Though it feels like summer just started, we’ve now entered the last full month of the season. Summer isn’t going out with a whimper, though. Quite the opposite. Though the vast majority of the city’s festivals have come and gone, and Brewers season is pretty much officially over, there remains a wealth of concerts, comedy shows, and first-year fests on Milwaukee’s collective calendar. There’s literally at least one worthwhile thing happening every day. Since this looks to be an active August of entertainment, Milwaukee Record has found 15 things you should do this month.
Monday, August 1
Louis C.K. @ BMO Harris Bradley Center
You probably know Louis C.K. You probably love Louis C.K. If you have the means, you should probably see Louis C.K.
Tuesday, August 2
Roast of Milwaukee @ Club Garibaldi
Join us at Club Garibaldi on Tuesday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. for an unconventional night of city-centered laughs. Brat Sounds will play before and after the roast. This time around, the comedian-heavy lineup will also include a few local movers and shakers from other mediums. The laughs won’t just be at the expense of Milwaukee. The $2 cover charge will be donated to a local charity. Patrons can also gain free entry with a non-perishable food donation or by showing their Milwaukee Comedy Festival pass.
Trapt + Gears, You’re Too Kind, Amberstein @ The Metal Grill
Remember Trapt? They’re playing at The Metal Grill!
Wednesday, August 3
Mark Sultan + The Pukes, High School Pizza @ Cactus Club
Perhaps better known as BBQ from The King Khan & BBQ Show, Québecois songwriter Mark Sultan also releases music under his (less appetizing) birth name between records his more famous project puts out. See the singer, guitarist, drummer, auxiliary percussionist, and masterful multi-tasker in the cozy confines of the Cactus Club with The Pukes and High School Pizza playing in support.
Thursday, August 4 (through Sunday, August 7)
Milwaukee Comedy Festival
Milwaukee Comedy Festival turned 10 last summer. Originating long before the city had anything even resembling a sustainable comedy community, the Matt Kemple-curated undertaking has grown and evolved in kind with Milwaukee’s humor scene. The days-long blend of stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy returns bigger, better, and with a more renowned headliner than ever in its 11th year. The festivities kick off with a Wednesday night showcase at Lakefront Brewery before moving the Next Act Theatre for three days, bouncing to The Underground Collaborative for a couple strange showcases, and, finally, culminating with a Turner Hall show headlined by the hilarious and New York Times best-selling likes of Jen Kirkman August 7.
Friday, August 5
L7 + Radkey @ The Rave
The story of ’90s “grunge” tends to get more and more simplified as the years go on, leaving out vital but non-Nirvana acts like L7. The hard rocking riot grrrl band tore shit up throughout the ’90s, releasing excellent albums like Bricks Are Heavy and Hungry For Stink, and occasionally throwing in-use tampons into the crowd. Reunited since 2014, L7 will make a rare Milwaukee appearance at the appropriately grungy Rave.
Saturday, August 6
Sorry Not Sorry (One-Year Anniversary) @ Riverwest Public House
Last August, newcomer comedians Addie Blanchard and Marisa Lange quietly started a Riverwest Public House showcase called Sorry Not Sorry. Since then, this modest show has transitioned into a free early-afternoon event, complete with $1 donuts and an opportunity to see both established out-of-towners and promising newbies inciting some 1 p.m. laughs. This marks the twelfth such showcase; to celebrate the occasion, Blanchard and Lange have pulled out all the stops. They’ve invited an all-star cast of locals and Milwaukee ex-pats to perform before Milwaukee Comedy Festival’s third day swings into action.
