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, there remains a wealth of concerts, comedy shows, and 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 especially worthwhile things you should do this month.
Wednesday, August 1 to Sunday, August 5
Milwaukee Comedy Festival @ various venues
Originating long before the city had anything even resembling a sustainable comedy community, Milwaukee Comedy Festival has grown and evolved in kind with Milwaukee’s humor scene. From August 1-5, the Milwaukee-curated undertaking will offer an eclectic blend of stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy in its 13th year. In addition to the festival itself, which boasts the likes of Colin Quinn (more on that later) and the Lady Parts Justice League with The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, British-born comic Gina Yashere, and accomplished L.A. stand-up (and South Milwaukee native) Jackie Kashian.
Thursday, August 2
Margo Price + Count This Penny @ Turner Hall
Less than two months removed from driving herself to Blue Ox Music Festival in Eau Claire all the way from Nashville because she was too sick to fly, budding country star Margo Price returns to Wisconsin to headline a Turner Hall show. Last year’s Nowhere Fast seems to be inaccurately named, as Price’s sophomore solo release has garnered he oodles of attention, critical acclaim, and has awarded the hardworking country musician some crossover appeal. Count This Penny plays in support.
Kool Keith + Rizenhower The Great Poupon, and Guerrilla Ghost @ Riverwest Public House
Hell yeah, Kool Keith is coming to Riverwest Public House. Hopefully you bought your tickets to see the hip-hop legend at the cooperative bar because this show is sold out. Rizenhower The Great Poupon and Milwaukee’s own Guerrilla Ghost opens.
Friday, August 3
Colin Quinn @ Turner Hall
Veteran New York comedian, actor, and former Saturday Night Live cast member Colin Quinn will bring his decades of experience and his inimitable comedic style to Turner Hall on Friday, August 3. The longtime Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn host, “Weekend Update” anchor, and Trainwreck co-star’s Milwaukee Comedy Festival appearance will be part of his “One In Every Crowd” tour. The show comes roughly six months after Quinn suffered a heart attack that forcing him to postpone his March 2 performance at Turner Hall. He’s Colin Quinn and he’s coming to Milwaukee on August 3. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
The Baseball Project @ Anodyne Coffee – Walker’s Point Roastery
In 2007, not long after R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, former R.E.M.-ers Peter Buck and Mike Mills hooked up with members of The Minus 5 and The Dream Syndicate to form The Baseball Project. “We don’t have any rules about what constitutes a baseball song,” Scott McCaughey explains. “It can be anything from a character study of an obscure guy from the 1920s, to something that just happened, to something completely ridiculous like ‘Extra Inning Of Love,’ which takes the baseball-as-love metaphor and tries to stretch it as far as it will go. They can be fictional songs or non-fictional songs. The great thing with baseball is, we’ll never run out of things to write about!”
Thursday, August 9
Tacocat + Gymshorts, and Fox Face @ Cactus Club
The musicians behind feminist pop-punk outfit Tacocat are neither tacos nor cats, though their music is just as delightful as both. Roughly two years since they last played at Cactus Club, they’ll return to the Bay View venue to share a bill with Gymshorts and Milwaukee’s own Fox Face.
Boy George & Culture Club @ Riverside Theater
Culture Club set numerous records and broke plenty of barriers back in their ’80s heyday. A multi-racial group with an openly gay frontman (Boy George, natch), Culture Club scored big with ubiquitous hits like “Karma Chameleon,” “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me,” “Church Of The Poison Mind,” and more. Hell, they were the first band since The Beatles to have three Top Ten hits in America from a debut album. For their Milwaukee show, expect George and company to happily play those stone-cold classics (yay!) as well as preview their first new music in 20 years (yay?).
Dick Dale + Devils Teeth @ Shank Hall
Even at the ripe age of 81, Dick Dale is still touring regularly. The guitar legend and surf rock pioneer makes his triumphant return to Milwaukee to play at Shank Hall. Dale will be joined by Milwaukee surf-influenced rock band Devils Teeth, a few weeks before they release their awesome debut full-length, Suki Yaki Hot! on Triple Eye Industries.
Saturday, August 11
The Blueberry Tour (w/Joe Pera, Dan Licata, Connor O’Malley) @ The Underground Collaborative
In a harsh and ever-worsening world, Pera’s Adult Swim program, Joe Pera Talks With You, is a dash of positivity and a welcomed weekly 11-minute respite from the difficulty and negativity that seem to envelop modern existence. Over the course of the program’s nine near-perfect episodes, Pera helped viewers pick out the perfect Saturday breakfast, spoke about the wonder of minerals, taught us to dance and to fall in love with The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” all over again, restored his soul with a fall drive, and soothed us back to sleep with sheet music. In short, it’s a fantastic show…and not just because most of it was filmed in Milwaukee and Pera says he cast his “Nana” by scouting local fish frys.
