Everyone knew The .357 String Band was popular here at home, but it took a sell-out crowd at Turner Hall early last year to really knock it home that this raucous roots rock band had jumped up to another level.
That the venue ran out of PBR that night is a testament to the thirst that this band can whip up in its fans!
Now, The .357 String Band has a new disc, "Lightning From the North" -- its third full-length -- and it celebrates the release here in Milwaukee with a gig at -- where else? -- Turner Hall on Friday, Feb. 12.
Opening the $10, 7 p.m. show are Pupy Costello and His Big City Honky Tonk and 6 Day Bender.
"We feel thrilled and honored that Milwaukee has supported us the way it has," says Derek Dunn, guitarist for the band that has spent the last year ripping up stages at venues around the country and around the world.
"We love playing Milwaukee more than anywhere else in the world."
The new disc -- which has a great paean to Cream City called "Milwaukee, Here I Come" -- has all the fire and fury of previous outings, mixing bluegrass sounds and traditions with a punk spirit and attitude ... with no drums. Think Bill Monroe meets Shane MacGowan.
"I think this record is a reflection of the places that we've gone and the changes that we've made in the last two years, both personally and as a band," says Dunn.
"That being said, a lot of those changes are natural expressions of growth very firmly rooted in the things that we've already done, and the territory that we've already covered." --Bobby Tanzilo
The Saints won the Super Bowl and New Orleans is gearing up for Mardi Gras. If you want to get in the party spirit, put on some beads and check out a show by Cowboy Mouth, which headlines the Northern Lights Theater on Tuesday and Wednesday. Front man Fred LeBlanc and the gang is always worth the price of admission ($15, in this case) and this time around have brought Arizona guitar whiz Junior Brown along for the ride. --Drew Olson
Collections of Colonies of Bees has been around for a long time, but 2009 was a big year for the band, both on a local and national level. The experimental instrumental group teamed up with fellow Wisconsinite Justin Vernon (who you might know better as the one-man powerhouse of Bon Iver) to form Volcano Choir. Although the project was years in the making, Jagjaguwar officially released its debut, "Unmap " in last September of last year. But Volcano Choir is only one part of this Milwaukee-based band. If you haven't yet had the chance to see Collections of Colonies of Bees in action, you can catch a live show Thursday, Feb. 11 at the Cactus Club. Show time is 9 p.m. -- Julie Lawrence
Long live the affection for British Rock tribute bands. This Friday, relive the mania with local tribute bands, Substitute: Tales from the Who and Kinda Kinks, in support of the United Performing Arts Fund. The double headlined show will take you right from the Kinks’ swinging 60s to the height of The Who in the 70s with renditions of both favorite classics and lesser-known hits all played with authentic era gear and a light show to match. The event, "UPAF Rock for the Arts," kicks off at 8 p.m. at Shank Hall. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will go to support local UPAF projects. For details, check out www.upaf.org.-- Maureen Post