In September, we officially said goodbye to Milwaukee’s brief-but-bursting summer festival season. A few days after Bay View Bash, fall officially started and, in doing so, also signaled a mass entertainment migration from outdoor stages, patios, parks, and block parties to every vacant crevice of metro Milwaukee bar, theater, and club stage space. Since the threat of winter hasn’t yet reared its ugly head, people still have the festival spirit, even if they have to bring it with them beneath a roof.
This year, though, the return of Beet Street and Fuel Cafe’s inaugural Doomsday event will grant Milwaukee a couple more chances to party outside before year’s end. Not even counting those block parties, the city isn’t hard up for things to do. Between loaded local shows, respected touring bands and comedians, the Milwaukee Film Festival, Halloween weekend fun, and the re-release of our very own beer, maybe autumn won’t be so bad after all. Sit back, enjoy something pumpkin-spiced, and take in some of our favorite October show picks.
Thursday, October 4
PEARS + Mud Dog, and Beggar @ Puddler’s Hall
Noted Fat Wreck Chords punk band and fruit authorities PEARS hail from New Orleans, but they’re no strangers to Milwaukee. Roughly a year after releasing a split with Direct Hit!, the band will return to the city they’re very familiar with to play a new venue. Well, a new venue to them, at least. PEARS will headline an all-ages show at the aged and iconic Milwaukee tavern that also features Mud Dog and Beggar.
Saturday, October 6
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers + The Trongone Band, S.S. Web, Driveway Thriftdwellers @ Cactus Club
Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Sarah Shook and her Disarmers bring their bold blend of outlaw country and punk rock sensibilities to the Bay View bar roughly six months after the release of Years, Shook’s latest and greatest effort on Bloodshot Records.
Friday, October 12
Liz Phair + Speedy Ortiz @ Turner Hall
Liz Phair rules. Liz Phair’s debut album, Exile In Guyville (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year), rules. Liz Phair’s pre-Guyville Girly-Sound tapes rule. The rest of Liz Phair’s career ranges from “yep, still rules” (Whip-Smart) to “huh” (2003’s Liz Phair). But whatever. Liz Phair rules. And now, hot on the heels of the recent release of Girly-Sound To Guyville: The 25th Anniversary Box Set, Liz Phair is coming to Milwaukee (for the first time in seven years, if memory serves).
Saturday, October 13
Beet Street Harvest Festival @ Wentworth and Potter avenues
The city will officially be festing into fall with Beet Street Harvest Festival. Rain put a damper on last year’s festivities, but Goodkind, Palomino, and Cactus Club thankfully decided to press on for a third installment. Join the trio of Bay View businesses on Saturday, October 13 for a day of food, drinks, live music, baking competitions, an urban pumpkin patch, and festival fun for all ages. A chunk of Wentworth Avenue between Goodkind and Cactus Club will be blocked off for the occasion. In addition to the music outside, Cactus Club will offer local and nationally-noted talent all afternoon long, followed by a 21+ after party. Goodkind will be open for brunch. As always, Palomino will host the Great Midwestern Pie Championship. Here’s the lineup.
Sunday, October 14
Restorations + Wild Pink, and Faux Fiction @ Cactus Club
Following a few years away, Philly’s own Restorations is back with renewed energy, new focus, and an awesome new album. Roughly two weeks after the release of the outstanding LP5000, the rock and roll outfit will swing by the Cactus Club to head up a loaded bill that also features Tiny Engines labelmates Wild Pink and Milwaukee’s Faux Fiction.
Tuesday, October 16
Metallica + Jim Breuer @ Fiserv Forum
Wednesday, October 17
Milwaukee Record presents Dead Alive @ Avalon Theater
Do you like movies with goofy, over-the-top gore? Do you like movies with lots of goofy, over-the-top gore? Do you like movies with tons of goofy, over-the-top gore? Then you’re in luck, because on Wednesday, October 17, at Avalon Theater, we’re screening Peter Jackson’s 1992 comedy horror classic Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead). Tickets to the 7 p.m. show are $5. Kick ass for the Lord and buy yours here.
Roughly a decade before Jackson would helm the landmark Lord Of The Rings trilogy, the New Zealand filmmaker was gleefully shocking audiences with his tale of star-crossed lovers, rabid rat-monkeys, unquenchable zombies, some series mother-son issues, ass-kicking priests (“Stand back boy! This calls for divine intervention!”), and enough practical gore effects to make the Evil Dead movies look like a season of The Golden Girls. Similar to the Evil Dead franchise, Dead Alive has its tongue firmly in cheek; scenes of our hero Lionel wrestling with his mother’s zombified corpse, beating up a zombified baby, and mowing down dozens of zombies with a literal lawn mower are so outrageous that it’s impossible not to scream and laugh.
