It’s sad, but it’s true: another summer is coming to an end. Though we’re entering the final weekend of the season, it’s not all bad news. For example, Milwaukee and its surrounding cities are still hosting a ton of festivals this fall (more on that next week!). 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 Show concert series. There are a ton of great shows coming to the greater Milwaukee area in the next three months. Here are 30 standouts from the bunch. Be sure to check our Calendar page for more listings.
Thursday, September 22 to Saturday, September 24
Dan St. Germain @ The Laughing Tap
Over the course of his long and impressive comedy career, Dan St. Germain has accumulated a bunch of TV credits, amassed a mess of late night appearances, racked up a wealth of writing work, and somehow still finds time craft top-notch standup material to perform at comedy clubs all over the county. The New York comic will treat The Laughing Tap in Walker’s Point to a total of three performances from September 22-24.
Saturday, September 24
Northless (record release) + Convert, Cryptual @ X-Ray Arcade
Long-running Milwaukee sludge purveyors Northless are coming to X-Ray Arcade to play a belated release show in support of their new record, A Path Beyond Grief. If that’s somehow not already compelling enough to bring you out to Cudahy, Northless will be supported by a duo of local heavy-hitters in the form of Convert and Cryptual.
Sunday, September 25
Old 97’s + Vandoliers @ The Rave / Eagles Club
About two years after releasing their aptly named 12th studio album, Twelfth, Americana stalwarts Old 97’s are hitting the road again. Thankfully, they’ve included Milwaukee on the long-awaited tour AND they’re bringing fellow Texas country-punkers Vandoliers with them for a must-see show at The Rave / Eagles Club.
Lucinda Williams @ Pabst Theater
With 16 outstanding albums, three Grammys, immeasurable artistic influence, and an ever-evolving sound she’s graciously shared with audiences all over the world throughout her 45-year career, it’s safe to say Lucinda Williams is nothing short of legendary. Don’t miss your opportunity to see the incomparable singer-songwriter when she comes to the Pabst Theater on Sunday, September 25.
Monday, September 26
Robert Finley @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Robert Finley says he’s gone from the cotton field the Beverly Hills. At the age of 68, the veteran musician is finally earning some long-overdue attention on account of Sharecropper’s Son, his 2021 record that beautifully chronicles his childhood in the fields of rural Louisiana, the semi-recent loss of his eyesight, his unflappable faith, and various other aspects of his incredible life. The autobiographical album—which was produced by Dan Auerbach of Black Keys—has received oodles of critical acclaim en route to landing Finley on the cover of Spin and on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Almost exactly nine months after opening for Low Cut Connie at The Back Room @ Colectivo, Finley will return to Milwaukee to headline the same venue.
Wednesday, September 28
Milwaukee Record presents ‘The Wedding Singer’ @ Avalon Theater
The Wedding Singer has it all. It has Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in their first of many roles together! It has loads of laughs and oodles of romance! It has a treasure trove of quotes that are still in circulation almost a quarter-century after the film’s release. It has scenes with Jon Lovitz firing on all cylinders and a late-movie cameo by Billy Idol. THERE’S EVEN A RAPPING GRANNY IN THIS MOVIE, PEOPLE!!! If you’ve somehow never seen this critically-acclaimed box office smash or it’s just been a while since your last viewing, we urge you to join us at Avalon Theater on September 28 for this rare screening of this celebrated rom-com. We’re showing The Wedding Singer and you’re reaping all the benefits.
Wednesday, October 5
The Roast Of Milwaukee @ The Cooperage
After a couple of years away, Milwaukee Record’s long-running Roast Of Milwaukee event is back! Like previous years, the event—which is done in association with the Milwaukee Comedy Festival—will feature a stacked cast of local comedians gently (or, in some cases, viciously) making fun of our fair city. Joining the homegrown humorists is host Kristin Brey of “As Goes Wisconsin,” as well as a handful of surprise guests. And the laughs won’t just be at the expense of Milwaukee. A portion of the show’s proceeds will be donated to Milwaukee Women’s Center.
Friday, October 7
Chris Gethard @ X-Ray Arcade
Chris Gethard is a lot of things. He’s a cult comedy legend, the namesake and former figurehead of The Chris Gethard Show, an actor (who you might know from films like Don’t Think Twice and TV shows like Broad City and The Office), the host of the Beautiful/Anonymous podcast, an avid soda pop collector, and an undisputed point of New Jersey pride. He’s also going to be performing two shows in Cudahy this fall. Gethard will come to X-Ray Arcade on Friday, October 7, where he’ll perform two shows with two different formats. The early show will be a live recording of his aforementioned Beautiful/Anonymous podcast. The late show will feature Gethard performing stand-up comedy. Both events are all ages.
Steven Wright @ South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
Often imitated and never replicated, Steven Wright is the master of the one-liner. The veteran comedian has helped revolutionize the art of stand-up with his surrealist and deadpan style and monotone delivery that have been delighting audiences for decades. The legendary humorist will make a rare appearance in the area when he swings by South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center for what’s sure to be an unforgettable and side-splitting show.
Saturday, October 8
Comedian CP @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Wait, Ned from Detroiters—better known as Christopher Powell or “Comedian CP”—is coming to Milwaukee to perform stand-up? Awesome! The actor and comedian who you might know from Empire, Love Life, and from his recurring role in the criminally underrated Detroiters will headline a pair of shows at the Northern Lights Theater on Saturday, October 8. While you wait for these shows, watch him steal scenes throughout the “Hog Riders” episode of Detroiters.
