After 11 months of fun, it’s almost time for Milwaukee’s events calendar to flip to a new year. Not even counting the city’s six-month run of festivals, block parties, and two Bubba Sparxxx shows, it’s been a hell of a year for music, comedy, and general randomness. December is no different. Though the holidays monopolize some of it, the final month of the year is no slouch in regard to concerts, comedians, release shows, beer festivities, and other hyper-local fun. As we say goodbye to an enjoyable 2016, here are 16 things Milwaukee Record recommends you do in December.
Thursday, December 1
Milwaukee Record Re-Porter beer release @ Company Brewing
In effort to raise more money for our upcoming Local Coverage benefit (January 13 at Turner Hall), we’ve partnered with Company Brewing to craft the “Milwaukee Record Re-Porter.” December 1, we’ll officially launch our beer at at the Riverwest brewpub with a happy hour release celebration. Between December 1 and January 13, 50 cents of each Re-Porter Company sells will be given to us to donate to Local Coverage beneficiaries Girls Rock Milwaukee and COA Youth & Family Centers (Holton Center).
Friday, December 2
GGOOLLDD + Har Mar Superstar, and Flint Eastwood @ Turner Hall
Less than a year removed from selling out Turner Hall, GGOOLLDD will headline at the downtown ballroom again. This rare outing caps off the band’s biggest year yet, and will give Milwaukee an opportunity to hear some new songs. Har Mar Superstar and Flint Eastwood open.
Rx Drugs (album release) + Split Single, and Midnight Reruns @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
In 2015, we introduced you to Rx Drugs, the new project of The Championship singer and songwriter Joe Crockett. Save for releasing a single and playing fewer than 10 shows, the band—which also boasts past and current members of The Promise Ring, Dashboard Confessional, Hugh Bob & The Hustle, Trapper Schoepp And The Shades, and Mike Krol in its ranks—has been in relative seclusion, at least compared to most of its affiliated acts. Back in August, Rx Drugs broke its silence with the surprise release of its moving and marvelous first album, Future Friction. Now the band is ready to officially release it on vinyl at Anodyne. Split Single and Midnight Reruns open.
The Head And The Heart + Fitz And The Tantrums, and Jimmy Eat World @ The Rave
Every year, FM 102.1 pulls out all the stops for its Big Snow Show. Night one of the annual affair features an impressive lineup that includes The Head And The Heart, Fitz And The Tantrums, and Jimmy Eat World.
Thursday, December 8
Three Floyds Punk House Kegger @ Burnhearts
Burnhearts’ third annual Three Floyds Punk House Kegger combines the clashing concepts of punk—or at least punk-adjacent—bands and rare beer from a small Indiana-based craft brewery. The first two Keggers were smashing successes. This time around, new punk powerhouse Bad Grades and blistering Milwaukee rockers Hot Coffin will provide the soundtrack to the tap takeover. Three Floyds will be bringing Wig Splitter, Space Station Middle Finger, Necron 99, Zombie Dust, Dreadnaught, Jinx, Topless Wytch, Floy Division 2, Blood of the Sunsets, Black Sun Stout, Yum Yum, and Gumballhead to the party.
Friday, December 9
Marielle Allschwang (vinyl release) + Klassik @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
Last year, Marielle Allschwang released her aurally-enthralling and emotionally-arresting Dead Not Done in cassette form. Now, Allschwang and her newly-dubbed “The Visitations” backing band are set to release her masterpiece on clear vinyl and debut a new video for “Aquarium.” What could make this occasion even better? Klassik is opening.
Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10
Dead Horses (album release) @ The Back Room at Colectivo
Since putting out Space And Time in October 2014, Dead Horses have experienced a world of changes. Within those two years, the Oshkosh-born project saw two members move to Milwaukee and the band’s fiddle player depart. Somehow, while condensing down to a trio and settling into a new and unfamiliar location, Dead Horses found time to tour relentlessly. More impressive yet, they also wrote and recorded a new album. Now, a new era of Dead Horses has been ushered in with the release of Cartoon Moon, a 10-song effort that brought the six-year-old band back to basics, while also realigning its focus. Back from the road, Dead Horses will play a belated hometown release show doubleheader at The Back Room.
Saturday, December 10
Listen Up! Volume 1: Room To Live @ The Lindsay Building
Saturday, December 10, a diverse and excellent assemblage of Milwaukee talent will come together at The Lindsay Building (126 S. 2nd Street) in Walker’s Point to play an ALL AGES concert that will benefit Planned Parenthood, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, and The Coalition for Justice. The lineup includes: Dogs In Ecstasy, Zed Kenzo, Siren, Chakara Blu, Platinum Boys, Pleasure Thief, and a secret headliner (who will be announced 48 hours before the show). Moreover, the event will feature a variety show and DJs between acts, food from Gypsy Taco, a beer and wine bar, live visuals, a photo booth, and tables with representatives from each benefiting organization to give more information on the causes.
Dead To Me + Arms Aloft, and Avenues @ Cactus Club
Fat Wreck Chords’ own Dead To Me will come to Cactus Club, fresh off the release of I Wanna Die In Los Angeles. Even better, punctual showgoers can enjoy Eau Claire’s Arms Aloft, playing a set heavy in material from its great Red Scare Industries debut, What A Time To Be Barely Alive. Avenues open.
Saturday, December 11
R. Kelly 12 Nights Of Christmas Tour @ Riverside Theater
Trapped in the Claus set? Sorry. Anyway, the three-time Grammy winner will make Milwaukee one of a select few cities on his 12 Nights Of Christmas Tour in support of his new record by the same name.
Friday, December 16
RISK! Live @ The Back Room at Colectivo
If you didn’t make it to The Back Room at Colectivo’s Prospect Avenue cafe last November 14 to witness the sold out Milwaukee stop on the perpetual tour of Kevin Allison‘s RISK! storytelling podcast, you missed an outstanding, emotional, and occasionally hilarious show. If you regret missing out on an intimate evening of “true tales boldly told” by The State troupe member and a batch of skilled local performers that fateful Saturday night (or you’d like to go again), you’re in luck. RISK! will return to The Back Room this month.
Saturday, December 17
Whips + Dramatic Lovers @ Cactus Club
Milwaukee rock mainstays Whips don’t play out all that often these days. More importantly, Dramatic Lovers—featuring former and current members of Decibully, The Promise Ring, and Maritime—have never played out before. Those two factors alone make this a must-attend.
Thursday, December 22
Snoop Dogg + Bone Thugs-N-Harmony,Warren G, Tha Dogg Pound, DJ Quik, Pomona City Movement, and LBC Movement @ Riverside Theater
Snoop Dogg is performing in Milwaukee. What more needs to be said? Okay, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Warren G are too. See you there.
Friday, December 30
Jim Gaffigan Riverwest Food Pantry Benefit @ Pabst Theater
Food-focused funnyman Jim Gaffigan returns to Pabst Theater for this 10th consecutive year of holiday-adjacent humor. This time around, one of Gaffigan’s shows will double as a benefit, as 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Riverwest Food Pantry.
Local H + Devils Teeth @ Shank Hall
After bringing some warmth to an otherwise brisk night at Summerfest last year and headlining at Shank earlier this year, veteran Illinois outfit Local H will return to its familiar East Side haunt to play “Bound To The Floor” and other material that has made the band worth seeing live for more than a quarter century. Newcomers Devils Teeth (ex-Tigernite and Liar’s Trial) open.