September is a time of transition. This month finds summer officially giving way to fall. This month also signals the end of Milwaukee’s festival season. Though the seasonal shift essentially puts a nine-month moratorium on outdoor events in town, local clubs and theaters are escalating the volume and the caliber of talent they book in effort to keep the entertainment coming as the temperatures outside dip. That said, Milwaukee isn’t exactly ending this summer with a whimper or lurching into autumn. Between great touring talent, the last few fests, a beloved wrestling and variety show, and even a film screening from yours truly, there’s a lot to keep you entertained this month. Here are 15 of our favorites.
Friday, September 8
Mondo Lucha @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Since 2008, Milwaukee’s Mondo Lucha has whipped the city’s wrestling nerds (and closet wrestling nerds) into the turnbuckles with over-the-top, high-flying, masked lucha libre wrestling extravaganzas. The homegrown company has consistently put on high-production, multi-media shows that dwarf anything else on the indie wrestling circuit, and has done it all with its tongue ever-so-slightly in cheek. If you’re the kind of person who pines for the days when ridiculous storylines ruled the day and the WWE was still the WWF, look no further for your masked, retro wrestling kick to the face. Platinum Boys will play this year’s event. Oh yeah, and Mondo Lucha will also host an intimate screening of Johnny Mundo’s film, Boone: The Bounty Hunter, at Avalon the night before. Mundo will be present for a post-movie Q&A.
Shiner + Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends @ Shank Hall
While Jawbreaker’s Riot Fest reunion is justifiably the focal point for most Midwesterners this month, Shank Hall is hosting another band whose return to the stage is a notable affair. Kansas City’s own Shiner amassed a sizable fanbase and earned ample acclaim between the early ’90s until the band’s 2003 breakup. Shiner has played sporadic reunion shows since 2012, but this show marks the first return to Milwaukee since initially calling it quits nearly 15 years ago.
Saturday, September 9
Moon Curse + Gallery Night, Soup Moat, and Stormchaser @ Cactus Club
This is just a really good local show. Nothing more really needs to be said.
Monday, September 11
P.O.S + B L A C K I E, Zed Kenzo, CRASHprez @ Cactus Club
The only thing better than a musician making a rare appearance in your city is when that rare performance takes place in an intimate club setting. Case in point: P.O.S is coming to Cactus Club. On a Monday night, the pride of Minneapolis’ Doomtree collective will come to the cozy Bay View bar for the second outing on his 30-city “F/W 2017 Rap Tour” in support his latest album, Chill, Dummy. P.O.S—who is making his first non-Summerfest Milwaukee appearance since the most recent (and last?) Eastside Music Tour back in 2014—will be joined by B L A C K I E, Milwaukee’s own Zed Kenzo, and Madison’s CRASHprez.
Wednesday, September 13
Jay Som + Stef Chura, and Soccer Mommy @ Back Room at Colectivo
Back in March, Jay Som sold out Cactus Club while playing in support of her brand new (and just plain delightful) proper debut, Everybody Works. Six months after her awesome introduction to Milwaukee, Jay Som to win over even more locals with her lush and infectious indie rock stylings.
Spoon + Twin Peaks @ Pabst Theater
Hopefully you already bought tickets because this show is sold out.
Friday, September 15
John Mulaney @ Riverside Theater
Since destroying in two Pabst Theater shows back in the spring of 2015, comedian John Mulaney released a heralded comedy special called The Comeback Kid, took Broadway by storm as co-writer/co-director/co-star of the hilarious play Oh, Hello (which was just released on Netflix on Tuesday), and wrote a number of episodes of IFC’s Documentary Now. Along the way, Mulaney found the time to write a new hour of stand-up, which he’s dubbed “Kid Gorgeous.” The writer, actor, and comedian comes to Riverside Theater on September 15 for a pair of shows.
