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 seeing Corey Feldman knock out his front tooth at Shank Hall, 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 up-and-down 2017, here are 13 things Milwaukee Record recommends you do in December.
Friday, December 1
Paramore + Dashboard Confessional, and The Wrecks @ The Rave
Every year, FM 102.1 pulls out all the stops for its Big Snow Show. Night two of the annual affair features an impressive lineup that includes Paramore, Dashboard Confessional (who, yes, has a member from Milwaukee), and The Wrecks.
Saturday, December 2
Phoenix + Cold War Kids, Lord Huron, and Welshly Arms @ The Rave
The Big Snow Show ends with a band on December 2 with a night-three lineup featuring Phoenix, Cold War Kids, Lord Huron, and Welshly Arms.
Brian Regan @ Riverside Theater
Clean comedy is something of an oxymoron these days. In an age that finds stand-up at its crudest, most brazen and experimental, and with little in the way of limitations, the clean, folksy, identifiable comic has gone the way of the buffalo. Of course, there are exceptions. More accurately there’s an exception, and his name is Brian Regan.
Unlike the vast majority of his cohorts in cleanliness, Regan has sustained popularity since the late ’80s. He can command a stage for 90 minutes without offering an inkling of his political or religious standing, and he’s one of the most respected performers among even the harshest and most depraved of his fellow comics. See him in his pretty much annual Riverside appearance, and feel free to bring the kids.
Sunday, December 3
Hover Craft @ The Pritzlaff Building
Since 2009, Hover Craft has brought some of the most skilled local artists, crafters, retailers, and others residing beneath the broad “maker” umbrella together to bring Milwaukee-made goods to area consumers during the holiday season. After stays at the Bay View Brew Haus (RIP), Sweet Water Organics (RIP), and Turner Hall Ballroom, Hover Craft has thrived in the Pritzlaff Building since 2015. The collection of crafters will return to the same site Sunday, December 3 between noon and 6 p.m. for the 8th annual Hover Craft.
Regulars like Kate Funk, Orchard Street Apparel, and Tippecanoe Herbs are returning. This year’s lineup also boasts Hubler Furniture Co., Shovel + Spade, Bay View Printing Co., and many more. In all, more than 100 vendors—up from about 70 last year—will partake in this year’s Hover Craft festivities.
Monday, December 4
Katy Perry + Purity Ring @ BMO Harris Bradley Center
World-renowned pop superstar, brilliant ray of sunshine in an increasingly dark world, and Mader’s celebrity customer Katy Perry will perform a couple blocks from the celebrated downtown German restaurant at the Bradley Center in support of 2017’s Witness. No word on where she plans to eat before and/or after the concert.
Thursday, December 7
Milo + Scallops Hotel, s.al, BLAX, and CRASHprez @ Cactus Club
Months after next-to-nobody made it to Milo’s performance at a rain-soaked Beet Street, the Maine (by way of Milwaukee) musician returns to pull double duty with Milo and Scallops Hotel. Longtime collaborator s.al, as well as BLAX, and Madison’s CRASHprez will open.
Saturday, December 9
Chimp Eats Banana + Sin Bad, and Proud Parents @ Riverwest Public House
Way back in 2015, we introduced you to Chimp Eats Banana. The unorthodox outfit calls itself “Milwaukee’s premier Chumbawamba cover band” and focuses its tribute set on the nonsensically-named British band’s pre-Tubthumper material without even a hint of irony. If you want to hear them play “Tubthumping” live, you’re out of luck. Sadly, you soon won’t be able to hear any Chumbawamba covers in Milwaukee. After a final show next weekend, Chimp Eats Banana is calling it quits. Once the band takes the Public House stage December 9, they won’t get up again. You officially have just one more opportunity to piss the night away with a whiskey drink, a vodka drink, a lager drink, and a cider drink while hearing some songs that remind you of the good times and some songs that remind you of the best times.
Friday, December 15
Matt Braunger @ The Underground Collaborative
The Underground Collaborative has been killing it lately. Not longer after the Grand Avenue basement venue booked the likes of Nick Thune and Hari Kondabolu, and roughly six weeks before Todd Barry takes the stage, The UC will host Matt Braunger. The actor, writer, and comedian brings his wealth of television credits and thousands of hours of stage time to Milwaukee for what’s sure to be a memorable night. Come early and see Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra.
Saturday, December 16
Northless (album release) + Aseethe, Sunless, and Pig’s Blood
The belated release show for Northless’ latest, the critically-lauded Last Bastion Of Cowardice, doubles as the Milwaukee metal mainstay’s 10th anniversary show. Northless will be joined at Cactus Club by Aseethe, Sunless, and Pig’s Blood.
Friday, December 22
Buffalo Gospel + Nickel & Rose @ Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery
Not much to say here. This is just an awesome local show you should attend.
Sunday, December 31
GGOOLLDD @ Turner Hall
Though we hate to see The Get Down be displaced from its recent Turner Hall home, at least it’s for a good reason. A whirlwind 2017 in which GGOOLLDD moved, played SXSW, toured, performed the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer, and released its best EP to date will end with a New Years Eve show in Milwaukee. Ring in 2018 and dance through the winter with one of 2017’s most productive local acts.
Abby Jeanne + Tony Peachka, and Paper Holland @ Cactus Club
Since the outset of 2017, the owner of one of Milwaukee’s—if not Wisconsin’s—best voices released her debut album, stole the show at Local Coverage, played virtually every local event ending in “Fest,” put a few music videos and a radio-ready single out into the world, and earned heaps of glowing local press on the way to winning over hoards of new listeners. With her biggest year yet nearing its conclusion and with plans to make 2018 even better, it’s only fitting that Abby Jeanne will be on stage when the calendar turns. Join Abby Jeanne and friends at Cactus Club for the singer’s “Electric New Year.” The show also features Minnesota-based Tony Peachka and Paper Holland.
The Record Company + Field Report @ Riverside Theater
We all know about The Record Company by this point. The Grammy-nominated band that’s fronted by Milwaukee ex-pat Chris Vos previously sold out Turner Hall and is now ready to say goodbye to 2017 with a NYE gig at Riverside Theater. Field Report, another beloved Milwaukee-sired project with national appeal, opens.