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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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The Times Cinema has been added to the Milwaukee Film Festival's list of locales.
The Times Cinema has been added to the Milwaukee Film Festival's list of locales.

2014 Milwaukee Film Festival adds the Times Cinema

The sun seems brighter. The birds' chirping sounds sweeter. My usual mid-afternoon lunch of Cheez-Its and Mountain Dew tastes better, like something that's not slowly rotting me from the inside. You know what that means: The Milwaukee Film Festival is coming.

Hyperbole (mostly) aside, the film festival – arguably one of the best cultural events this city does, and yes, the fact that I'm a movie junkie does bias me deeply – is barely two months away. Opening night is Sept. 25, which means that film fans should regularly expect announcements coming from Film Festival HQ. The first one came out this morning, including a significant addition to the festival: a new venue.

In addition to the successful rotation of the Oriental, the Downer and the Fox Bay movie theaters, the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival has recruited the Times Cinema to its Avengers team of old school Milwaukee movie houses.

"I am thrilled that we can partner with the Milwaukee Film Festival and bring the wonderful films that Milwaukee enjoys to the west side neighborhood of Washington Heights," said Times Cinema owner Lee Barczak in the press release issued this morning.

"It has always been my dream to be a part of this and expand the opportunities for the Festival and all of us who love movies. I hope this begins a long and prosperous relationship with Milwaukee Film Festival."

The Times originally opened in the Washington Heights part of Milwaukee back in 1935. It briefly closed, along with the Rosebud, back in 2012 but quickly reopened the same year after Barczak took over. 

The added venue will give the festival one more screen to spread its selections, as well as a working relationship with the Neighborhood Theater Group – which, in addition to the Times, also operates the Rosebud and currently mid-restoration Avalon. 

Over the years, the Milwaukee Film Festival has been seemingly trying to expand further out across Milwaukee, becoming more accessible to more parts of the city while st…

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Field Report's second album, "Marigolden," will be released Oct. 7.
Field Report's second album, "Marigolden," will be released Oct. 7.

Field Report premieres first song off upcoming second album

Milwaukee music fans - and fans of good music just in general - have been waiting since 2012 for news of a new record from Field Report and frontman Chris Porterfield.

After all, it seems like a long two years ago since Milwaukee native – and former Marquette Office of Student Affairs program coordinator – Porterfield and his band erupted onto the scene, touring and opening for Counting Crows and Aimee Mann, all while releasing a glowingly received self-titled debut.

Well, wait no more: The promise of "Field Report news in 2014" has finally been fulfilled. It first arrived late last month with the official announcement – teased through Instagram and YouTube videos – of the title for the band's sophomore album, "Marigolden," and its release date, falling on Tuesday, Oct. 7. The new record will be released by Partisan Records, who has recently been enjoying the success of recent Tonight Show performer Sylvan Esso and the buzzy neo-soul Madison group Phox

The good news keeps coming as well, as Field Report premiered "Wings," its first song off the new album, yesterday on Stereogum and Soundcloud. Click on either of the links (or both, if you're feeling randy) and have a listen. 

For the band's first album, Field Report worked a lot with friend and modern Wisconsin godfather of heart-heavy indie folk Justin Vernon. The two originally met up back in their DeYarmond Edison days in Eau Claire and then reunited back in 2011, where Vernon offered up his studio to Porterfield and his newly formed band for recording. The rest is rich, beautiful, ear-soothing history. 

Judging by "Wings," "Marigolden" sounds like it still has the Bon Iver-influenced, "lost in a cold dark woods with myself and my thoughts" traditional indie folk sound, but with a new added vibe of a kind of electro-folk Radiohead, with ethereal, evocative synths slowly glowing and illuminating in the background.

