Music roundup: Milwaukee's Shank Hall to welcome Steepwater on Jan. 14

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By Bill Livick/Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Zac Matthews Band, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janesville. Tickets: $10-$15. Call 608-758-0297.

Country music singer and songwriter Zac Matthews, a Janesville native, has recorded two albums in Nashville and was named Best New Male Act in Country Music at Nashville's Country Music Showdown in 2014.

Matthews performed at the Country Music Association Fest in the famous Ryman Auditorium in 2014 and 2015, and he also has opened shows for a host of country music stars including LeAnn Rimes, David Allen Coe, Randy Houser, Billy Currington, Colt Ford, the Kentucky Headhunters and many others. In addition, he has appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in the Virgin Islands as part of the Kenny Chesney Music Festival and on most local stages.

Matthews performs with bandmates Steve Blachford of Belvidere, Illinois, on bass and Zach Johns of Beloit on drums. During a videotaped appearance at the Ryman, Matthews noted that he likes “all kinds” of country music.

In 2015, the band finished its debut EP in Nashville, “It's On Tonight.”

Blue Oyster Cult and The Tubes, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Northern Lights Theater, 1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee. Tickets: $60-$65. Call 414-847-7922.

It's been 15 years since the “rock noir” band Blue Oyster Cult released a new album, but the five-piece group continues to tour with some of the key players from the band's 1970s  heyday, including vocalist Eric Bloom and lead guitarist Buck Dharma.

Blue Oyster Cult was a major heavy-metal band from the mid-'70s through the '80s. The group spent several years in the early '70s touring as the opening act for Alice Cooper to build a small but loyal following with shows that featured lasers, flash pots and Dharma's guitar solos.

That touring paved the way for the band's 1976 commercial breakthrough with the album “Agents of Fortune,” which included the hit single “Don't Fear the Reaper.”

The band released its self-titled debut album in 1972 and followed that with 13 more studio albums and five live albums that capture its performances. None of the albums matched the success of “Agents of Fortune.”

The band's music videos, especially “Burnin' for You,” received heavy rotation on MTV when the music television network premiered in 1981. Although the song was a Top 40 hit, the album it came from, “Fire of Unknown Origin,” was the group's last gold record. Subsequent albums came less frequently and had decreasing commercial impact.

The band influenced a host of bands that followed, including Metallica and Smashing Pumpkins.

The Tubes, a San Francisco-based rock band that debuted in 1975, are best known for the 1983 single “She's a Beauty,” which reached No. 1 on the rock charts. The group's only other Top 10 hit, “Talk To Ya Later,” reached No. 7 in 1981.

The Steepwater Band, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $10-$12. Call 414-276-7288.

The Steepwater Band is a Chicago-based quartet that formed in 1998 and is touring in support of its new album, “Shake Your Faith.”

The group features Jeff Massey on guitar and lead vocals, Todd Bowers on bass, Joe Winters on drums and Eric Saylors on second guitar and vocals. The band began playing covers of classic Chicago blues songs but quickly developed original rock material with a blues element.

Steepwater performed at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2000 and has returned to that stage repeatedly. It released its debut studio album, “Brother to the Snake,” in 2001 and a live, in-studio album later the same year. It has gone on to release eight more studio albums as well as three live collections.

Steepwater has evolved from a regional Chicago act to a national touring outfit and has performed with such bands as Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Gov't Mule and Cheap Trick.

The band's 2016 album, “Shake Your Faith,” is its first studio album in five years and also the first to include guitarist Saylors, who joined the band in early 2012. The album features a wide range of sounds from straight-ahead rock 'n' roll to a psychedelic samba and lyrical content that extends from love to murder.
Jackie Kashian, 8:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 5-7, The Comedy Club on State Street, 202 State St., Madison. Tickets: $10-$15. Call 608-256-0099.

Stand-up comedian Jackie Kashian hails from Milwaukee but now lives in Los Angeles, where she's gained recognition through appearances on Comedy Central, the major television networks and regular national and international touring.

Kashian, who broke into comedy while attending UW-Madison in the 1980s, recently started a new podcast with fellow comic Laurie Kilmartin called “The Jackie and Laurie Show.” In the podcast, the two discuss stand-up comedy in L.A. and on the road. Occasionally, the two discuss such issues as harassment and the unequal treatment of female comics, Kilmartin's job as a staff writer on the late-night circuit and her multigenerational family living situation.

Kashian has performed a half-hour special on Comedy Central, has appeared on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom radio/TV show and has entertained troops stationed overseas several times.

Her album “It is Never Going to be Bread” was named one of the top comedy albums of 2010 by Amazon.com.

Bill Livick

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