Our fat-free, dolphin-safe Milwaukee calendar is chock-full of things to do, but only a handful of events contained therein are worthy of the lofty honor of “Record Recommended” (patent pending). Here are our recommendations for the week of May 9-15, 2016.
Tuesday, May 10
The Prince Experience @ Northern Lights Theater
Prince’s unexpected death last month sent shockwaves through the music world and beyond. Here was one of the greatest artists or his generation—prodiguous songwriter and producer, guitar virtuoso, inappropriate autographer—taken away far too soon. And while there will never be another Prince, Milwaukee is home to a ridiculously great Prince tribute act. The Prince Experience, led by Gabriel Sanchez, has been a festival and club staple around town for years, recreating Purple Rain-era Prince with remarkable skill and respect for anyone who will listen. And there are a lot of people willing to listen: both shows at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater (May 10 and 11 at 8 p.m.) are sold out.
Wednesday, May 11
Neil deGrasse Tyson: An Astrophysicist Goes To The Movies @ Riverside Theater
Back in December 2014, everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, champion of reason, and walking meme Neil deGrasse Tyson dropped by Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater for two enlightening shows dedicated to all things science. Per Milwaukee Record contributor Rob Wieland’s review of one of those shows, the good doctor “didn’t get to be America’s Favorite Really Smart Uncle without being able to entertain.” Tonight, Tyson brings movie-ruining powers to the Riverside with his so-called “An Astrophysicist Goes To The Movies” show. Everything from Star Wars, Interstellar, The Martian, and Mac And Me (we’re hoping) will be fair game, as Tyson discusses all the scientific things the movies got wrong, as well as the things they got right.
Elephant Revival + Dead Horses, Trapper Schoepp @ Turner Hall
We don’t claim to know too much about Elephant Revival, but our familiarity with statewide bluegrass sensation Dead Horses and Milwaukee folk troubadour Trapper Schoepp makes this $10 affair a major bargain. Anything these Elephant Revival guys manage is just a bonus.
Thursday, May 12
Cream City Comedy Festival @ Club Garibaldi
Back in March, Milwaukee Record (a proud event sponsor) announced the existence of Cream City Comedy Festival. Founded by up-and-coming Chicago comics, Milwaukee comedy scene expats Sammy Arechar and Liz Ziner, as well as Vermont transplant Phil Davidson, the inaugural entertainment undertaking will bring more than 60 of the Midwest’s funniest independent comedians to nine venues in four neighborhoods for 11 shows between Thursday, May 12 and Sunday, May 15. Better yet, every show is absolutely FREE. Should the generous spirit strike you during any of the shows, your donation will support NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Illness).
Friday, May 13
In Living Color Comedy Tour: David Alan Grier + Tommy Davidson @ Northern Lights Theater
Say what you will about their choice in acting roles, but David Alan Grier and Tommy Davidson have sustained careers almost any comedian would beg to have. They’ve been doling out laughs on stage and screen for more than 60 years combined, but both will certainly never eclipse the influence and success they enjoyed as major cast members of In Living Color. As a nod to the seminal sketch show that helped cement them as comic commodities, DAG and Davidson are hitting the road to represent the “In Living Color Comedy Tour,” which will stop at the Northern Lights Theater for a pair of Friday night shows (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.). Whether they rehash beloved characters or just do standard stand-up sets, you’re seriously in for a treat.
Lewis Black @ Pabst Theater
Few if any humorists since Sam Kinison have managed to erect more prominent comedy careers from expertly articulated blind rage than Lewis Black. The longtime Daily Show correspondent and veteran stand-up has been screaming about all facets of society’s many failings for decades, but with 2016 being an election year, he’s surely not worried about running out of material any time soon. Mere weeks after his unannounced warm-up spot for his pal Kathleen Madigan’s Pabst Theater special filming, Black returns to the heavy-drinking land he loves for a pair of headlining shows at the very same venue (May 13 and 14 at 7 p.m.)
Saturday, May 14
Hot Coffin (record release) + Soup Moat, SIN BAD @ Cactus Club
Since the last time Hot Coffin put out a record (2013’s LAW, for those scoring at home), the group added Disguised As Birds singer Chris Chuzles at the helm and transitioned into a somehow-even-heavier band in the process. Behind the new frontman’s brutal and bludgeoning voice, the new-look Hot Coffin makes a hell of a second impression with eight pummeling, no-nonsense songs on its self-titled follow-up. Now you can purchase those songs on vinyl.
Sunday, May 15
Brewtown Rumble @ Best Place
Milwaukee is steeped in motorcycle culture—perhaps you’ve heard of Harley-Davidson?—and recent years have seen a welcome resurgance of homegrown bike shows and races. Mere months after Mama Tried’s Flat Out Friday at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena comes the 2nd annual Brewtown Rumble, a ride-in vintage motorcycle show complete with music, food, vendors, and the Brewcity Bombshells. The free fun kicks off at 11 a.m. outside the former Pabst Brewery. (Don’t forget the pre-party the night before at the Harley-Davidson Museum, featuring the music of Soul Low.)