March is a period of transition. The month straddles two seasons, a part-time resident in the ass-end of winter and a temporary tenant within the burst and bloom brought on by spring. As the season changes and we gain an hour of daylight, the glorious onslaught of local festivals is so close, yet still aggravatingly out of reach. Still, there’s a wealth of places to go, people to see, and things to do this month while awaiting the warmth and activity of summer.
Between respected comedians, local release shows, WMSE’s Rockabilly Chili, some and can’t-miss concerts, this March isn’t shaping up to be so bad. Here are this month’s 15 best events in Milwaukee. Check out our calendar for more listings.
Friday, March 1
Jonathan Richman @ Shank Hall
What’s left to say about Jonathan Richman that hasn’t been said before? The prolific Modern Lovers front man-turned-solo artist has rightfully earned his spot in rock and roll history, but you don’t need us to tell you that. Richman’s most acclaimed work may be The Modern Lovers’ discography (and a notable role in There’s Something About Mary), but he’s dedicated his entire life to making music. To this day, he still tours with drummer Tommy Larkin, and the duo are making return to Shank Hall tonight. Read our 2018 email chat with Richman here.
KISS: End Of The Road World Tour @ Fiserv Forum
You wanted the best, you got the best, etc. Says KISS about this “final” tour: “All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who’ve filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years. This will be the ultimate celebration for those who’ve seen us and a last chance for those who haven’t. KISS Army, we’re saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we’ll go out the same way we came in…Unapologetic and Unstoppable.”
Saturday, March 2
Matt Braunger @ The Underground Collaborative
The Underground Collaborative has been killing it lately. Not long after the Grand Avenue basement venue hosted Jackie Kashian, and a few days before Nate Craig takes the same 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.
Sunday, March 3
Turner Hall Tiki Takedown @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Join us at the inaugural Turner Hall Tiki Takedown on Sunday, March 3. From noon to 3 p.m., Turner Hall will host a craft cocktail competition in association with Cutwater Spirits—the official spirit partner of the Tiki Takedown—and Milwaukee Record. Mixologists from a wide variety of area bars and restaurants will make original tiki drinks for people to try and vote on, with one establishment taking home the coveted Tiki Takedown trophy. Participating businesses include Bittercube Bar & Bazaar, Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria, Braise Restaurant & Culinary School, DanDan, Don’s Diner, Finks, Hotel Madrid, Movida, Pete’’s Pops, Pourman’s, The Iron Horse Hotel, The Outsider, and Tin Widow. In addition to tiki drinks, DJ Andy Noble and Milwaukee bands L’Resorts and Cabin Essence will add to the summertime feel of the event with musical accompaniment all afternoon long.
Thursday, March 7
Solemn Oath presents: A Folk House Kegger @ Burnhearts
Burnhearts and Solemn Oath Brewery will join forces for an eclectic night of entertainment they’re calling “A Folk House Kegger.” Starting at 6 p.m., the bar will host a varied cast of musicians, poets, storytellers, comedians, and even a human statue. No doubt inspired by the atmosphere of The Gaslight Cafe in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Burnhearts owner William Seidel set out to bring a wide range of art forms to the event. A Folk House Kegger will feature musical performances from Jeff Falk, King Courteen, and Amanda Huff. There will be a storytellers Leah Delaney and Steph Kilen, and poetry by Kavon Cortez-Jones. Dana Ehrmann and Carter Deems will do stand-up, and human statue Alice Wilson will treat the bar to a live performance as well. The event will also function as a tap takeover for Solemn Oath.
Saturday, March 9
Celebration! @ Club Garibaldi
It safe to say Milwaukee music has never been in a better place than it is right now. One major reason for this especially fruitful epoch of local music is the outstanding, important, and tireless work that women and femme-identified artists, musicians, promoters, photographers, and more have done—and are continuing to do all the time—to push the city to new and improved creative territory. This month, a variety of local musicians, artists, and businesses will be “honoring heroines in the arts” at Club Garibaldi during an event and benefit show that’s simply known as “Celebration!”
