lowery on vocals and -- you guessed it -- more guitars. Pieta Brown opens.
Orpheum Theatre's Stage Door, 9 pm
The Nashville-based singer and songwriter performs appealing, crisply written rock anchored by his strummed acoustic guitar. His "I Remember (It's Happening Again)" is a sober, restrained antiwar song -- the best kind. Also appearing: Charlie Mars.
Frequency, 10 pm
Part psych-rock and part Captain Beefheart -- with some gypsy folk, growling and '60s lounge thrown in -- John the Savage has quickly established itself as one of Milwaukee's favorite bands. Will Madison join the club? Attend the show and cast your vote. Also playing: Strange Arrangement, Elf Lettuce.