Friday, August 12 (through Sunday, August 14)
Strange Fruit @ The Hotel Foster, Company Brewing, Cactus Club
Organized by prolific Milwaukee musician Jay Anderson and SistaStrings member Chauntee Ross, with assistance from former Alverno Presents artistic director David Ravel and 88Nine’s Tarik Moody, Strange Fruit aims to explore “the thoughts and emotions of local musicians, regarding the current climate of racial relations both in Milwaukee and the country as a whole.” The fest (which takes its name from the classic Billie Holiday song) will take over The Hotel Foster, Company Brewing, and Cactus Club during its three-day run, and will include such names as New Age Narcissism, Zed Kenzo, Mike Regal, New Boyz Club, Milo, and more.
Saturday, August 13
Soul Low (Nosebleeds release show) + Milo, The Pukes, Wax Addicts @ Miramar Theatre
Despite putting out two EPs in 2015, Soul Low hasn’t really put out a true blue album since its fantastic, beyond-their-years 2013 debut, UNEASY. Kind Spirit was material the band didn’t feel fit with the rest of its catalog. Sweet Pea was a batch of B-sides Soul Low wanted to get out into the universe while they were writing and recording their highly-anticipated second full-length. After countless hours in the rehearsal space and recording studio, followed by the now-expected vinyl pressing delays, the time has come for that record, Nosebleeds, to see the light of day. Hear the new material in full at an eclectic all-ages release show that also features Milo, The Pukes, and between-act DJing by Wax Addicts.
Sunday, August 14
Protomartyr + Midwives @ Mad Planet
Though Protomartyr has been kicking since 2008, the Detroit post-punk project didn’t break out until last fall. In early October, Protomartyr’s third full-length, The Agent Intellect, was released and was privy to loads of critical acclaim along with a warm reception from a continually growing fan base. See them with wonderful Milwaukee hardcore outfit Midwives.
Tuesday, August 16
Milemarker + The Life And Times, Estates @ Cactus Club
Once the dog days of summer have set it and the prospect of clutching a warm plastic cup full of Miller Lite outside loses its luster, a large dose of weeknight shoegaze sounds like a breath of fresh air. Seminal eight-piece Milemarker will crowd the Cactus Club stage after The Life And Times (fronted by Shiner frontman Allen Epley) and Estates kick the uncharacteristic summer show off.
Tuesday, August 16 and Wednesday, August 17
Don Rickles @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s Northern Lights Theater
On May 8, Don Rickles turned 90. Of those 90 years, the legendary comedian has spent close to 70 of them on stage doling out some of the harshest and most hilarious jokes ever written. The influential funnyman was eons ahead of his time, but still remains as relevant as ever today. Even in an increasingly-sensitive art form, the man ironically called “Mr. Warmth” has license to say whatever prickly punchline he wants because, simply, everyone is fair game. See him this summer or potentially regret missing what, unfortunately, could be one the last opportunities to see Rickles perform in Milwaukee.
Saturday, August 20
Elvis And Me: An Evening With Priscilla Presley @ Pabst Theater
She was married to Elvis. She acted opposite Leslie Nielsen and Patrick Duffy. She was briefly Michael Jackson’s mother-in-law. It’s safe to say Priscilla Presley has lived quite a life. In “Elvis And Me,” she’ll open up about some of those topics, and more. Yes, this “open conversation” allows fans of her work and her proximity to greatness (and Patrick Duffy) to spend an evening with Priscilla Presley.
Thursday, August 25
Cameron Esposito @ Turner Hall
While she was born, raised, and got her stand-up start in Chicago, Cameron Esposito has only recently earned notoriety in alt-comedy circles while living in Los Angeles by way of her 2014 album, Same Sex Symbol. Fresh off the release of her latest special, Marriage Material, in March, Esposito returns to the Midwest to make her Turner Hall debut.
Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28
Milwaukee Fringe Festival @ various locations
On Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28, the inaugural Milwaukee Fringe Festival will showcase more than 50 live acts from the local worlds of theater, music, dance, and visual art. The fun will take place at Pere Marquette Park, Marcus Center’s Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, the Todd Wehr Theater, and other surrounding venues. Food trucks and a beer garden from Old German Beer Hall will also be on hand, per Milwaukee summer festival rules.