Where has the summer gone? Okay, okay, so there’s still a ton of summer left, but the bleakness of autumn will be upon us before you know it. Thus, it’s important to use your limited summer entertainment allotment right. Not even counting the waning days of Summerfest, there are a ton of concerts, comedy shows, and utterly meaningless Brewers games vying for your time. And we’re not even factoring in outdoor activities, if you’re into that type of thing. July can be tough to navigate, but hopefully these standout shows can help clear up any overlapping items on your social calendar.
Thursday, July 7
Electric Six + In The Whale, Tigernite @ Mad Planet
Save for a select few dance parties and DJ nights, Mad Planet will be closed for the majority of Summerfest’s 11-day Milwaukee occupation. However, the one and only concert on the books during that stint is a doozy. Detroit rockers Electric Six will bring their 20 years worth of material to town for a solid weeknight show that’s bolstered by In The Whale out of Denver, and beloved (and busy!) locals Tigernite lending support.
Tuesday, July 12
Soul Low + Paper Holland @ Chill On The Hill (Humboldt Park)
The concept for Chill On The Hill is so simple: laying out on a blanket and imbibing food and beverages brought from home (or purchased from a series of vendors on site) whilst enjoying a diverse bevy of homegrown talent. This year’s Chill lineup is especially stacked, and perhaps no single show is better than the mid-week series’ Soul Low and Paper Holland doubleheader.
Wednesday, July 13
Black Lips + Chain & The Gang, Platinum Boys @ Turner Hall
Black Lips are good. The end.
Swans + Okkyung Lee @ Shank Hall
After 14 full-lengths and more than 30 years (on and off), it’s safe to say Swans are pretty established. Even after 13 years away, the experimental rockers have lost none of the mystique. While they could rest on their laurels and lean on past work, Swans continue to put out new music, including their fortnight-old The Glowing Man. Hear songs off the latest record and cuts from the 13 predecessors in a rare mid-week Milwaukee showing.
Friday, July 15
Huey Lewis And The News @ Gathering On The Green in Mequon Rotary Park
This show features Huey Lewis And The News and it’s taking place in Mequon. What more do you need to know?
Sunday, July 17
Car Seat Headrest + Stef Chura, The Pukes @ Turner Hall
After self-releasing an astounding 12 (TWELVE!) albums in the band’s first four-plus years of existence, Car Seat Headrest—the pet project of 23-year-old Will Toledo—inked a deal with Matador. Since then, Car Seat Headrest’s production has been comparably light, with two records cast into the world since last October. Its latest, May’s Teens Of Denial, finds the lo-fi venture in expanded form, with a dozen tracks rife with supporting musicians that span 70 enjoyable minutes. Stef Chura and Milwaukee’s own The Pukes will play in support.
Monday, July 18
John Carpenter: Live Retrospective @ Pabst Theater
Over the course of five decades, master filmmaker John Carpenter has left an indelible and idiosyncratic mark on horror and sci-fi with films like Halloween, Escape From New York, The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Prince Of Darkness, They Live, and In The Mouth Of Madness. Equally indelible and idiosyncratic are the scores for Carpenter’s films, many of them self-composed, self-performed, and delightfully minimalist and synthesized. “John Carpenter: Live Retrospective” will also feature original, non-soundtrack compositions from the director/musician’s upcoming Lost Themes II album. Carpenter will be joined by his son Cody Carpenter and his godson Daniel Davies (both of whom co-recorded the Lost Themes albums), as well as a live band and an accompanying stage production.
Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24
Synth Fest MKE @ Acme Records and Cactus Club
The inaugural celebration of all things good and synthesized in Milwaukee music is scheduled for July 23-24, with ridiculously stacked shows at Acme Records and Cactus Club. Electro favorites like adoptahighway and BTS.WRKNG are scheduled to perform, along with newer acts like Liquid City Motors and Stumblesome. Hell, even the always-awesome Jon Mueller is on the bill. The Acme shows are free, though donations are suggested. Tickets for the Cactus Club shows are $7 individually, and $12 for both nights. Check out the full lineup HERE.
Sunday, July 24
David Liebe Hart + Iron Pizza, Scrimshaw, and Father Freedom @ Riverwest Public House
A year removed from last summer’s weird-as-fuck performance alongside Crappy Dracula 2, Soup Moat, and Iron Pizza at Borg Ward, “comedian” and resident of Tim & Eric‘s absurd universe of characters David Liebe Hart will move the show to Riverwest Public House this time around. Expect puppets and heaps upon heaps of subversive anti-comedy. Iron Pizza is back on the bill, with Scrimshaw and Father Freedom providing musical accompaniment.
Tuesday, July 26
Van’s Warped Tour @ Henry Maier Festival Park
Founded in 1995, Milwaukee has been a part of most Warped Tour schedules in the traveling (primarily) pop-punk and ska festival’s 20-year run, including last year’s rendition, which we called “the worst Warped Tour in recent memory.” The weak cast Warped trotted out last year even failed to strike a chord with our 14-year-old correspondent. This time around, the 80-act arsenal coming to the festival grounds features respected hip-hop talent like Waka Flocka Flame and PROF. There will be dynasty bands like Good Charlotte, Sum 41, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, and Every Time I Die. Even relevant bands of today are involved, such as Knuckle Puck and Madison’s own Masked Intruder.
Wednesday, July 27
The Baseball Project @ Anodyne Coffee (Walker’s Point Roastery)
R.E.M. may never return, but from one dream group’s demise comes the birth of another. Shortly after the iconic act’s Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction, Peter Buck and Mike Mills came together with members of The Minus 5 and The Dream Syndicate to form a supergroup of sorts. Want to see half of R.E.M. play an all-ages show at a coffee shop? Sure you do.
Sunday, July 31
Hari Kondabolu @ Turner Hall
While Hari Kondabolu isn’t exactly a household name to anyone who isn’t an avid @midnight viewer, the Brooklyn-based comedian is well on his way. The fearless funnyman, who The New York Times called “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today,” will make his Turner Hall debut after releasing his second comedy album, Mainstream American Comic, on Kill Rock Stars just days earlier.