If I learned anything from punk, it's that sometimes you gotta stop asking for what you want and do it yourself. Hence, Carmen Consoli plays at the Miramar Theatre on Monday, Sept. 29.
In 1985, I was in a band called The Blowtorch and we wanted to play with Billy Bragg. Solution? We hounded the UWM programming folks and Jeff at The Landing (later called The Tasting Room) and Bragg got booked. And we opened for him for the first time.
I've never forgotten the lesson learned. Sometimes if you want something, you've got to go out and get it for yourself.
So, after more than five years of listening to Sicilian-born singer and songwriter Carmen Consoli nearly non-stop and seeing her twice, I've finally succeeded in getting the powers at be to bring Carmen to the Miramar Theatre as part of her seventh U.S. jaunt.
Now, I didn't book the show -- I don't have the authority to do that -- but it was booked because of my forceful insistence. That's great and all, but now it's on me to make sure people go and check Consoli out. Otherwise, I'm in the doghouse!
She's guested on a disc by Natalie Merchant ("Ophelia"), collaborated with Angelique Kidjo, has been compared to Tori Amos, Shakira and Alanis Morissette, is reportedly doing some dates with Ani Di Franco in September, and is a big fan of the classic blues singers. Even Elvis Costello is a fan.
"She and her band played more original musical ideas in her first three songs than most American, or for that matter, English bands manage in a whole evening," enthused Costello after seeing Carmen at Joe's Pub in New York.
The New York Times has raved about Consoli, too. Jon Pareles wrote, "...an Italian singer and acoustic guitarist whose volatile songs signaled passion across the language barrier."
Don't miss this rare chance to see the great Carmen Consoli in an intimate solo performance. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door for the all ages performance (drinking with I.D.).
So, please check out her site below, listen to some of the music and come down and see her at the Miramar. It'll be the best $10 you spend all year. I promise.
And if you have friends in Italy, you can wow them with the fact that you saw Carmen in a small venue when they all have to line-up outside the big places to get a glimpse of her.
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.