The Bay View bar will be alive with the sounds of Saebra & Carlyle, Proud Proud Parents, B~Free, NO/NO, Fox Face, Amanda Huff, and DJ RYOT. There will be live painting by Jenny Anderson and Anna Rodriguez, raffle prizes from local businesses, and free food from Cafe Corazon and Foltz Family Market. Proceeds form the show will be donated to Planned Parenthood Of Wisconsin.
Sunday, March 10
WMSE’s Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser @ Kern Center
Since the early aughts, WMSE has assembled the city’s most skilled chili connoisseurs to vie for prizes in but a few categories during its annual Rockabilly Chili fundraiser. This year, more than 60 restaurants, bars, and cafes will compete. As chili season’s conclusion is nigh, end it in the best way imaginable.
Tuesday, March 12
Big Business + Meat Wave @ Cactus Club
Two words: Meat Wave. Wait, five words: Meat Wave and Big Business.
This show is going to be awesome.
Wednesday, March 13
Nate Craig @ The Underground Collaborative
Nate Craig has come quite a way since leaving the Badger State. Since moving to L.A., the Wisconsin-born comedian has become one of Bill Burr’s go-to openers, he’s amassed a wealth of TV credits on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and Tosh.O, he’s written for Ridiculousness and A Prairie Home Companion, and acted opposite Emma Stone and Jonah Hill on the Netflix’s Maniac.
Though his acting and writing résumés have grown a great deal through the years, Craig is still a stand-up comedian first and foremost. The comic will return to his native state following the release of his latest album, Preferred Customer. Milwaukee comics Greg Bach, Carson Leet, and Joe Riley will also perform.
Thursday, March 14
Becoming: An Intimate Conversation With Michelle Obama @ Miller High Life Theatre
When you have a chance to hear Michelle Obama speak in person, you take it.
Friday, March 15
Mariah Carey @ Miller High Life Theatre
When you have a chance to see Mariah Carey perform in the same venue where Michelle Obama spoke a day earlier, you take it.
RISK! Podcast Live @ The Back Room at Colectivo
After The State—the seminal sketch troupe of which he was one-eleventh—ended, Kevin Allison had a harder time finding his career footing than many other cast members. About a decade ago, though, he found his calling as the creator and host of Risk!, a popular podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.” From harrowing tales of abuse and addiction, funny recollections of bad drug trips and regrettable hookups, and tales of myriad other themes, Risk! ranges from tragic to hilarious to utterly uncomfortable. Months after releasing a Risk! book, Allison will return to Colectivo’s Back Room to lead what’s sure to be a moving show that’s highlighted by local storytellers.
Vince Staples + JPEGMAFIA, Trill Sammy @ The Rave
Vince Staples cut his teeth as an Odd Future associate and one third of Cutthroat Boyz, but the long Beach rapper truly made a name for himself in 2015 with his debut double-LP, Summertime ’06. He followed that up with 2017’s Big Fish Theory. With a proven body of solo work, the 25-year-old phenomenon comes to town in belated support of last year’s MFKZ. JPEGMAFIA and Trill Sammy open.
Wednesday, March 20
Milwaukee Record presents Billy Madison @ Avalon Theater
What’s the best Adam Sandler movie? If you said anything other than Billy Madison, then at no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this website is now dumber for having listened to it. We award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. Join us in remembering exactly how good Billy Madison is when we screen it at Avalon Theater on Wednesday, March 20.
If encouraging you to buy tickets in advance is cool, consider us Miles Davis. Tickets to the 7 p.m. screening are $5. While Snack Packs won’t be available, Avalon will be selling a variety of foods and non-alcoholic beverages on-site. And if you’re like the surly custodian and you’d rather have a beer, Lakefront Brewery—a proud film sponsor—will have a few of their brews on tap at the screening. Movie theaters don’t show Billy Madison very often, so for the love of God, cherish it. You have to cherish it.
Saturday, March 23
Kool Keith + 9th Prince, Dana Coppa, and DJ Mad Hatter @ The Cooperage
Last August, Milwaukee Police shut down Kool Keith’s set at Riverwest Public House after just three songs because of capacity concerns. Whomever gave them that impression sounds like a cool person. Anyway, the legendary rapper took the situation in stride, thanking the Public House staff and tweeting he’d like to “plan another [Milwaukee] location in the future.” Enter The Cooperage. With far more space to work with, nothing (and no one) should get in the way this time around.