Courtney Barnett + Waxahatchee @ Pabst Theater
Just a few months removed from wowing critics and audiences alike with her excellent Tell Me How You Really Feel, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett will come to Pabst Theater to play a sold out show. Barnett will be joined by Waxahatchee, who recently put out a great record of their own. Hopefully you got your tickets!
Foo Fighters @ Fiserv Forum
Foo Fighters. Fiserv Forum. Fuck yes.
Thursday, October 18 to Thursday, November 1
Milwaukee Film Festival @ various locations
The 2018 Milwaukee Film Festival is less than three weeks away. Soon, the city will be abuzz with 304 films (!), oodles of events and discussions, and one horror movie-themed axe-throwing party at AXE MKE. (Sign up now!) Yes, from October 18 through November 1, the power of film and community will temporarily blot out the existential horror show that is modern life. Finally.
Saturday, October 20
Direct Hit! + The Copyrights, and Telethon @ The Back Room at Colectivo
Since putting out its outstanding Wasted Mind on Fat Wreck Chords in the summer of 2016, Direct Hit! hasn’t only toured relentlessly, but they’ve also found time to write, record, and release a bunch of new music. Last year alone found the band putting out a Record Store Day seven-inch in association with WMSE in April and re-issued 2011’s great Domesplitter on Fat Wreck that same month. As if that wasn’t enough 2017 output, Direct Hit! also contributed six new songs to Human Movement, a 12-song split with PEARS. Oh, and singer-guitarist Nick Woods is also part of an ownership group that bought the former Metal Grill in Cudahy, with plans to re-open the space as an arcade and all-ages venue before year’s end.
Surely, the band is going to take a much needed break now, right? Wrong. Also before the end of 2018, Direct Hit! will release yet another full-length on Fat Wreck Chords. As we wait for that album and enjoy some new singles, Direct Hit! will treat locals to an all-too-rare Milwaukee show. Veteran Illinois-based pop-punkers The Copyrights and local favorites Telethon help make this one a must-see.
Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21
Abby Jeanne’s Cosmic Weekend @ The Cooperage
Back in August month, we debuted a new song by the incomparable Abby Jeanne and announced the hardworking talent’s intentions to host a “Cosmic Weekend” at The Cooperage in October. Part of the lineup for the two-night, two-show extravaganza was announced at that time, with a few surprises promised.
Last month, those unknown acts were revealed and, oh boy, it’s going to be great. The Saturday, October 20 show will be headlined by Bully, with support from The Shivas, Lucille Furs, and more. The following day, Abby will be joined by Lydia Lunch, Fiona Silver, and an outstanding cast of local support. Adding to the 12 projects playing, Abby Jeanne’s Cosmic Weekend will also include art installations, a marketplace, and an art gallery.
Sunday, October 21
Stand Up Science with Shane Mauss @ The Underground Collaborative
Western Wisconsin native Shane Mauss grew up near La Crosse, but actually got his stand-up start in Boston before winding up in Los Angeles and bringing his act to comedy clubs throughout the country. When he wasn’t performing hundreds of show a year, Mauss released a Comedy Central Presents special and two albums, performed on Conan (five times!), and found his material evolving considerably. The comedian will return to his home state with some heady new material in the form of his “Stand Up Science” set. Before this month’s show at The UC, you can learn more about his background, his growth, and his life of a road comic by listening to Mauss’ episode of our On The Record podcast.
Saturday, October 27
Doomsday @ Fuel Cafe 5th Street
On Saturday, October 27, Fuel Cafe and Lakefront Brewery will celebrate 20 years of collaboration by partnering once more on a block party and a limited-release variant of the iconic Fuel Cafe stout. From noon to 6 p.m., a festival called Doomsday will bring food, band, vendors, and a “post-apocalyptic, chaotic Halloween party” to a portion of 5th Street outside the new Fuel location. A brutal batch of bands—including Northless, Moon Curse, Cashfire Sunset, Tan, and more TBA—will provide the afternoon’s soundtrack.
If the ability to enjoy one last festival well into autumn isn’t enough for you, perhaps the opportunity to try the ultra-rare Doomsday beer will bring you out. The bourbon barrel-aged Fuel Cafe Imperial Stout clocks in at a sturdy 11.5 percent ABV, and will ONLY be available at this event. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Lakefront will also have other limited drafts and firkins available.
Sunday, October 28
Fleetwood Mac @ Fiserv Forum
Fiserv Forum’s first full month in operation ends in grand fashion, as the legendary likes of Fleetwood Mac grace the new arena.