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In Music

Expect to see a lot of slicked back hair and sequins down in the valley this week.

Gig roundup: A slew of kings arrives to do battle

Can you believe that Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll (at least during a certain era) didn't visit Milwaukee until he played a pair of shows at the Arena in 1972? And those were only his second and third concerts in the state up to that point! This, despite the fact that Presley was a Hog-lover.

Certainly Elvis has been spotted in Milwaukee more often in death than he was in life and that's never been more true than during the annual Tribute to the King Contest at Potawatomi Bingo Casino's Northern Lights Theater.

Every year Elvis impersonators go down to the valley to try and wow the panel of judges -- which this year includes yours truly and my cohort Andrew Wagner -- with their swiveling Elvis hips, swooping pompadour, sequined jumpsuits and trademark sneer. Oh, and I guess they probably try their hand at singing some Presley classics, too.

"Our contestants download an application from our Web site and send that in via e-mail, fax, snail mail," says Potawatomi Bingo Casino's Ryan Amundson. "In addition, they send headshots and video for review.

"Every year we get between 15-20 Elvis tribute artists competing from around the country. The grand prize this year is $25,001."

The preliminary rounds take place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week at noon and 3 p.m. and the daily finals are at 7:30 p.m. Then, each night at 8, Ryan Pelton & the Difference -- also known as The Imperials and Andrew Beal from "America's Got Talent" -- perform. The preliminary performances are free, but admission to the daily finals and Pelton gig are $20, $27 and $35.

A wild card round takes place at 3 p.m. on Friday (again, no charge to go) and the grand championship -- and another performance by Pelton -- is at 7:30.

Head over for some great free entertainment that will leave some "All Shook Up." For others, it'll feel more like "Heartbreak Hotel." -- Bobby Tanzilo

What could be more comforting on a cold than watching two talented musicians play acoustic songs in front of the fireplace? Well, Shank Hall has a fireplace (by the bar) and it'll be roaring during the "Sunday Night Song Swap" featuring Kevn Kinney of Drivin' N Cryin' and Sammy Llanas of the BoDeans. For $10, you can watch these guys share the stage and trade songs in an intimate setting. There is a strong chance they'll take requests, so it'd be good to see if Sammy remembers the words to "Powderfinger." -- Drew Olson

If you haven't gotten a chance yet to experience The Squeezettes, you're really missing out on a Milwaukee gem. A branch of the former Riverwest Accordion Club, the group has since expanded its horizons while slimming down to five core members. They do traditional polka, rarities and fun Milwaukee favorites like "Roll Out The Barrel." It's a blast for the whole family. Catch The Squeezettes Tuesday, Jan. 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Domes, as part of its Music Under Glass Series. And it's free! -- Julie Lawrence

Show your support for City Year Milwaukee with the "Hotel Milwaukee" event at Turner Hall Ballroom this Saturday. That's right, in an effort to raise some much needed funds, a long list of speakers, comedians and musicians have set up shop for a hometown show. John Gurda, Mike Neville, Jeana Stillman, the 5 Card Studs, Katie Todd Band, Jim Liban and Terry Coffman are just a few of the acts set to perform. City Year aims to institute 50 local mentors, tutors and role models in Milwaukee Public Schools by September as part of a nationwide Americorp initiative. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and is only $15. -- Maureen Post


college_dave | Jan. 11, 2010 at 10:55 a.m. (report)

Saw the Squeezettes @ LuLu a few months back. And although they didn't perform their breakout single "Tempted By The Fruit of Another", they were friggn fabulous. (Sixty-watt) Sarah has the voice of an angel.

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