You don’t have to remember Milwaukee’s legendary punk band The Haskels to head over to Shank Hall to see Polkafinger and The Blackholes Power Polka Machine, at 9 p.m. Friday.
Although Polkafinger’s Richard LaValliere was the singer and bassist for The Haskells and later the equally fine Oil Tasters, you don’t need any of that background to enjoy the Brooklyn trio’s punk rock polka.
"We're a three-piece punk / metal / polka band from Greenpoint, Brooklyn," is how Polkafinger, which is making its Milwaukee debut, describes itself.
"Our sound is evocative of a menacing and possibly fatal carnival ride. Among our most explored themes are beer and sausage and the loss or theft of said items. We consider Danzig a primary muse. Our set is comprised of all originals with the occasional polka standard thrown in for good measure."
Also on the bill is The Blackholes Power Polka Machine, fronted by Mark Shurilla, often called the Godfather of Punk Polka. Shurilla is the man behind the Grammy nominated "Polka Comes to Your Haus." He also wrote the Milwaukee baseball classic, "Warren Spahn," released as a 45 by The Blackholes.
"We've never been to Milwaukee before, and we're very excited. Richard has told us many amazing tales," says Polkafinger's Soraya Finger. "Apparently, the people are all radiantly beautiful and smell like orchids. When you say hello to a stranger, the stranger gives you a dollar. And, one beholds beer fountains and bratwurst trees everywhere you turn. It sounds too good to be true! But it must be. We've never known Richard to exaggerate.
"The people who come to our show should be ready to dance. Our preferred tactic is the frontal assault. We'll admit to some irony, but we are most definitely not camp. Nor are we purists. We love polka music. We treat it as a living, evolving form. We believe polka has a future, and we're suggesting a possible path."
Some other shows on the books this week include:
Madison/Milwaukee power pop outfit The Midwest Beat, which recently released its disc, "At the Gates" on Green Bay's Duck on Monkey label, plays with Bored Games, which celebrates the release of a new 10", on Monday, July 27 at Ground Zero at 8 p.m. Sugar Stems are also on the bill.
The Warped Tour hits the Marcus Amphitheater on Thursday, July 30 at 11 a.m. with a ton of bands in tow. Among them are All Time Low, Bad Religion, Escape the Fate, Less Than Jake, Saosin, Senses Fail, Shooter Jennings, Streetlight Manifesto and tons more. Tickets are $28.25.
The Hardcore Comedy Show is at the Cactus Club on Thursday, July 30 at 9 p.m. And things down in Bay View take a completely different turn the following night when Signaldrift is joined by Pressboard, Rich Dad and Made of Oak for a 10 p.m. for a show that based on Signaldrift’s own description will be "somewhere between shoegazing bliss and disco muzak at a nightclub in an '80s sci-fi movie. sprinkled with ambient passages sad and pretty."
Summertime Dudes headline the Cactus Club at 10 on Saturday, Aug. 1.
Alt.country pioneer Steve Earle -- the poster boy for rebel country and rock -- spends "An Evening of Townes ... and Beyond -- Solo & Acoustic," playing the music of Townes Van Zandt and more at The Pabst on Wednesday, July 29 at 8 p.m. Admission is $29.50.
The Up and Under on Brady Street hosts Seattle classic rock quartet The Lonely H on Friday, July 31. The band released its third disc, "Concrete Class," recently.
Meanwhile over at the Miramar, the PLANCALLEDDEADFEST takes over for two days, Friday and Saturday, July 31 and Aug. 1. Showtime on Friday is 3 p.m. and noon on Saturday. You can buy admission to each show for $12 ($15 day of show) or a pass to both for $22 ($30 day of).
On Friday, see Within The Ruins, We Are the End, The Crimson Armada and a slew of others. On Saturday, there’s And Hell Followed With, Hester Prynne, Monsters, Apophis, Erjony and many more. All ages, drinking with ID. And now for something completely different. Crosby, Stills and Nash celebrate their 40th anniversary together with a tour that checks in at the Riverside on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $95.
Over at The Rave, Social Distortion headlines on Saturday, Aug. 1 with Civet and The Strangers opening. The Conquer & Curse Tour comes to the Rave that night, too, with Abigail Williams, Goatwhore, Daath, Abysmal Dawn and S.W.W.A.T.S. Both shows start at 8.
The night after CSN, you can catch CKY at The Rave at 8 with Graveyard, ASG and Fall From Grace. Somehow I doubt there’s a lot of fan base crossover going on there, though.
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.