Hari Kondabolu @ The Underground Collaborative
As John Mulaney is doing his thing over the course of two shows at the Riverside Theater, another outstanding comedian will be delighting audiences across the street with a pair of performances in the basement of the Grand Avenue Mall. Roughly a year removed from his Turner Hall appearance and the release of his second album, Mainstream American Comic, fearless Brooklyn comic Hari Kondabolu will come to the cozy confines of The Underground Collaborative for a can’t-miss doubleheader. Even if you’re among the masses going to see Mulaney, you have another show to choose from.
Saturday, September 16
Bay View Bash @ Kinnickinnic Avenue
Entering its 13th year, the Bash will take over a sizable chunk of Kinnickinnic Avenue in Bay View and offer those in attendance an abundance of fried food, beer from various local breweries, goods from area retailers, and 10 straight hours of music coming from four different stages. This year’s lineup features highlights like Daikaiju, Slow Walker, NO/NO, Panda Riot, Abby Jeanne, and Twin Brother. If that’s not enough, Frank’s will host an unofficial Bash show with Population Control, King Eye & The Squirts, among others. Later, Cactus Club will host an after party with A Giant Dog, Platinum Boys, and more.
Dead Cross + Secret Chiefs 3 @ Turner Hall
The word “supergroup” gets thrown around a lot, but Dead Cross fits the bill. The hardcore outfit features members with direct ties to Faith No More, Slayer, The Misfits, The Locust, Fantomas, among other acts. Secret Chiefs 3 (who has Mr. Bungle’s Trey Spruance in its ranks) will open.
Monday, September 18
The Flaming Lips + Mac DeMarco @ The Rave
The Flaming Lips and Mac DeMarco make for a potent one-two punch. Miraculously, the show hasn’t sold out yet, but this combination of the veteran alternative rockers and the up-and-comer warrants consideration, even if it’s happening on a Monday night.
Thursday, September 21
Milwaukee Record presents Dirty Work @ Avalon Theater
For the third year in a row, Avalon Theater is allowing Milwaukee Record to officially say goodbye to the season by screening a movie of our choosing on the last night of summer. This time around, we picked none other than Dirty Work. What does this movie have to do with summer? Uh…nothing. The raunchy 1998 movie finds financially desperate friends Mitch Weaver (played by comic treasure Norm Macdonald) and Sam McKenna (Artie Lange) opening a revenge-for-hire business in an effort to raise money for a black market heart. Hilarity ensures.
Tickets to the 9 p.m. screening cost $6. You should make a note to yourself to attend this because we can safely say this will be your one and only chance to see Dirty Work in theaters. After all these years, this picture still makes us horny. We mean wistful! It…it makes us wistful!
Friday, September 22
Twin Brother + Abby Jeanne, and Dramatic Lovers @ Anodyne Coffee’s Walker’s Point Roastery
You simply will not find a better local show in Milwaukee in September than this stacked three-act bill. The new and improved Twin Brother will headline its EP release show, which also features the wonderful Abby Jeanne and the shoegaze-y stylings of Dramatic Lovers.
Thursday, September 28
The Dirty Nil + Space Raft, and Rio Turbo @ Cactus Club
Ontario-based rockers The Dirty Nil have been bringing their Canadian-crafted tunes to Milwaukee with some regularity of late. This time around, they band—fresh off its European tour in support of its latest EP, Minimum R&B—will anchor a Thursday night Cactus Club show that also includes Space Raft and Rio Turbo. At just $6, you couldn’t ask for a better Packers post-game show.
Saturday, September 30
Stephen King & Owen King @ Riverside Theater
M-O-O-N, that spells legendary author talk. Master of the macabre, highness of horror, and star of that one part in Creepshow where he turns into a plant and then blows his head off, Stephen King will make an appearance at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater Saturday, September 30, along with son/author Owen King. The Kings will discuss their latest collaboration, Sleeping Beauties, which postulates what would happen if women disappeared from the world of men. Each ticket comes complete with one hardcover edition of Sleeping Beauties, and up to 400 attendees will randomly receive a pre-signed copy. There will be no author signing at the event, so save your questions about the new It reboot and the Dark Tower movie for another time.