Last week, we posted a guide to the unheard of abundance of fall festivals taking place in and around Milwaukee after more than a year without live, in-person entertainment. While those events are already sure to make this autumn an enjoyable one, there are also a ton of musicians, comedians, and wrestling variety shows coming to traditional venues this fall. And that’s not even counting recurring Milwaukee Record events like our Halftime Shows and our Midweek Music concert series!

There are a ton of great shows coming to the greater Milwaukee area in the next three months. Here are 24 standouts from the bunch. Be sure to check our Calendar page for more listings.

Friday, September 24
Dogleg + Retirement Party, Gully Boys @ X-Ray Arcade
In early 2020, Dogleg released Melee. Now the Michigan-based emo greats finally get to play shows in belated support of that outstanding album. As if Dogleg playing an all-ages show in our neck of the woods isn’t already great enough, they’ll be joined by Retirement Party and Gully Boys. Wow!

Thursday, September 30
Lara Beitz @ Milwaukee Improv
A few weeks removed from opening for Joe Rogan at Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee-born and -raised comedian Lara Beitz (who is now based on Los Angeles) will return to her old stomping grounds to headline a September 30 show at the newly-opened 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. But don’t take those guys’ word for it: come to the Improv and see for yourself. Beitz will also headline the final night of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival on October 10.

Friday, October 1
Alice Cooper + Ace Frehley @ BMO Harris Pavilion

Wednesday, October 6
Off With Their Heads + Canadian Rifle, Chinese Telephones @ X-Ray Arcade
Minneapolis punk greats and 2017 Dummerfest headliner Off With Their Heads return to Cudahy to head up an impressive bill that also features support from Canadian Rifle and Chinese Telephones.

Friday, October 8
Boris The Sprinkler + Holy Shit!, Indonesian Junk, The Malones @ X-Ray Arcade
Even before the pandemic, there weren’t too many opportunities to see Boris The Sprinkler live. The iconic and influential Green Bay punk rock spectacle is coming out of hiding to play a rare Milwaukee-area show at X-Ray Arcade. Show up early to get a good spot, and enjoy opening sets by Holy Shit!, Indonesian Junk, and The Malones.

“A Night Of Twin Peaks” Gallery Show @ Alive And Fine (with after-party @ Cactus Club)
Yes, on Friday, October 8, from 5-10 p.m., Bay View vintage store Alive And Fine will host a group gallery show inspired by the ’90s TV cult classic (and don’t forget the recent reboot!) Twin Peaks. We’ll have more information on the gallery show soon, though Alive And Fine owner Ashley Smith assures us “there will be pie.” But that’s not all, Peaks freaks. There will also be an after-party at Cactus Club, complete with a $150 cash prize “Miss Twin Peaks” costume contest AND a performance by Milwaukee pop-up/supergroup Damn Fine Coffee.

Sunday, October 10
The Record Company + JJ Wilde @ Turner Hall Ballroom
We all know about The Record Company by this point. The Grammy-nominated band that’s fronted by Milwaukee ex-pat Chris Vos previously sold out Turner Hall and is now ready to return to town for another Turner Hall go-round mere days after the release of their latest album, Play Loud. JJ Wilde opens.

Saturday, October 16
Devils Teeth (5-Year Anniversary) + Fox Face, Walt Hamburger, Soup Moat @ X-Ray Arcade
Devils Teeth is turning five, and we’re the ones who are getting a gift. That present comes in the form of a downright STACKED grouping of Wisconsin acts consisting of the Milwaukee surf-rock outfit, along with Fox Face, Walt Hamburger, and Soup Moat. Don’t. Miss. This.

Friday, October 22
Violent Femmes + Flogging Molly, Me First And The Gimme Gimmies, Thick @ Miller High Life Theatre
It’s another homecoming show for Violent Femmes! Joining Milwaukee’s favorite musical sons on this Miller High Life Theatre bill are Flogging Molly, Me First And The Gimme Gimmies, and Thick. Clap-clap! Clap-clap!

William Elliott Whitmore + The Creek Rocks @ 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. After an extended break, Whitmore is finally able to bring his quality catalog and incomparable voice to The Back Room @ Colectivo. The Creek Rocks will open.

Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23
Bob Saget + Mike Young @ Milwaukee Improv
While most probably know him as Full House’s cleanly dad Danny Tanner or as the wholesome host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Bob Saget has actually enjoyed a 35-plus-year career as a stand-up comedian—and quite a dirty one at that. If you wish to see the sitcom dad you grew up watching in an entirely different way, you got it dude! Saget will come to Brookfield-based Milwaukee Improv on October 22 and October 23 for a total of four comedy shows. Special guest Mike Young will also perform.

Saturday, October 23
The Copyrights @ X-Ray Arcade
Over the course of the Carbondale, Illinois-based band’s 20-year run, The Copyrights have toured all over the U.S. and Europe, shared the stage with some of punk rock’s biggest names, and put out six albums (in addition to a number of other EPs and splits). Following a seven-year gap between records, The Copyrights will release their long-awaited (and tremendous!) new album, Alone In A Dome, on Fat Wreck Chords. With an outstanding new full-length on the way, the band is going back on the road. Thankfully, X-Ray Arcade will be one of the stops on that limited tour. Immerse yourself in the new album when it comes out October 22, then make your way to Cudahy to see The Copyrights the following night.

