As we slowly crawl into the dog days of summer, it’s tempting to simply stay inside, crank the AC, and watch Richie Rich on Netflix or whatever. But no! This is Milwaukee! Home of the insanely long winters and insanely packed summers! There’s a lot of stuff left to do! There’s a lot of stuff that must be done.
In order to inspire you to get out of the house and enjoy the two months of good weather left in 2015 (fall officially begins September 23), we’ve complied a list of 62 things to do in the 62 remaining days of summer. Yes, there are tons of same-day events not included on this list (we trust you’ll let us know all about them), but that fact only demonstrates the sheer ridiculousness of the city’s stacked summer calendar. So buckle up, bust out a clean pair of jorts, and let’s finish strong, Milwaukee.
Thursday, July 23
Radioactivity + Sugar Stems, Tenement at Linneman’s
Tonight! Come on! Get busy! Only two months of summer to go!
Friday, July 24
Riverwest 24 + MishMash Fest
Celebrate (or participate in) the kickoff to the “People’s Holiday,” and then head over to MishMash Fest at Art Bar for a super-sized bonus checkpoint.
Saturday, July 25
Brady Street Festival
If you missed the Summer Solstice Music Festival, and seek a strikingly similar event (with less emphasis on Earth’s tilt) a few blocks away and a little over a month later, head to Brady Street Festival. The nine-block parcel of shops, restaurants, bars, and juggling emporiums will play host to various local food/beverage and retail vendors, a BMX stunt crew, and four stages worth of local music.
Sunday, July 26
Cool And Tight comedy showcase at Cocoon Room
Take in one of Cocoon Room’s final shows with a great cast of Milwaukee comics and free Classic Slice pizza. BYOB.
Monday, July 27
METZ at Cactus Club
In the thick of a musical epoch that routinely finds artists piling influence from a scattershot of different genres and periods to help shape their sound, sometimes it’s refreshing when a band cuts through the bullshit, digs in its heels, and releases a balls-out rock and roll record. METZ is one of those bands. The Toronto-based trio announced its arrival with a blood-curdling scream via its 2012 self-titled album. In May, METZ berthed its follow-up, II, an incessant barrage of incomparably harsh, sense-dulling noise and distortion that’s as punishing as it is utterly enjoyable.
Tuesday, July 28
Midwest Death Rattle + Space Raft, and Antler House at Humboldt Park
Behold! Chill On The Hill’s best show of the summer! Bring your finest charcuterie, some house-brought spirits and take a seat on a blanket by the amphitheater.
Wednesday, July 29
Death From Above 1979 + GGOOLLDD at Turner Hall
This will be the Canadian duo’s first show in Milwaukee since they played Mad Planet in early 2005, just months before their 2004 debut full-length You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine propelled the unconventional act to international acclaim. DFA 1979 comes to town following the release of its return record, last year’s The Physical World, which is something of a grower, but still very good.
Thursday, July 30
Breadfest: The Fatty Acids + Rio Turbo, Mutts, The Midwestern Charm at Linneman’s
This great three-year-old festival will bring more than 30 bands to eight venues over five days. This could be among the DIY fest’s strongest shows, which doubles as The Fatty Acids’ tour sendoff and Leftover Monsterface cassette release concert.
Friday, July 31
SOLOS featuring Chris Rosenau + Jon Mueller, Tom Wincek at Cactus Club
Saturday, August 1
Center Street Daze
In 2014, stung by a few years of lousy late-summer/early-fall weather, the organizers of Center Street Daze decided to move their fest up to early August. The new date paid off, and what was once a bittersweet end-of-the-season blowout became a dog-days-of-summer celebration. The musical lineup for 2015 has yet to be announced, though, like Locust Street Festival, you can count on it being especially Riverwest-y.
Sunday, August 2
WMSE Record Rukus at Kern Center (MSOE)
Monday, August 3
Musical Mondays: Paula Dewey Cabot + Connie Grauer, Kim Zick at Lake Park
Tuesday, August 4
An evening with Alice In Chains at The Rave
Wednesday, August 5
Milwaukee Comedy Festival kickoff show at Lakefront Brewery
Though the 10th annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival doesn’t start until August 6, get things started a day early at Lakefront Brewery with sets from Sammy Arechar, Matty Field, Steve Breese, Jesse Mahne, and Damond Millard before Grasping At Straws plays. The 8 p.m. show is $5, or free for those who go on the 7 p.m. brewery tour.
Thursday, August 6
The Roast Of Milwaukee at Bremen Cafe
Excuse us for touting our own comedy festival-affiliated event, but this is going to be great. After Piles play songs off their absolutely great Planet Skin and other material, eight outstanding comedians will take some verbal swings at dear old Milwaukee. Some still live here. Others have since moved to New York or Chicago. A few are getting ready to say goodbye. All of them got their start here and are hilarious. Roasters include: Ryan Mason, Allison Dunne, Sammy Arechar, Damon Millard, Liz Ziner, Dylan Payne, Mike Berg, and host Josh Ballew.
