What’s this? A list of shows? A list of summer shows? Yep! After what seemed to be an endless winter that never truly gave way to spring, summer is finally on the horizon. The season officially starts June 20, and it offers no shortage of worthwhile concerts, comedy shows, and other forms of live entertainment. Not even counting the massive list of local festivals happening in and around the city, here are a few of the standout summer shows we’re looking forward to in the next few months.
Thursday, June 23 through Sunday, June 26
Lara Beitz @ Milwaukee Improv
Fresh off appearances on The Late Late Show With James Corden and Marc Maron’s “WTF Podcast,” Milwaukee-born and -raised comedian Lara Beitz (who is now based on Los Angeles) will return to her old stomping grounds June 23-26 to headline a total of six shows the Milwaukee Improv in nearby Brookfield. In recent years, the homegrown humorist has earned acclaim from Judd Apatow and David Spade, and has become the go-to feature act for Pete Holmes.
Friday, June 24
Joshua Ray Walker + Sarah Shook & The Disarmers @ Cactus Club
If you don’t know the name Joshua Ray Walker yet, you’re about to be hearing a lot about him. Since first gaining notoriety in country music circles with his 2018 debut, Wish You Were Here, the Dallas singer-songwriter has won fans all around the world and earned high praise from some of music’s most renowned publications. Walker’s sophomore album, Glad You Made It, has garnered even more acclaim and finds the up-and-coming country talent on the cusp of even bigger and better things. Walker will be joined by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, who will return to Cactus Club a few months removed from the release of their tremendous new album, Nightroamer.
Saturday, July 2
Alejandro Escovedo + Hanna Simone @ The Cooperage (The Rushes Patio)
Transcendent singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo brings his decades of genre-jumping and altogether astounding material to “The Rushes Patio” outside The Cooperage for a free performance as part of the venue’s Summer Camp series. When you have a chance to see a rock and roll legend on a quaint patio for free, you take it! Hanna Simone opens.
Wednesday, July 6
The Yawpers + Mertles Acres @ Cactus Club
Once a frequent Milwaukee visitor, it’s been more than three years since the last time The Yawpers have performed in town. However, you can rejoice in knowing the Denver-based roots/rock hybrid will return to our fair city to head up an impressive Cactus Club bill that also includes local support from the likes of Mertles Acres.
Monday, July 11
The Bronx @ X-Ray Arcade
Veteran L.A. punk mainstays The Bronx will temporarily break away from their support slot on Frank Turner’s ongoing “50 States In 50 Days” tour to headline a can’t-miss Monday night soiree at X-Ray Arcade. Be there.
Thursday, July 14
Tony! Toni! Toné! @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
R&B greats Tony! Toni! Toné will come to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino for one night only to treat Northern Lights Theater to timeless cuts from their five albums and standout songs they wrote and performed in a wide range of films. You can safely bet this will be a great time.
Wednesday, July 20
Motion City Soundtrack + All Get Out, Neil Rubenstein @ The Rave / Eagles Club
Third time is a charm (hopefully?) for Motion City Soundtrack, who have already twice postponed its “Commit This To Memory” anniversary tour on account of the pandemic. Sure, what started as a 15th anniversary tour to commemorate the Minneapolis band’s breakout album has now become a 17th anniversary jaunt, but this show will be worth the wait.
Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23
Sean Patton @ The Laughing Tap
Comedian Sean Patton has performed on network television talk shows like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Conan, been a frequent fixture on Comedy Central stand-up showcases (including his own half-hour), released two outstanding comedy albums, and has likely been a memorable guest on some of your favorite podcasts. Patton has also become something of a frequent Milwaukee visitor, thanks to the fine folks at Milwaukee Comedy booking him in recent years. He’ll come to the Milwaukee Comedy-owned and -operated Laughing Tap in Walker’s Point for a total of three shows spread over the course of as many nights.