Sunday, November 7
Mike Birbiglia @ Pabst Theater
Accomplished comedian and storyteller, best-selling author, actor, and NPR regular Mike Birbiglia brings his unique perspective and decades of experience to Pabst Theater on November 7 for what’s sure to be a comedic performance befitting of Broadway.

Thursday, November 11
Mustard Plug + Something To Do, Size 5’s @ X-Ray Arcade
Skank your way down to Cudahy to see 30-year-ska staples Mustard Plug headline a Thursday night soiree that also features local support from Wisconsin ska-punk stalwarts Something To Do and Size 5’s. DJ Kyle Skanson will spin records between sets.

Protomartyr + Melkbelly @ Cactus Club
Though Protomartyr has been kicking since 2008, the Detroit post-punk project didn’t break out until late 2015. That year, Protomartyr’s third full-length, The Agent Intellect, was released and was privy to loads of critical acclaim along with a warm reception from a continually growing fan base. The band followed that up with 2017’s even-better Relatives In Decent and last year’s wonderful Ultimate Success Today. After a few postponements, this show is finally happening! So don’t miss it. And if there’s any hesitation on your part, Melkbelly opening officially certifies this as a can’t-miss event.

Saturday, November 13
Bill Burr @ Miller High Life Theatre
Though Bill Burr is known and loved throughout the world, the legendary comedian and surprisingly skilled actor has a special connection to Milwaukee. In 2017, he raved about The Pfister Hotel, the Riverside Theater, the Harley-Davidson Museum, The Vanguard, Milwaukee’s beer, and the city’s comedy crowds on his Monday Morning Podcast. Likely adding to Burr’s fond feelings for Milwaukee is the fact he regularly performs to sold-out theaters when he comes to town. That trend will likely continue when the surly standup treats Miller High Life Theatre to a pair of performances on November 13.

Sunday, November 14
Bad Religion + Alkaline Trio, War On Women @ The Rave/Eagles Ballroom
Punk vets Bad Religion and Alkaline Trio co-headline a long-awaited tour, which will treat The Rave/Eagles Club to decades worth of songs you know and love. Making this Sunday night show even sweeter is the involvement of excellent opener War On Women. Buy your tickets and don’t be late.

Thursday, November 18
Matt Braunger @ The Laughing Tap
Following a few ill-fated attempts to reschedule over the past year and a half, actor, writer, and comedian Matt Braunger will finally be able to bring his wealth of television credits and thousands of hours of stage time to The Laughing Tap in Walker’s Point on Thursday, November 18 for what’s sure to be a memorable night.

Wednesday, November 24
Mondo Lucha! @ Turner Hall
Since starting in 2008, Mondo Lucha! has brought high-flying wrestling action, burlesque dancers, and live music to its annual Turner Hall showcase. Along the way, the variety show has managed to work with renowned pro wrestlers, sell out numerous shows, and become a must-attend Milwaukee event. After a year away, Mondo Lucha! is returning in full force with a Thanksgiving Eve event that’s worth staying in town to witness.

Friday, November 26
KennyHoopla @ The Rave/Eagles Club
After a handful of Summerfest performances this year, Wisconsin (by way of Cleveland) artist KennyHoopla will return to Milwaukee during his “Survivors Guilt” tour. The up-and-comer has collaborated with blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and is currently on tour with Machine Gun Kelly. Get on the bandwagon now because KennyHoopla is a name you’re going to be hearing a lot more in the years to come.

Friday, November 26 and Saturday, November 27
Jon Dore @ The Laughing Tap
Comedian and actor Jon Dore is no stranger to Milwaukee, having shared the stage as an opener for such noted comics as Nikki Glaser and The Sklar Brothers in somewhat recent stops. Dore will make his Milwaukee return by headlining four shows at The Laughing Tap in two nights, where he’ll treat the intimate club’s crowds to road-tested musings, his dry wit, and his Canadian charm.

Thursday, December 2
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit + Strand Of Oaks @ Riverside Theater
Alt-country powerhouse and one of modern music’s finest songwriters Jason Isbell returns to the familiar confines of Riverside Theater along with his 400 Unit backing band and opener Stand Of Oaks for an early-December show in belated support of last year’s outstanding Reunions.

Sunday, December 5
Arlo McKinley @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
If you haven’t heard of Arlo McKinley yet, you should know he comes with John Prine’s seal of approval. Before Prine’s heartbreaking death this spring, the legendary folk singer handpicked McKinley to join his Oh Boy Records label, an honor granted to only a handful of musicians over the last couple of decades. Last August, McKinley released, Die Midwestern, on the independent label, and his follow-up to 2014’s self-titled debut has received high praise from music media and fans ever since. After his 2020 Back Room show was postponed, McKinley will finally be able to make up the gig when he comes to the Prospect Avenue Colectivo on Sunday, December 5. It’s a Packers bye week, so you officially have no reason to miss this.

Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18
Jackie Kashian @ The Laughing Tap
Since leaving her hometown of South Milwaukee, Jackie Kashian has sustained a long and successful career in comedy that includes a Comedy Central special, a few Conan appearances, and her long-running Dork Forest podcast. She’ll return to the region for two nights of performances at The Laughing Tap in the waning days of autumn.

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Milwaukee Record’s 2021 fall festival guide

About The Author

Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.

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