By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 11, 2022 at 11:01 PM

Beth OrtonXWho

English singer and songwriter Beth Orton has always been challenging to pin down stylistically. Because she first garnered attention for collabs with The Chemical Brothers and William Orbit, it would’ve been tempting to think she was an electronica artist, but her first solo LP, “Trailer Park,” was a modern folk masterpiece, blending pop, folk and more.

 

Her next record, “Central Reservation,” continued her “folktronica” style with great collaborations with Ben Watt and others. Later, she’d collaborate with Scottish folk legend Bert Jansch. With her instantly recognizable voice and intriguing mix of seemingly disparate styles, Orton is a one of a kind.

Where

Beth OrtonX

The Pabst Theater, for her first Milwaukee show since she performed at Turner Hall Ballroom in 2012.

At the show, Orton was personable and chatty, seemingly impressed by the modest but engaged crowd. Because of the laundry facilities and other comforts provided by The Pabst team, Orton joked that coming to Milwaukee was like visiting one’s mother.

When

Heather Woods Broderick
Heather Woods Broderick.
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Friday night, with opener Heather Woods Broderick, who has performed with the bands Efterklang, Horse Feathers and Loch Lomond, and as backup to Sharon Van Etten, Laura Gibson and Lisa Hannigan. Broderick’s one-woman show was moody, with looped cello, ethereal keyboards and effects and bass heavy drum machine beats.

Why

Orton is touring the U.S. in support of her latest LP, “Weather Alive,” released in September on Partisan Records. Pitchfork raved that the record is Orton’s best ever. “These are fragile, isolating moments, and fittingly, ‘Weather Alive’ is the first of Orton’s eight records that she self-produced,” wrote Sam Sodomsky. “And while she has stated the experience of listening to it with other people has been ‘excruciating,’ the music creates a completely different effect when opened up to the world: It is immersive, soothing and communal."

Although Orton dipped into the back catalog for tunes like "She Cries Your Name," "Sweetest Decline" and "Blood Red River," she focused heavily on material from the new record.

How

Beth OrtonX

Orton, who played keyboards and guitar, was supported by a quintet in which Broderick also played keyboards and cello. A saxophonist/flutist and guitarist joined Broderick in layering swathes of sound over the solid foundation provided by the rhythm secdtion and Orton’s plaintive voice.

What

Beth OrtonX

Weather Alive
Friday Night
Fractals
Haunted Satellite
Sweetest Decline
Pass in Time
Arms Around A Memory
Forever Young
She Cries Your Name
Blood Red River
Unwritten

Encore:
Lonely
Shopping Trolley

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.