Saturday, July 23
Alanis Morissette + Garbage @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater
Alanis Morissette will bring her 25-year Jagged Little Pill tour to Milwaukee’s American Family Insurance Amphitheater on Saturday, July 23. Oh, and Garbage will open! You, you, you, you oughta go.
MC Chris + Crunk Witch, Guerrilla Ghost @ X-Ray Arcade
Veteran musician, animator, Adult Swim mainstay, nerd culture legend, and guy we once took record shopping MC Chris is coming to Cudahy to head up an X-Ray Arcade show on July 23. Crunk Witch and Milwaukee’s own Guerrilla Ghost will perform in support.
New Found Glory + Four Year Strong, Be Well @ The Rave / Eagles Club
Has it really been 20 years since New Found Glory released Sticks And Stones? Let’s see…2002 plus 20 equals 2022. Yep, the math checks out! The tireless pop-punk outfit is currently celebrating the two-decade anniversary of its most commercially successful album to date (which also brought about regular play on TRL and earned the band Platinum-selling certification) with a tour that includes a stop at The Rave / Eagles Club. Four Year Strong and Be Well will play in support.
Tuesday, July 26
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq The World 2022 Tour
The official RuPaul’s Drag Race world tour returns to Milwaukee with an all new production and a stacked lineup of memorable cast members culled from previous seasons. Just some of the queens you can expect to see taking part in this “Werq The World” tour stop include Kameron Michaels, Rose, Vanessa Vanjie, current All-Stars cast member Yvie Oddly, and all four finalists from Season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race (hell yeah, Lady Camden!). Shantay you should stay in town on July 26 and sashay away to Riverside Theater to see this in person.
Friday, July 29 through Sunday, July 31
D.L. Hughley @ Milwaukee Improv
The Hughley Show namesake, one of the “Original Kings Of Comedy,” and veteran stand-up D.L. Hughley will return to the Milwaukee Improv, which he helped break in last September, when he performs five shows in Brookfield-based club July 29-31.
Friday, August 5
Doughboys Podcast @ Turner Hall
Way back in January, Doughboys—a popular chain restaurant podcast—announced the postponement of its latest Milwaukee show. That live show, originally scheduled to take place at Turner Hall on Friday, January 28, was moved to Friday, August 5. After few years after enshrining Culver’s in the Golden plate Club during a Turner Hall live show, Mitch, Wiger, Emma, and a special guest TBD (hopefully it’s still Betsy Sodaro, who was booked to be the January 28 guest!) will return to Milwaukee to evaluate another regional chain. Will they go to Cousins? Is a Rocky Rococo review in our future? There are a lot of great ones to choose from, so it’s bound to be great.
Brandi Carlile + Lake Street Drive @ Fiserv Forum
After spending years on the periphery of mainstream notoriety, Brandi Carlile has finally (and quite deservedly) broken out. The multi-Grammy-winning singer and songwriter will come to Milwaukee in belated support of last year’s lauded In These Silent Days, and Milwaukee’s own SistaStrings will be part of her backing band!
Friday, August 12
ZOPA + Paul Jacobs @ Cactus Club
If you live in or around Milwaukee and you’re one of the millions of people who watched The Sopranos at some point in the past two years, we have some very exciting news to share. Michael Imperioli—the actor, writer, and director who is best known for playing Christopher Moltisanti on the beloved HBO series—is in a garage rock band that’s playing in Milwaukee. The band, a Brooklyn-based trio named ZOPA, released a debut album entitled La Dolce Vita last year. Imperioli (the band’s singer and guitarist) and company will perform songs from that record (and more?) at the Cactus Club on Friday, August 12.
Dead Horses (album release) @ Turner Hall
Accomplished Milwaukee-based Americana duo Dead Horses will celebrate the August 12 release of their latest album, Brady Street, with a hometown show at Turner Hall that same night. Primarily recorded during the height of the COVID lockdown, the forthcoming record—the the band’s own words—”turns inward and reflects the introspection many of us encountered over the course of the often-melancholy pandemic.”