While we cross our fingers for a second season of the heartwarming comedy, we’re happy to announce that Pera will return to Milwaukee on Saturday, August 11 to perform at The Underground Collaborative as part of “The Blueberry Tour.” The incomparable comic will headline a showcase that will also feature Conner O’Malley—a Joe Pera Talks With You writer, producer, and series regular (as well as a founding member of #MinionSquad)—and Dan Licata.
Har Mar Superstar Sings Sam Cooke + Nelson Devereaux And The Style Band @ The Back Room at Colectivo
File under: Thing No One Saw Coming. Let’s just allow the soulful singer-songwriter-Taco-John’s-enthusiast to explain it himself: “Sam Cooke has been a guiding force in my artistic development for my entire life. Even before I knew he was the man behind songs like ‘Cupid’ and ‘(What A) Wonderful World’ I was singing along to every word as a child listening to oldies radio. Throughout my younger years I got more and more obsessed with his ability to write melodically easy-going pop songs that gave way to a less obvious, darker lyrical pain. His songs were onions I wanted to peel.”
Wednesday, August 15
Milwaukee Record presents Half Baked @ Avalon Theater
Subversive 1998 stoner comedy, Half Baked, stars Dave Chappelle as Thurgood Jenkins, a custodian who—with the help of friends Scarface (Guillermo Diaz) and Brian (Jim Breuer)—takes desperate measures to raise enough money to bail out his imprisoned pal Kenny (Harland Williams). Along the way, the friends face some unexpected obstacles, Jenkins meets a woman named Mary Jane, and lots and lots of weed is smoked. Between its endless well of hilarious quotes and some memorable cameos from Steven Wright, Bob Saget, Snoop Dogg, Jon Stewart, Willie Nelson, and Tommy Chong, Half Baked is still as enjoyable as it was 20 years ago. Tickets to this 7 p.m. screening are $5. We’re also offering a $10 “Going Green” package that includes a movie ticket, a pint of Lakefront’s Organika organic white ale, and an Abba-Zabba candy bar.
Friday, August 17
Weezer + White Reaper @ The Rave
Is it okay to like Weezer again? Yeah, Rivers Cuomo and company were in the weeds for a while (everything from Make Believe to Hurley, let’s say), but their last few albums (Everything Will Be Alright In The End, “The White Album,” Pacific Daydreams) have been pretty good! Then there’s that 1994 debut album (the so-called “Blue Album”) and its mythic follow-up, Pinkerton. C’mon, those are undisputed classics! “Buddy Holly”! “Say It Ain’t So”! All the semi-creepy Pinkerton songs Cuomo wrote at Harvard! What’s not to love? Still not enough? White Reaper is opening!
Saturday, August 25
RZA: Live From The 36th Chamber @ Oriental Theatre
Oriental Theatre hasn’t even re-opened yet, and we already love what Milwaukee Film is doing with the place. The newly-renovated theater and all-around local treasure is scheduled to return on August 10. A couple weeks later, Oriental will host none other than Wu-Tang Clan member, producer, and filmmaker RZA for an incredible, can’t-miss movie event. The theatre will host “RZA: Live From the 36th Chamber.” The event will bring the legendary rapper to the iconic Milwaukee movie house for a live re-scoring of the 1978 Shaw Brothers kung-fu classic, The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin. RZA will add Wu-Tang Clan’s extensive catalog and his own artistic influence to the entirety of the beloved martial arts movie. At this point, this is the only RZA: Live From the 36th Chamber show scheduled in the Midwest.
WMSE’s 9th annual Backyard BBQ @ Humboldt Park
On Saturday, August 25, from noon until 8 p.m. at Humboldt Park, beloved independent radio station WMSE will once again say thank you to its fans and supporters with its 9th annual end-of-summer shindig. And this year has a hell of a musical headliner: Old 97’s. The legendary band will be joined by an impressive cast of locals, including Buffalo Gospel, The Vitrolum Republic, Bailey Dee, and Altered Five Blues Band.
Wednesday, August 29
L.A. Witch + Moonwalks, and Whips @ Cactus Club
The last time L.A. Witch came to Cactus Club, the dark and dour rock trio was an up-and-coming band that was just starting to turn some heads. This time around, they’re an established band that’s here to stay. The (you guessed it) Los Angeles outfit returns to the site of their first Milwaukee show as part of a tour in belated support for last year’s self-titled debut. Moonwalks will play before them and Whips will ensure this mid-week show is great from top to bottom with some local flavor in the opening slot.