Summertime musical entertainment in Milwaukee typically finds a home at the city’s 8,000 street fests, or, you know, that whole Summerfest thing. But look beyond the temporary street stages and the sea of danceable picnic tables and you’ll find plenty of solid shows to keep you busy all summer long. Here are 14 of them.
Friday, June 16
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.”
Sunday, July 16
Elvis Costello & The Imposters @ Riverside Theater
What more needs to be said? Elvis Costello is playing in Milwaukee, so it’d be wise to see him.
Friday, July 21
Violent Femmes + Echo & The Bunnymen @ BMO Harris Pavilion
Though the since-departed Milwaukee outfit seems to play hometown shows with some regularity these days, it’s still special to see the seminal alt-rockers do their thing in there city where it all started. After breaking the 30-year gap between Milwaukee shows last summer, Echo & The Bunnymen will return to play in support.
Monday, July 24
Melvins + Spotlights @ Turner Hall Ballroom
It’s the Melvins! Go! Opener, Spotlights, makes this Monday affair all the more enticing.
Tuesday, July 25
Tim and Eric 10 Year Anniversary Awesome Tour @ Pabst Theater
There are certain shows that need some setup, some background information for fans re-familiarizing themselves with an artist’s body of work, or some context for non-fans who may not know what they’re missing. Then there are shows that need no introduction, like Tim and Eric’s “10 Year Anniversary Awesome Tour.” If you’re a rabid fan of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and their oft-imitated-but-never-duplicated strain of anti-comedy, then you’ll be at this show. “It’s been 10 years,” the duo says. “We are heading out to see our chips across the USA and celebrate this incredible decade of Tim and Eric with a number of new spoofs and goofs, riffs and bits, songs and dances and hope to create memories to last a lifetime.”
Wednesday, June 28
Corey Feldman & The Angels @ Shank Hall
In case you missed it, we drove to Green Bay back in March 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” on Twitter. Let’s see how things go at this show, which falls on the opening night of Summerfest, of course.
Monday, July 31
Milwaukee Record presents The Roast Of Milwaukee @ Club Garibaldi
To help informally kick off the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, we’ve asked local comedians, improvisers, and media personalities to gently (or, in some cases, straight-up viciously) rib the city they love in our Roast Of Milwaukee. The laughs won’t just be at the expense of Milwaukee, patrons can get in for with a non-perishable food donation. Otherwise, it’s just $2. Static Eyes will perform before and after the Roast. If it’s anything like the first two times we did this, it’s going to be great.
Tuesday, August 1
PUP with Meat Wave @ Turner Hall Ballroom
The Canadian pop-punkers in PUP turned a lot of heads and bent ton of ears with its outstanding 2016 sophomore record, The Dream Is Over. With big things almost certainly ahead, take a chance on the up-and-coming outfit at Turner on a Tuesday night. Meat Wave—a Chicago trio whose The Incessant is one of the best records of this abbreviated year—opens.
Thursday, August 10
Ron Funches @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Rejoice, fans of comedy who reside in or around Milwaukee! It’s finally happened. After years of waiting and countless unsolicited requests to venues from certain co-editors of upstart web-only entertainment publications, Ron Funches is coming to town. The immensely lovable and Chicago-born actor and comedian is best known for recurring roles on NBC sitcoms, Undateable and Powerless, but he’s also won the collective heart of comedy fans through unforgettable appearances on @midnight (which he’s won approximately 5,000 times), Kroll Show, and Drunk History, as well as his wholly incomparable on-stage antics.
Friday, August 25
Trailer Park Boys @ Riverside Theater
Milwaukee has a pretty special relationship with Trailer Park Boys. Turner Hall just hosted a rowdy live show with Randy and Mr. Lahey last month. A few years ago, the historic ballroom gave out cheeseburgers at a summer screening of Countdown To Liquor Day. Hell, even tertiary characters like Sam Losco (aka The Greasy Caveman) perform in town now and then. In August, Milwaukee’s love affair with Trailer Park Boys will continue when Turner Hall hosts a show that features some of the cult classic Canadian comedy’s most beloved characters. You can spend “a fucked up evening” with Ricky, Julian, Bubbles, Randy, and Mr. Lahey. Decent!
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.
Wednesday, September 13
Jay Som @ The 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
Spoon is pretty good. So are Twin Peaks.
Monday, September 18
The Flaming Lips + Mac DeMarco @ The Rave