Tuesday, August 16
Jack White + Ezra Furman @ UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
Jack White rules. We haven’t seen Jack White since 2014, so we’re excited to see Jack White again—during his so-called “Supply Chain Issues Tour”—on Tuesday, August 16 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. YES.
Thursday, August 18
Kendrick Lamar + Baby Keem, Tanna Leone @ Fiserv Forum
Why mince words? Kendrick Lamar is one of the best rappers and producers out there right now (and maybe ever?). A few months after the release of his long-awaited and widely-celebrated return album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, the world-renowned performer will take the stage at Fiserv Forum. Baby Keem (Lamar’s cousin) and Tanna Leone will also perform.
Wednesday, August 24
Joe Pera @ Pabst Theater
Hello. Joe Pera—who headlined two sold-out shows at The Back Room @ Colectivo in April—is returning to Milwaukee on Wednesday, August 24 to perform comedy at the Pabst Theater. The show will be part of the incomparable comic’s “Summer In The Midwest And Rustbelt Tour.” If you’re new to this website and somehow unfamiliar with Joe Pera, the comedian/actor is the star and namesake of Joe Pera Talks With You, a heartwarming and hilarious Adult Swim series that’s filmed primarily in Milwaukee by a largely local crew. We’re big fans of his work. While we wait for Season 4 (please let there be a fourth season!), this live show will be a nice way to pass the time.
Off With Their Heads + Seth Anderson @ X-Ray Arcade
Ryan and Kyle from beloved Minneapolis punk band Off With Their Heads will delight X-Ray Arcade with stripped-down renditions of OWTH songs. Seth Anderson with either open or, like, play with them or something. Honestly, we’re not 100 percent sure what’s happening here, but there’s no way in hell we’re missing it.
Saturday, September 10
Beth Stelling @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Beth Stelling is great. The Ohio native who got her stand-up start in Chicago is an accomplished writer (with credits on Crashing, The Last O.G., Another Period, and Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America), an actor (Corporate, Red Oaks, and Rutherford Falls), and one of the best comedians working today. Stelling’s 2021 one-hour special, Girl Daddy, found the road-tested comedian garnering well-deserved attention from critics and comedy fans alike. On the heels of her most productive year yet, Stelling is hitting the road in 2022 as she embarks on “The Petty Betty Tour.” Fortunately, that run of performances will include a show right here in Milwaukee. Stelling—whose last show in the city was at Shank Hall as part of the 2019 Milwaukee Comedy Festival—will be performing at The Back Room @ Colectivo on Saturday, September 10.
Wednesday, September 14
Yola + Jac Ross @ Pabst Theater
We can’t emphasize this enough: do yourself a favor and see Yola. Sadly, the multi-Grammy nominated musician was unable to perform her scheduled Summerfest set due to a positive COVID case, but this British-born singer that’s destined for even bigger and better things is paying a belated visit to Milwaukee in September (rescheduled from February), where she’ll perform cuts from her 2021 masterpiece, Stand For Myself, at Pabst Theater. Jac Ross opens.
Saturday, September 17
William Elliott Whitmore @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
What needs to be said about William Elliott Whitmore at this point? Over the course of an impressive career that’s spanned more than two decades, the Iowa-born folk legend has performed all around the world, shared the stage with an abundance of renowned musicians, and released eight outstanding albums. Some 11 months after his last stop at The Back Room @ Colectivo, Whitmore will bring his quality catalog and incomparable voice back to the East Side venue.
Sunday, September 18
Tenacious D + DJ Douggpound @ BMO Harris Pavilion
The Greatest Band in the World, Tenacious D, will play Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Pavilion on Sunday, September 18. The D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) will be preceded by DJ Douggpound (a.k.a. Doug Lussenhop). That’s fucking teamwork. And that’s it! Tenacious D rules. Here’s the “Wonderboy” video.