No fear, though, Field Report fans; pretty much everything you love about the band…

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Neo-soul outfit Fitz and the Tantrums delivered a fiercely energetic show Friday night.
Neo-soul outfit Fitz and the Tantrums delivered a fiercely energetic show Friday night. (Photo: Summerfest)

Fitz and the Tantrums provide their own funky Fourth of July fireworks

Forget the Big Bang. Scratch the Fourth of July fireworks. Who needs them when you’ve got Fitz and the Tantrums lighting up Summerfest with their own infectious brand of bright, colorful, explosive fun?

The last time Fitz and the Tantrums hit the Big Gig back in 2012, the trendy neo-soul outfit was placed on the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Stage (now the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage). It was certainly odd placement, choosing a moderately sized, closed-in venue for an increasingly popular band whose on-stage energy levels register well above moderately sized and could doubtfully ever be confined.  

Two years and several more hit singles later, Summerfest got it right, putting Fitz and the Tantrums on a stage – the Briggs and Stratton Big Backyard – worthy of their endless live electricity. There, lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick and company accepted their promotion and the demands of a bigger stage head on, delivering yet another contagiously energetic set that thrilled the crowd, filled to the brim with loud enthusiastic fans and one very peculiar owl on a stick (it was weird; don’t ask).

With a glowing blue heart-maze design in the background and a whole new album – last year’s "More Than Just a Dream" – of sassy breakup anthems in tow, the band cracked open the show with "Get Away" and "Don’t Gotta Work It Out." On both numbers, the energy levels were cranked to 11, with the audio mix rocking, Fitzpatrick’s vocals sounding great and getting the crowd moving, and his singing co-star Noelle Scaggs bouncing and grooving on stage as though her bones consisted solely of rubber and Slinkies (as well as bruising her tambourine to the beat with the joint duo of her hand and hip).

The group’s soulful sprint – though certainly not without interacting with the crowd – continued on into "Break the Walls." That was followed up by "Breakin’ the Chains of Love" and "Keepin Our Eyes Out." The former featured the first of many explosive and impressive sax s…

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Lead singer Jesse Rutherford and the rest of The Neighbourhood struggles through technical woes during their set Sunday night.
Lead singer Jesse Rutherford and the rest of The Neighbourhood struggles through technical woes during their set Sunday night. (Photo: Summerfest)

The Neighbourhood struggles through a disappointingly short set

With lyrics like "I don’t like you, f*ck you anyway," "you suck anyway" and "you make me wanna die," it’s safe to say that glum rockers The Neighbourhood don’t really need any more reasons to be angsty and angry. But that’s unfortunately exactly what happened Sunday night at the U.S. Cellular Stage, where some apparent behind-the-scenes technical issues sent the California-based rockers off the stage in a huff and the excited young crowd home disappointed.

It seemed to open strong, with the guys starting off as black silhouettes out on the smoky white stage, rocking out their set opener "Female Robbery." There was a brief audio dip and the lead guitar seemed very low, but a few mix issues are to be expected on the first couple of songs; otherwise, it was a good start.

The band’s cloudy California beach brand of moody rock sounded good and visually, the stage looked cool, with the boys seemingly in black-and-white (even the screen showed the concert sans color) and aided by black-and-white film and cartoon clips.

Things, however, were apparently not all good in The Neighbourhood. After the opener, lead singer Jesse Rutherford told the crowd essentially that it sucked, that they weren’t quite ready and for the fans to "pause your turn up." It’s hard to say what exactly the problem was – Rutherford would later describe it as "computer sh*t" – but something somewhere was wrong.

At first, the band seemed to be handling the situation above and beyond pros. Rutherford chatted a bit with the crowd, eventually performing the stripped down rap of "West Coast" as some "story time" before heading into "Sweater Weather," one of the band’s big radio hits.

The technical issues may have left the mix sounding a tad on the empty side, but then again, it was very minor. Plus, a "Pulp Fiction" clip of Vincent Vega dancing playing on a loop on a side screen made everything better.

After "Sweater Weather," the technical snafus seemed to be fixed, and The Neighbo…

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