Isn’t it funny when people breathlessly tell you that fall is their favorite time of year, like it’s some sort of weird little personal quirk? It’s everybody’s favorite time of year, and if it isn’t, you’re crazy. What’s not to love? Beautiful autumn colors, sweater-and-jeans weather, Halloween, and tons of awesome shows. Here are only a smattering of the latter. (For much more, visit the handy Milwaukee Record events calendar.)
Wednesday, October 1
Nick Thune at The Underground Collaborative
Nick Thune is a very, very funny man. Beyond serving as the current pitchman for the offbeat Honda Fit campaign, the popular comic has a Netflix special, Folk Hero, beneath his belt, along with recent Tonight Show, Conan and @midnight appearances, and guest slots on every comedy podcast you know and love. However, even better than seeing Thune perform is seeing Thune perform in an intimate 90-capactiy space in the basement of the ailing Grand Avenue Mall. The nationally respected comedian is joined by Doogie Horner and up-and-coming Milwaukee comic Allison Dunne in a show people will be bragging about when Thune plays Turner or Pabst next year.
Friday, October 3
The Suicide Machines + Direct Hit! at The Metal Grill (Cudahy)
The Suicide Machines are nothing short of legendary. The Michigan ska-punkers achieved such status throughout the 1990s through the band’s 2006 split. As is way of the world, no break is permanent, and the Machines were operational again—though in limited spurts—in 2009. Now the band that perennial enjoyed high Warped Tour and Riot Fest billing will delight the sub-200-person room of The Metal Grill in nearby Cudahy. Bolstering this already tremendous show is the presence of undersung Milwaukee pop-punk outfit Direct Hit!, the New Orleans punkers of Pears, and Eau Claire’s distinctly not-Bon Iver-y Arms Aloft.
Braid at Cactus Club
Speaking of popular Midwestern bands coming back from extinction, Champaign, Illinois (with both former and current metro Milwaukee ties) the emo royalty in Braid is back in full. After a Burnhearts/PBR Party appearance, and two Turner Hall shows with underwhelming attendance, Braid—who is currently touring in support of its new No Coast—will be right at home in the cozier confines of the Cactus Club. Cloakroom and Milwaukee’s own Midnight Reruns will precede the heralded headliner.
Saturday, October 4
Warpaint at Pabst Theater
The music of Warpaint—an all-female L.A. quartet that has been around for a decade—is cold, dreamy, and artfully deconstructed, perfect for the fall season and upcoming winter chill. The group’s self-titled 2014 album is a stunner, and has led to plenty of high-profile gigs. If you were too busy using the bathroom when Warpaint opened for Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds back in June, now’s your chance to see what you missed.
Friday, October 10
Jerry Seinfeld at Riverside Theater
What’s the deal with Jerry Seinfeld lately? Since his eponymous sitcom ended in 1998, the observational comedian has kept out of the public eye for the most part, outside of cashing incomprehensibly large royalty checks, doing some type of bee movie (the name escapes us), attaching his name to the short-lived The Marriage Ref, and letting people film him in cars on the way to get coffee with comedians. Has Seinfeld’s success made his material less identifiable? Will he come out wearing white athletic shoes with jeans and a blazer? Will it be a show about nothing? Those questions and more will be answered at the Riverside Theater.
Saturday, October 11
Altos + Scrimshaw at Cactus Club
Most shows find bands of similar genre or style sharing a single bill, ensuring the audience knows exactly what it’s getting and comes away satisfied. Then there’s this Altos and Scrimshaw show, which may represent one of the most delightfully Odd Couple-y local pairings we’ve seen in years. The ever-expanding Altos (we’re pretty sure they’re up to 27 members by now) specialize in moody, bombastic, deeply unnerving, and thrillingly beautiful chamber-rock; Scrimshaw, on the other hand, are prone to writing jittery spaz-rock ditties about horses and tiny belts. Both groups are excellent, however, and should not be missed—alone or strangely together.
Sunday, October 12
Big Freedia + Rio Turbo at Turner Hall
With a great title like “The Queen of Bounce” comes great responsibility, but Big Freedia easily lives up to the challenge. The New Orleans musician has been kicking around the underground dance scene since the early ’00s, but has recently found a surprising level of mainstream success thanks to high-profile sets at SXSW and Milwaukee’s PrideFest. Opening this show is Milwaukee’s own booty-shaking sleaze-masters Rio Turbo, which only seems fitting.
