The Patti Smith Band performs Thursday, March 9 at the Milwaukee Theatre.
The Patti Smith Band performs Thursday, March 9 at the Milwaukee Theatre.

Kaye, Daugherty reflect on Patti Smith's "Horses"

"It will be good coming back to Milwaukee, the hometown of my old friend Kevn Kinney," guitarist Lenny Kaye says in anticipation of Patti Smith and her band’s show on March 9 at the Milwaukee Theatre. "During one of the trips, I remember (going to) a great bookstore. Patti and I love going to used bookstores on the road."

There used to be a great bookstore called Renaissance Books Downtown, I suggest; that might be the one he was thinking of.

"Uh-oh!," Kaye says. "You said ‘used to be’."

When I tell him about the location inside Mitchell Airport, he seems relieved.

"We had some great shows (in Milwaukee) so many years ago and are happy to be bringing our ideals and sensibilities back. We are calling it the ‘Midwest Dance Party,’" says Kaye.

Singer Patti Smith – "the godmother of punk rock" – along with Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty will perform the entire 1975-released "Horses" album on Thursday night.

"‘Horses’ captures who we were from September 1975 going into October 1975," says Kaye.

Part of the album’s magic lies in the choices of producer John Cale. After his ground-breaking work with the Velvet Underground, Cale produced The Stooges, Nico and The Modern Lovers, and released a stream of albums that continues to this day.

"John Cale added a few musical suggestions," says Daugherty, possibly alluding to the double tracking of Smith’s vocals at key points during "Land" – the song where Smith deftly connects beat poetry with the eternal groove of New Orleans, name-checking French symbolist poets and obscure rhythm and blues tunes in one perfect blur.

"He created a psychological atmosphere, perhaps deliberately adversarial, that may have helped us cohere as a band," Daugherty says.

However, at one point Daugherty recalls getting fed up with Cale, who was stopping takes, and saying to the producer, "Let us finish this please!"

"To his credit, Cale was just trying to make us a better band," says Daugherty.

And on Thursday, 40…

Cloud Nothings will hit the Turner Hall Ballroom stage on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Cloud Nothings will hit the Turner Hall Ballroom stage on Sunday, Feb. 12. (Photo: Cloud Nothings)

Cloud Nothings prepares to perform its first Milwaukee show at Turner Hall

Wake up, travel, perform and go to bed. Cloud Nothings live this day by day as they make their trek on their latest tour. Lucky for fans, one of those stops is at Milwaukee's own Turner Hall Ballroom this Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.

"I’ve never heard anything about Milwaukee," said lead singer and guitarist Dylan Baldi, as he talks about their first official show in the city. In the past, they have played at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, but never got a chance to explore the city or perform at a venue.

They have performed all around the world – including their favorite, Fuji, for the Fuji Rock Festival, where they "were surrounded by this insane mountain range." The band's also made several sold-out stops in Chicago, but this weekend is the first time Milwaukee will get a chance to see what this on-the-rise indie rock band is all about.

Before the band hit the road for a single tour, however, the phrase "Cloud Nothings" was just one of many potential band names on a list, along with others like Cat Killer. Baldi eventually took it off the list, however, and made it have a purpose. He headed off to college, met some people and turned all of this into a new band.

From there, once they established themselves as a group and began to create and play music together, it didn’t take long for them to break into the music scene and get their first gig. "We got an offer to play a show," Baldi explained, and simple as that, their journey into the spotlight began. Once they played their first show – at Market Hotel in New York – they continued to build off their momentum, releasing albums and touring around the nation.

Like most burgeoning rock bands, however, it took Cloud Nothings a bit to really take off. "We did tour for years before anyone cared about it," Baldi said of their early years, constantly traveling and playing venues in the hopes of adding at least a few fans to their base every night. As they got more and more well-known, the whole experience became "unre…

A new op-ed argues for MPS reform.
A new op-ed argues for MPS reform.

Op-ed: Educational reform, improving schools should not be feared

The following is an op-ed written by Dr. Will Flanders, WILL’s Education Research Director.

It is difficult to gauge just how much the Milwaukee Public School system is struggling. The new state report cards will apparently proclaim that there are no "failing" schools – due, at least in part, to a re-weighting system that values growth much more than achievement in impoverished areas. But according to DPI’s Forward Exam test scores, a staggering 78% percent of students ranked below proficient in English, and about 83% of students were below proficient in math. The story for Milwaukee’s African-American students is even worse; only 7% of Milwaukee’s African American kids were deemed proficient in math. MPS and others on might consider this to be cause for celebration. We do not. Milwaukee can do better.  

In late summer, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), a law and policy center in Milwaukee with a strong interest in education reform, released a series of blog posts to jump start the debate about how to reform Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Dire situations require bold thinking and innovation. We were careful in our analysis, evaluating the potential success of each proposal, while at the same time identifying potential pitfalls and barriers to success.

Predictably these new ideas drew the ire of those who are dedicated in protecting the status quo. One critic, an OnMilwaukee columnist, was so threatened by these reforms that he devoted two overwrought columns to warn the public that those who suggest reform have a secret agenda to proverbially "carpet-bomb" the Milwaukee Public Schools system into obliteration.

Sadly, the columnist’s rhetoric is a sad reflection of today’s politics where people resort to hyperbole and name-calling when they disagree with a point of view. After all, those with different ideas about education couldn’t possibly have sound motivation like improving student performance and graduation rates among the most …

Daughter slayed at Turner Hall tonight with their soothing tunes.
Daughter slayed at Turner Hall tonight with their soothing tunes. (Photo: Adam Miszewski)

Daughter exceeds expectations at Turner Hall Ballroom

Since Friday night marked Daughter's first time headlining in Milwaukee, the U.K. band's Turner Hall Ballroom gig arrived highly anticipated tonight. Normally, the band hits Chicago rather than here, but they decided to mix things up – and you could obviously tell their Cream City fans were excited about it. 

Walking up to the venue an hour before the show, there was already a line waiting out door, and when you finally made it inside, the band's rare Milwaukee visit managed to pack the house, pretty much filling up Turner Hall both on the bottom level and the balcony. 

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that, right from the start of its set, Daughter had the audience hooked. The band members all wore black and white, so that the stage's lighting and decor – featuring colors switching from warm oranges and light pinks to a cooler set of purples and blues – could stand out, entrancing the audience with the atmosphere. To help keep the crowd under its spell, the lights would flash throughout the set, and the backgrounds wold change with cool patterns and shapes as well.

However, what really drew the audience in were front woman Elena Tonra's amazing pipes. Her hauntingly beautiful voice gave chills to the audience – and even brought some members to tears – as she sang powerful songs like "Smother" and "Human." 

The band surrounding her complimented her voice well with their arrangements. Their guitar and drums featured powerful beats that weren't overbearing, but rather reflected the calmness and haunted aspect of her voice and lyrics. 

The chill music created a smooth and relaxed atmosphere in the crowded Turner Hall Ballroom space, making the show feel like the perfect way to unwind after a long week. A sense of calm washed over the audience, and at peace, they swayed to the band playing through several new songs off their latest album, "Not to Disappear," – such as "How" and "To Belong" – as well as some older tunes like "Shallows" and "Tomorrow.…