Violent Femmes get ready to rock in Milwaukee

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By Bill Livick/Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Violent Femmes, 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 21, BMO Harris Pavilion, 639 E. Summerfest Place, Milwaukee. For tickets, call 414-286-3663.

Violent Femmes is a homegrown Milwaukee band that has released nine studio albums and 15 singles since forming in 1980. The group released its latest album, “We Can Do Anything,” in 2016.

The Femmes began as a duo, with bass player Brian Ritchie and drummer Victor DeLorenzo busking on the streets of Milwaukee. They later invited singer, guitarist and songwriter Gordon Gano to join them.

James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders discovered the trio playing on the street in front of a theater. He introduced the group to the rest of his band, and lead singer Chrissie Hynde reportedly invited them to play a brief acoustic set after the opening act at Milwaukee's Oriental Theater.

The Femmes were active from 1980 to 1987 and again from 1988 to 2009. They began performing again in 2013, although DeLorenzo was replaced by former Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione.

The band released a self-titled debut album in early 1983 that featured many of its well-known songs. The album became the group's biggest seller and was eventually certified platinum, denoting sales of 1 million copies.

The Violent Femmes went on to become one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the 1980s, selling more than 9 million albums by 2005, according to their website.

The band split up in 1987 after the release of its third album, “The Blind Leading the Naked,” when Gano and Ritchie went solo. The members regrouped a year later and released their third album in 1989.

Since then, Violent Femmes' popularity has continued to grow, especially in the United States where the songs “Nightmares” and “American Music” were hit singles.

Prince Royce, 7 p.m. Friday, July 21, The Riverside Theater, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $49.50-$85. Call 414-286-3663.

Prince Royce, who performs a distinct style of Latin music, has released five albums since his debut in 2010.

Hailing from the Bronx, Royce took an interest in music at an early age. During his teenage years, he began experimenting with music and writing poetry.

At 19, he met his manager and signed to a record label, and then released his first studio album in 2010. The album produced two hit singles, “Stand By Me” and “Corazon Sin Cara,” both of which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Tropical Songs chart. The album peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Latin Music chart.

Royce received three awards at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in 2011, including Tropical Album of the Year. He released his second studio album in 2012, and it reached No. 1 on both the U.S. Latin Albums and Tropical Albums charts. The album also was nominated for the Latin Grammy Award for Best Tropical Fusion Album.

Royce released his third album, “Soy el Mismo,” in October 2013 and earned his second nomination for the Latin Grammy. In 2015 he released “Double Vision,” which featured the hit single “Stuck on a Feeling” with Snoop Dogg contributing to the track.

Kevin Bozeman, 8:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 27-29, The Comedy Club on State Street, 202 State St., Madison. Tickets: $10-$15. Call 608-256-0099.

Comedian Kevin Bozeman lives in Chicago, but he played college basketball at UW-Whitewater in the 1990s. In '99, six years after finishing his collegiate basketball career at UW-W, he found himself with no real job skills and a strong desire to work in comedy.

Inspired by nights on the couch watching “Def Comedy Jam” and challenged by his roommate, Bozeman decided to head to Madison and try an open-mic event. As the guy who always could make people laugh, according to a biography on his website, he decided to give comedy a shot.

Bozeman's comedy is smooth and clever, and he possesses a great smile and a contagious laugh. He has been entertaining in clubs and colleges across the country since that first night on stage.

In 2000, Bozeman was the winner of the Midwest region of HBO's “Comedy Competition” and flew to Los Angeles to compete as a finalist. He performed on Comedy Central's “Premium Blend” in 2003, and he finished second in the Boston Comedy Competition in 2005.

Bozeman also was a semi-finalist on NBC's “Last Comic Standing” in 2010, and he co-starred in the indie film “Flat Chested” starring Alicia Witt and Luke Perry.

Beth Hart, 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Ave., Madison. Tickets: $42-$45. Call 608-241-8633.

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Beth Hart has been performing since the early 1990s, and she is recognized as a blues-rock singer with a lot of soul.

Hart has released 13 albums since her debut in 1993. She rose to fame with the 1999 release of her third album, “Screamin' for my Supper,” which included the hit single “LA Song (Out of This Town).”

Hart also is known for her collaborations with electric guitarist Joe Bonamassa, with whom she has recorded three albums. The pair have released two albums that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Album chart.

In 2014, Hart was nominated for a Grammy Award for her album “Seesaw,” which she recorded with Bonamassa. She also was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the category Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist.

Hart's latest album, “Fire on the Floor,” was released in February. Except for two songs, it comprises Hart originals. On the album, she performs covers of “Let's Get Together” and “Fat Man.”

Bill Livick

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