Tuesday, October 14
Ryan Adams at Riverside Theater
With 13 studio LPs to his name—and almost as many left-field genre shifts—Ryan Adams is an artist that’s difficult to pin down. About the only connective tissue in Adams’ career is a willingness to try anything—current fads or tastes be damned. His latest album, however (Ryan Adams), is a relatively straightforward collection of guitar rock, which bodes well for his continued future as a musician that simply can’t stop.
Friday, October 17
King Tuff at Cactus Club
The past couple years have found garage rockers King Tuff making regular visits to Milwaukee, bouncing between Quarters and Cactus. Just two weeks removed from its latest and already-most-celebrated Black Moon Spell, the now-Sub Pop roster’ed act will no doubt pack Cactus Club this time around. Cassie Ramone and beloved locals Whips will play in support.
Saturday, October 18
Smith Uncovered: A Re-Interpretation Of The Songs Of Patti Smith at Pitman Theatre
Some of Alverno Presents’ best shows of recent years have found local artists tackling and reinterpreting the music of their heroes. In Beautiful Dreamer: The Foster Project, Juniper Tar’s Ryan Schleicher looked to the influential Americana of Stephen Foster; in Unlooped Vs. Marvin Gaye, 88Nine’s Tarik Moody called on a diverse cast of musicians to reimagine Gaye’s Here, My Dear. For Alverno’s 2014 season, Testa Rosa’s Betty Strigens takes on the music of punk pioneer Patti Smith. She won’t be alone: members of Die Kreuzen, Hello Death, and Nineteen Thirteen will be on hand, as well as Faythe Levine, Karl Paloucek, and Mark Waldoch. In keeping with Alverno’s one-time-only M.O., the specifics of the show won’t be clear until the night of the performance. The only way to know is to be there.
Saturday, October 18
Bastille at Milwaukee Theater
Though the Milwaukee Theater does see the occasional top-notch show grace its stage from time to time (most recently the Shank Hall-produced Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave concerts), it remains woefully underused for most of the year. Hopefully that will change with this Pabst Theater-booked show, which finds English rock darlings Bastille playing in support of their 2013 debut, Bad Blood.
Wednesday, October 22
Field Report at Pabst Theater
After a slow build that’s included dozens of Christopher Porterfield solo shows in every vacant space in Wisconsin between packed cathedrals and sports bar patios, songs dropped on Wall Street Journal, TIME, and Pitchfork, the time has finally come. Over two years after the release of the Field Report’s outstanding debut, the band is back with its long-awaited follow-up, Marigolden (out October 7). Spoiler alert: this one’s even better. Field Report will ring in its new effort at Pabst Theater. If the gorgeous songs and yet-unannounced openers aren’t enough to lure you to the Pabst, Porterfield promised us enough release show extras to make it an extra special occasion.
Thursday, October 23
Tig Notaro at Turner Hall
Comedian Tig Notaro became jumped several thousand rungs up the comedy ladder on August 3, 2012, when she opened a set at L.A.’s Largo with a shockingly frank discussion of her battle with breast cancer, the death of her mother, and the end of a romantic relationship. Alternately uncomfortable, cathartic, and darkly funny, the set was an instant classic. There’s more to Notaro’s act, of course, including hilarious bits about meeting Taylor Dayne, and the “Do not disturb/ No moleste” signs on hotel doors.
Busdriver + Clipping + Milo at Cactus Club
Veteran rapper Regan Farquhar (or “Busdriver”) is worth the price of admission on his own. Touring in support of his month-old Perfect Hair—which features production work by Milwaukee beat-machine Riley Lake—the accomplished Los Angeles emcee makes his second trip to town since February, when he came to Mad Planet as part of Hellfyre Club’s Dorner Vs. Tookie tour. Best yet, ex-Milwaukee rapper Milo also returns to town to open, fresh off his lauded (true) debut album, A Toothpaste Suburb, which Hellfyre put out two weeks ago.
Monday, October 27 through Wednesday, October 29
Dave Chappelle at Pabst Theater (SIX shows!)
You already know about this. You probably already have tickets. If you somehow don’t, tickets to four of this legendary funnyman’s SIX shows are still available at the time this was written.
Friday, October 31
Platinum Boys + Jaill, Sat. Nite Duets at Linneman’s
Platinum Boys are the kind of band that teepees your house, eggs your car, and leaves a flaming bag of dog poop on your front step. They’re obsessed with weed, speed, pizza, and partying, making them Milwaukee’s number-one party band for the Andrew W.K. set. Joining them on this bonkers (and free!) Linneman’s show are Jaill, and Sat. Nite Duets, making this the number-one party show for the night.