Friday, August 7
Chuckle-Mania at Club Garibaldi
Featuring wrestling-themed comedy, a guest set from an ex-porn star, and music from Crappy Dracula 2 and Soup Moat, there’s officially no better way you’ll ever spend $5 in Milwaukee. This is another one of our “Extra Laughs” Milwaukee Comedy Festival post-shows.
Saturday, August 8
Milwaukee Comedy Festival
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Milwaukee Comedy Festival has grown bigger than it’s ever been before. Saturday is the fest’s single busiest day, complete with three shows, plus a Var Gallery pre-Fest show, and a live Whormones Podcast recording, in case you missed Alia Janine’s set at Garibaldi the previous night.
Sunday, August 9
Brian Posehn + Geoff Asmus, and Ryan Mason at Turner Hall
The four-day Milwaukee Comedy Festival will culminate with the biggest name that’s ever performed in the event’s 10-year run, as veteran alt-comic Brian Posehn will bring the festival home. The funnyman—who starred opposite Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, and Maria Bamford in The Comedians Of Comedy, hosts the Nerd Poker podcast and, ugh, is probably remembered by your parents from his recurring role on Just Shoot Me—will make his Turner Hall debut as part of the event. Madison’s Geoffrey Asmus and Milwaukee’s own Ryan Mason will feature and host, respectively.
Monday, August 10
Musical Mondays: Claudia Schmidt at Lake Park
Tuesday, August 11
Paul Anka at Potawatomi Casino’s Northern Lights Theater
Wednesday, August 12
“Under The Sun” tour with Sugar Ray + Better Than Ezra, Uncle Kracker, Eve 6
Remember the ’90s? These guys are praying you do. “Follow Me” and “Fly” to the Wisconsin State Fair to watch this “Good” novelty show as deep-fried food on a stick turns your guts “Inside Out.” Sorry.
Thursday, August 13
Milwaukee Irish Fest at Henry Maier Festival Park
Friday, August 14
Fish Fry & A Flick: Guardians Of The Galaxy at Discovery World
Enjoy the adventures of Star-Lord and company under the stars, and dance along to “Come And Get Your Love.”
Saturday, August 15
Goo Goo Dolls Brewers post-game concert at Miller Park
After a meaningless Brewers game, listen to the Goo Goo Dolls play “Iris” in a post-game show. Think about how quickly both the Brewers organization and your life have changed in the last 10 years, and cry. Just cry.
Sunday, August 16
Kenny Rogers at Wisconsin State Fair
Make all the facelift jokes you want, but dude sang “The Gambler.” If there’s a better closing-night-at-State-Fair headliner than Rogers, we aren’t aware of him/her.
Monday, August 17
Musical Mondays: John Thulin Trio at Lake Park
Tuesday, August 18
The Size 5’s + Chief, The Hullmen at Humboldt Park
Wednesday, August 19
Caste Of Killers’ comedy open mic at Karma Bar And Grill
Sign up or watch some of Milwaukee’s funniest try out some new material.
Thursday, August 20
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel A La Carte: Cassadee Pope at Milwaukee County Zoo
Friday, August 21
Lebowski Fest at Cathedral Square Park
Absent from last year’s Milwaukee summer festival season, the touring and ever-popular Lebowski Fest is back. And thorough. Watch the classic Coen brothers classic for the umpteenth time and down some White Russians at Cathedral Square Park on the 21st, then throw a couple of rocks and down even more White Russians at JB’s On 41 on the 22nd. Just don’t try to reschedule the bowling game for religious reasons—you might fool the fucks in the league office, but you don’t fool Jesus.
Saturday, August 22
Norm Macdonald/Kevin Nealon at Potawatomi Casino’s Northern Lights Theater
Saturday Night Live alumnus, master of Bob Uecker tales, and one of the funniest humans on planet Earth, Norm Macdonald will be performing in at Potawatomi Casino’s Northern Lights Theater on Saturday, August 22. The living legend’s appearance will be his first Milwaukee show since he captivated Pabst Theater with over 90-minutes of hilarious rambling in May of 2010. Kevin Nealon will be there too, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Sunday, August 23
Frankie Lee at Anodyne Coffee’s Walker’s Point Roastery
Monday, August 24
Musical Mondays: Milwaukee Chamber Choir at Lake Park
Tuesday, August 25
Ladders + Greatest Lakes, New Harmony Indiana at Humboldt Park
Wednesday, August 26
River Rhythms: Hugh Bob & The Hustle at Pere Marquette Park
River Rhythms goes out on a strong note as Hugh Masterson returns from Nashville to lead his Hustle in an increasingly rare local show.
