Though July comes close to matching it, there’s simply no month in Milwaukee that’s more jam-packed with entertainment than June. Festival season officially kicks off with PrideFest, which gives way to Polish Fest, Locust Street Festival, Summer Soulstice, and much of Summerfest. Meanwhile, a bundle of concert series like Chill On the Hill, Jazz In The Park, and Milwaukee Boat Line’s Concert Cruises begin, making every week enjoyable.
We’ve already detailed most of those in our exhaustive Summer Festival Guide but, believe it or not, there’s also a ton of non-festival shows adding to the summer-long entertainment dilemma. From new block parties and stacked local bills to another installment of our Book Club and a motherfucking Corey Feldman concert, here are 15 ways to enjoy June amid the festival frenzy.
Saturday, June 3
Collections Of Colonies Of Bees @ Cactus Club
After more than three years away, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees return with a new lineup and material that’s sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever heard from the creative hive before. The new lineup boasts singer (yes, a singer!) Marielle Allschwang in its ranks. This marks the first of three the Bees will play in a four-week span. Before the Bumstead Block Party and Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party, catch them at Cactus Club with another local supergroup, Dramatic Lovers.
Wednesday, June 7
Future Islands + Milo @ Pabst Theater
Baltimore synth-poppers Future Islands are known for their frequent late night appearances, the incomparable energy they bring to their live shows, and their great (and steadily improving) catalog of records. Fresh off the release of fifth studio album, The Far Field, in April, Future Islands come to Pabst Theater. Lauded local rapper Milo plays in support.
Thursday, June 8
Bumstead Block Party @ Bumstead Provisions (outside)
Since opening last fall, Bumstead Provisions has supplied Bay View with another option for excellent food, as well as a place to buy beer and liquor to-go, a site to try to consume gigantic pretzel sandwiches, and an outdoor gallery of art devoted to Chris Farley. Along the way, Twelve12 Hospitality Group—which owns both Bumstead and Crafty Cow in Oconomowoc—decided to open another Crafty Cow within the business on the corner of Kinnickinnic Ave. and Lennox St.
With two Bay View restaurants up and running, the restaurateurs are ready to celebrate their first full summer in Milwaukee in grand fashion. On Thursday, June 8, a one-block stretch of Lennox will be shut down for the inaugural Bumstead Block Party. Performers include Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Klassik, Mark Waldoch, Surgeons In Heat, and Eagle Trace.
Thursday, June 8 to Sunday, June 11
PRF BBQ @ various locations
The eight prior BBQs have been held in other states across the country, but PRF BBQ 2017 will be happening right here in Milwaukee. June 10-11, a total of 31 bands will take to Club Garibaldi for the 9th annual PRF BBQ. On top of the official festivities, there’s to be a free kickoff show at Cactus Club on June 8 and a two-stage set-up at, get this, Bounce Milwaukee on June 9. Here’s the full lineup.
Friday, June 9
Tim Kasher + Shoot Down The Moon, John Bradley, and Campdogzz @ Cactus Club
If the name Tim Kasher doesn’t immediately ring a bell, even indie rock novices are surely aware of his work. The frontman and primary songwriter of Cursive and The Good Life brings his decades of experience and dozens upon dozens of songs to the cozy and personal confines of the Cactus Club. Shoot Down The Moon, John Bradley, and Campdogzz play in support.
Holy Sheboygan! + Ruth B8r Ginsburg, Ali Lubbad @ Anodyne Coffee Roasters (Walker’s Point)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a band in Milwaukee (or anywhere, really) like Holy Sheboygan! The self-described purveyors of “garbage folk” are a mishmash of musicians from Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, and any number of temporary locales outside state lines. To celebrate the release of Four, Holy Sheboygan will take the stage at Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery to headline a bill that also includes Ruth B8r Ginsburg, and Painted Caves bandleader Ali Lubbad.
Tuesday, June 13
Portugal. The Man + Electric Guest @ Pabst Theater
Born in Alaska of all places, Portugal. The Man moved to Portland and, later, into public consciousness with 2008’s Censored Colors. With each year and every new album, the band’s legend has only grown. Three days before Portugal. The Man puts out Woodstock, its eighth record, the band will drop by Pabst Theater with opener Electric Guest.
Friday, June 16
Buffalo Gospel + Cavewives, and Zach Pietrini Band @ Company Brewing
What’s to say? Buffalo Gospel is one of Milwaukee’s best bands. Cavewives and Zach Pietrini aren’t exactly slouches either.
