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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wed
Hi: 47
Lo: 38
Thu
Hi: 52
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Fri
Hi: 44
Lo: 32
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Hope you're thirsty, Milwaukee.
Hope you're thirsty, Milwaukee.

Sharing the wealth: a beer for every Milwaukeean

I decided this morning that if I win the Mega Millions lottery tonight, I am buying every Milwaukeean a beer.

The winnings now total a historic $640 million and the odds of winning are one in 176 million. But Milwaukee, if I win, and I have a good feeling about this, I promise to buy each and every Brew City resident a Lakefront Brewery beer.

East Side Dark, Riverwest Stein, Snake Chaser, IPA, Klisch, Cream City Pale Ale, Wheat Monkey, New Grist, E.S.B.– you pick, I don't care. Just come find me and hit me up – I'll be dancing on the roof of Hooligan's awaiting my flight to Cabo.

No greetings for Wisconsin.
No greetings for Wisconsin.

Minnesota hates us: who knew?

I have lived in Wisconsin my entire life and only recently did I learn that Minnesota hates us. Well, OK, that's a bit of an overstatement. However, I did recently realize that some Minnesotans have a beef with us.

While visiting the Mall of America I saw a T-shirt that said "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive To Wisconsin."

Huh.

I asked my Minnesotan friends about this and they said that a lot of their people don't dig Wisco because of the Brett Favre shenanigans and because a lot of folks live in Wisconsin but work in Minnesota.

"Your provincial-type Minnesotans see that as outsourcing or something," one friend said.

A weekly paper in Minneapolis goes so far as to keep a blog called "Weird Wisconsin," to which writers contribute stories about news items they find humorous.

Granted, the recent stories about Dane County residents Melinda Drabek-Chritton and Chad Chritton locking their daughter in the basement and starving her are weird, if not disturbing, but taken as a whole, the blogs paint an even bleaker picture: these Minnesotans have odd opinions about their neighbors to the east.

Perhaps these Minnesotans are not familiar with the contents of the book "Weird Minnesota."

Big concepts like "identity crisis" and "inferiority complex" are mixing with my other thoughts on Minnesota right now. It's funny, because in the southeasten part of the state, we sometimes have animosity towards Chicago-ans, but Minnesotans usually don't even make it onto our radar.

If anything, we don't think about Minnesota, particularly Minneapolis, enough.

Up until recently, when I heard Minneapolis, I thought, "Prince" and "harsh winter." That's about it. I have gone to the city a few more times in the past couple of years and I have enjoyed many places including Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge, Diamonds Coffee Shoppe, Nye's Polonaise Room, Holy Land and more.

My unsolicited advice? Go there if you can ... but beware.

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Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro rock the Eagles Ballroom.
Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro rock the Eagles Ballroom. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Farrell likes to get loud and kinky.
Farrell likes to get loud and kinky. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)

Jane's Addiction wasn't shocking, but definitely rocking

Expectations were high tonight for the Jane's Addiction show at the Eagles Ballroom. No one needs or wants to see a tired nostalgia show with bloated ticket prices and deflated entertainers. But no worries, folks, this was not at all the case with this evening's performance.

Tonight was the last show of the 2012 tour in support of the band's latest album, "The Great Escape Artist," released last year. The tour, which was extended for 15 more dates including Milwaukee, featured three-out-of-four of the original lineup: frontman Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and "new" bassist Chris Chaney. (Chaney replaced Eric Avery but has been with the band on and off for years).

"The Great Escape Artist" is the band's first studio release in eight years. Produced by Rich Costey (Muse, Nine Inch Nails), it peaked at No. 12 on The Billboard 200 and follows 2003's album, "Strays."

The show opened with Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" blaring over the elbow-to-elbow crowd. The band ripped right into "Underground" from their latest album and then delivered fan-favorite "Mountain Song" from the classic Jane's album "Nothing's Shocking."

To say the band was energetic would be an understatement. They were absolutely unstoppable. Perry and Navarro are clearly in great physical shape: Navarro was shirtless and Perry started out in a suit and tie but quickly stripped down to a bare chest and a skimpy black vest. They never stopped moving, performing, engaging the audience through eye contact, reach-outs and banter.

Farrell's eyes were bright and he was, at times, nothing short of a showman. Some of the lead-ins to songs were over-rehearsed, but there was a fair share of conversation that was strictly for Milwaukee – although a chunk of it was about Jeffrey Dahmer.

"Jeffrey Dahmer, what a douche bag," said Farrell. "Can you hear me from hell, Dahmer?"

However, Farrell also asked if Jerry Harrison from the Talking Heads was  from "around here" an…

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Henry Rollins, clearly annoyed with me for busting into the front row and taking photos.
Henry Rollins, clearly annoyed with me for busting into the front row and taking photos.

Rollins brings humorous, hardcore storytelling to Turner

At OnMilwaukee.com, we are stoked to be able to deliver reviews before anyone else in the city. We check out the show, then we go home and write the review immediately following.

For the first time in a decade of reviewing shows, however, I wish I had more time to contemplate what the hell just happened on stage.

I saw Henry Rollins tonight perform a three-hour spoken word performance at Turner Hall Ballroom. I have never seen anything like it. The 51-year-old Rollins, who looked as tattooed and buff as ever in his black T-shirt and black pants, spoke non-stop, without taking so much as a single sip of liquid, and told intelligent, political and entertaining story after story.

"I'm a 33 playing at 78," he warned.

Rollins, who once fronted '80 punk band Black Flag and later The Rollins Band, is also a writer, comedian, publisher, actor and radio DJ.

He started his spoken word performance tonight by saying, "Thank you for taking half of your weekend and giving it to me" and delivered dozens of stories that flowed gracefully, one from the next, about such a wide variety of topics it's impossible to understand in retrospect how it all fit together. And yet it did.

Turner Hall was packed with fans and yet during the lengthy show only one time did someone yell out something at Rollins. People were mesmerized. Plus, the sound was really good.

For the first 15 minutes of the show, Rollins spoke about Abraham Lincoln, "rugged individualism" and Americans' lifestyle choices. He basically said so many Americans are afraid of overseas dangers and yet are killing themselves.

"We are snuffing out the American candle with corn chips and inactivitiy," he said.

Rollins went on to speak about Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Florida boy who was killed for "looking suspicious" by a man who, at this point, remains free. Rollins sees this as an important reflection of present-day America and a prediction of the country's future.

"However this gets worked out will be the report …

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