Thursday, August 27
Dusty Medical Fest
17 acts (some of which haven’t performed in years) will play five shows at five Milwaukee venues over the course of four days for the Dusty Medical 10 Year Anniversary Fest. The lineup is crazy good and well worth the price of celebrating one of Milwaukee’s longest standing and most significant record labels in grand fashion. Don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself.
Friday, August 28
Meat Puppets at Club Garibaldi
Meat Puppets, who were famously covered during Nirvana’s iconic MTV Unplugged performance (which also featured founding Meat Puppets members Cris and Curt Kirkwood playing along), have been playing their inimitable style of country-tinged punk on and off since 1980. This Friday night show will mark the second time Meat Puppets have played Milwaukee (and Club Garibaldi) since the band’s 2013 stop in support of Rat Farm.
Saturday, August 29
Fromm PetFest at Henry Maier Festival Park
Sunday, August 30
Third Coast Blues Collective at Anodyne Coffee’s Walker’s Point Roastery
Monday, August 31
North at Quarters Rock ’N’ Roll Palace
Tuesday, September 1
Dead Horses + Living Statues, Stephanie Erin Brill at Humboldt Park
Chill On The Hill goes out strong with Dead Horses, a great Oshkosh-Milwaukee folk outfit. Joining them are suit-clad pop-rock stalwarts (and RedBull.com darlings) Living Statues.
Wednesday, September 2
Playback Theatre Milwaukee: My Milwaukee Story at Woodland Pattern
Thursday, September 3
Bill Bonifas & The Legends Of Milwaukee Jazz
Say goodbye to another year of Jazz In The Park and all its public wine consumption glory.
Friday, September 4
Concert Cruise: Soul Low at MKE Boat Line
If you like Soul Low on land, you love ’em on water.
Saturday, September 5
Milwaukee Cannabis Freedom Festival at Gordon Park
Sunday, September 6
La Luz + Will Sprott at Cactus Club
Monday, September 7
Throttle down on the semi-Harley-affiliated Milwaukee Rally’s final day with “entertainment” provided by Stephen Pearcy of Ratt, Mishicot polka kings The Happy Schnapps Combo, and Motley Brue (“Milwaukee’s finest Motley Crue tribute band”).
Tuesday, September 8
The Duck And Cover Comedy Hour at Frank’s Power Plant
Wednesday, September 9
Jen Kirkman at Pabst Theater
One of the funniest women/people/breathing organisms in contemporary comedy makes her Milwaukee headlining debut following her many memorable appearances on @midnight and Drunk History, as well as her uproariously funny new Netflix special I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine).
Thursday, September 10
G.L.O.S.S. + Youth Crush, Holy Shit!, Utah Jazz, Lifes at Borg Ward
Friday, September 11
Mondo Lucha at Turner Hall
In a night that also sees Tommy Stinson at Club Garibaldi and Penn & Teller at Riverside Theater, it’s hard to pick just one event. Buy hey, Milwaukee’s homegrown lucha libra wrestling blowout happens only once a year, and Whips are playing. Be there or be, you know, at one of those other shows we just mentioned.
Saturday, September 12
Mystic India at Riverside Theater
Sunday, September 13
First Packers game
Get fucked up at Cactus Club or Vanguard…or crash a Bears bar to gloat the Pack’s 1-0 start.
Monday, September 14
Desaparecidos + Joyce Manor at Turner Hall
Tuesday, September 15
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park
Wednesday, September 16
The Moth at Turner Hall
Thursday, September 17
414 Music Live at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee
We don’t know who it’s going to be, but you can’t lose with this free weekly in-studio concert series.
Friday, September 18
WhiskeyBelles at Lakeside Pub & Grill (Cudahy)
Saturday, September 19
Global Union at Humboldt Park
Bidding adieu to summer can be tough, especially considering the season lasts all of three months. Happily, Alverno Presents’ annual Global Union fest makes the end of the season go down a lot easier. For the past decade, the world-music fest has set up shop in Bay View’s Humboldt Park and thrown Milwaukee a diverse and dance-happy (and free!) goodbye party to summer.
Sunday, September 20
Doors Open Milwaukee
Historic Milwaukee will once again give rank-and-file citizens the chance to tour more than 150 iconic buildings throughout the Milwaukee area. Can’t make it on Sunday? The event is on Saturday, too.
Monday, September 21
Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two Woman Show at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater
Remember when Dave Chappelle and Kevin Hart each played six consecutive shows in Milwaukee? Well fuck that, because Vicki Lawrence is doing seven goddamn shows between September 21 and 24. For four glorious days, we’ll all be members of Mama’s family.
Tuesday, September 22
Karaoke at The Hotel Foster