Seu Jorge Presents The Life Aquatic: A Tribute To David Bowie @ Pabst Theater
Brazilian singer Seu Jorge found fame in Wes Anderson’s 2004 film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (“ESTEBAN!!!”), playing the guy who plays acoustic versions of David Bowie songs in Portuguese. Now, in honor of the gone-but-never-forgotten Bowie, Jorge will do the same thing at the Pabst Theater. More than that, he’ll recreate the Life Aquatic set on stage, complete with screens crafted as boat sails that will be showing images from the film. “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese,” Bowie once said, “I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.”
Saturday, June 17
Good City Fest @ Good City Brewing
With all the talk (and hard evidence) of the demise of the East Side, here’s some good news: Good City Brewing is doing really, really well. Since opening in the summer of 2016, the upstart craft brewery has filled a hole in the increasingly hole-filled neighborhood, whipped up some tasty brews, and unveiled plans for a big expansion. Now, Good City has announced an outdoor craft beer, food, and music fest to celebrate its one-year anniversary. Good City Fest 2017 will take over the street outside the brewery. Specialty beer releases, including Barrel-Aged Detail Porter and Dr. J IPA, will be featured. Oh, and there’ll be music! Fever Marlene, Klassik, Platinum Boys, Sat. Nite Duets, Twin Brother, and The Quilz will play.
Sunday, June 18
Wilco + Kacy & Clayton @ Riverside Theater
It’s Wilco! You know them. Now you know they’re playing in Milwaukee.
Thursday, June 22
Milwaukee Record Book Club with Vinyl Me, Please @ Cactus Club
Milwaukee Record is dropping by Cactus Club for another edition of our Book Club. This time around, we’ve invited Vinyl Me, Please Senior Editor Andrew Winistorfer (and other VMP contributors) to join us for a lively chat about the record subscription club’s first book, 100 Albums You Need In Your Collection. This event is free and open to the public (21+). It starts at 7 p.m. The book will be available for purchase on-site, and both Vinyl Me, Please and Milwaukee Record will hang out after for a DJ set that will feature albums in the book and beyond. See you there!
Saturday, June 24
Dummerfest 2017 @ The Metal Grill
Back in June of 2015, a dozen (primarily) punk and hardcore bands hailing from five states came to The Metal Grill in Cudahy for an unforgettable day of all-ages fun known as Dummerfest. The inaugural festival featured a guy lighting his own shirt on fire while he was still wearing it, a ski mask-wearing gradeschooler crowdsurfing during Masked Intruder’s set, and 12 hours of tunes supplied by 88 Fingers Louie, Tenement, Get Rad, PEARS, Meat Wave, Juiceboxxx, and Direct Hit!, and more. Following a year away, Dummerfest will return. This year’s edition features Off With Their Heads, Negative Approach, PEARS, The Copyrights, Direct Hit!, and others.
Sunday, June 25
The Little Gig @ parking lot at 360 E. Erie Street
Last summer, chefs Dan Van Rite and Dan Jacobs joined forces to open DanDan. The Third Ward restaurant’s accessible take on high-end Asian-inspired cuisine has earned the young operation oodles of positive press from local and nationally-regarded sources, and has quickly made DanDan one of Milwaukee’s most interesting and most celebrated culinary ventures. With almost a full year in the books, DanDan wants to celebrate.
With the help of Boone & Crockett and Pabst, they’ll take over a Third Ward parking lot to host a block party that will offer food trucks, cool drinks, and live music. Given its proximity to another Third Ward festival that started in late June, the event has been dubbed “The Little Gig.” From noon to 7 p.m., the parking lot at 360 E. Erie Street will serve up goodies from DanDan, Foxfire, Goodkind, Gypsy Taco, Hello Falafel, Iron Grate, and Vanguard. Beyond the excellent food selection on site, The Little Gig also has some musical entertainment from the likes of Dramatic Lovers, Midnight Reruns, Dana Coppafeel, Whips, Maiden Milwaukee, and more.
Wednesday, June 28
Corey Feldman @ Shank Hall
In case you missed it, we drove to Green Bay last month to see a show from Corey Feldman and his band of Angels. We wrote a (remarkably fair and evenhanded) review of said Corey Feldman show. Corey Feldman then proceeded to call us a “total deusche.” So yeah, it was…an experience. (Feldman was apparently upset we linked to a 2013 Vice piece about his birthday party, which we won’t do again here.) And yeah, Corey Feldman & The Angels are now coming to Shank Hall. Here we go again.