Sunday, October 9
The Mars Volta + Teri Gender Bender @ The Rave / Eagles Club
The Mars Volta is coming to The Rave / Eagles Club on Sunday, October 9. That’s pretty much all you need to know, right? You should go to this. Teri Gender Bender opens.
Peter Mulvey + SistaStrings @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
In late 2020, prolific singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey and the incomparable instrumentalists in SistaStrings co-released Live At The Cafe Carpe, a live album the accomplished artists recorded at the eponymous Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin cafe in pre-pandemic times. Almost two years removed from that record’s release, Mulvey—a Milwaukee-born musician who now calls Massachusetts home—and the Ross sisters—a Milwaukee mainstay who are enjoying tremendous amounts of success following a recent move to Nashville—once again collaborated on a joint album. A few months removed from the release of Love Is The Only Thing, Mulvey and SistaStrings will return to their hometown to perform songs from their two albums.
Sunday, October 16
Dru Hill + SWV, Dave Hollister @ Riverside Theater
Celebrate Sweetest Day a day late with a potent trio of R&B favorites. This Riverside concerts features headliner Dru Hill (who is celebrating its 25th anniversary), as well as SWV and Dave Hollister. Show your significant other “How Deep Is Your Love” and say “I Love You” to them by taking them to this concert.
Thursday, October 20
NNAMDÏ + Joshua Virtue @ Cactus Club
When you have a chance to see Chicago singer, rapper, producer, and multi-instrumentalist NNAMDÏ in an intimate setting like the Cactus Club, you go. Don’t mess this up, Milwaukee. Joshua Virtue opens.
Thursday, October 20 to Sunday, October 23
Jon Lovitz @ Milwaukee Improv
Actor, comedian, Saturday Night Live cast member, former Subway pitchman, and Jay Motherfucking Sherman himself Jon Lovitz is coming to Milwaukee Improv in Brookfield for a total of four performances spread across as many nights. Jon Lovitz is coming to metro Milwaukee…and we’re reaping all the benefits.
Friday, October 21 to Sunday, October 23
Widespread Panic @ Riverside Theater
Everything may be awful, but you can always depend on a few things: death, taxes, and legendary Athens jam band Widespread Panic selling out Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater over multiple dates. If you can manage to score tickets, you can catch the group at one of three shows from October 21-23.
Monday, October 24
Dessa + Open Mike Eagle @ Shank Hall
Dessa can do it all. In addition to forging an amazing career as a singer, rapper, composer, and songwriter (who has been part of more than a few Billboard-charting hits), the multi-faceted Minneapolis musician is also a skilled writer who has been published in a variety of respected national publications. But back to the music stuff: Dessa will swing by Shank Hall on Monday, October 24 for a somewhat rare Milwaukee performance. Open Mike Eagle, a versatile entertainer in his own right, will also perform.
Friday, October 28
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. The beloved local variety show returns to its familiar ballroom haunt on Friday, October 28.
Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29
Shawn Wayans @ Milwaukee Improv
In addition to bring an actor, producer, and filmmaker who helped create some of the highest-grossing comedies of the early 2000s, Shawn Wayans is still a comedian at heart. The accomplished comic and Scary Movie star will come to the region a few days before Halloween for a total of four performances spread between October 28 and October 29.
Saturday, October 29
Mightmare + Rat Bath, Kat And The Hurricane, Dandy L. Freling @ Cactus Club
If you love Sarah Shook, you might also enjoy Mightmare, their decidedly-less-country-tinged new project. Shook’s new venture will come to the familiar confines of Milwaukee’s Cactus Club in belated support of their debut Mightmare album, Cruel Liars.
Sunday, October 30
The Smashing Pumpkins + Jane’s Addiction, Poppy @ Fiserv Forum
Tonight, tonight (well, on October 30, actually)! You can party like it’s 1979 (well, more like it’s 1996, when “1979” came out) in Milwaukee when The Smashing Pumpkins headline Fiserv Forum. This loaded lineup also features Jane’s Addiction and Poppy.
Goblin (‘Suspiria’ Live Score) @ Oriental Theatre
Back in 2018, Milwaukee moviegoers were treated to a screening of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic giallo film Suspiria at the Oriental Theatre. But it wasn’t just any screening—it came complete with a live score from Italian progressive rock band Goblin and founding keyboardist Claudio Simonetti, both of whom provided the iconic original score to the film in the first place. If you missed that event, you’re in luck, because Suspria, Goblin, and Simonetti are set to return to the Oriental on Sunday, October 30. Halloween Eve!
Thursday, November 3
Humbird @ Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery
Humbird—a Minneapolis-based experimental folk project fronted by Siri Undlin—makes its way back to the Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery for another performance in support of last year’s excellent album, Still Life.
Tuesday, November 8
Scott H. Biram @ Shank Hall
Since releasing his solo debut in the year 2000, Scott H. Biram has played thousands upon thousands of shows at venues of all sizes and scope in North America, toured Europe more than 20 times, had songs featured on popular TV shows and Oscar-nominated films, and put out 11 albums. About two years after the release of Fever Dreams, the tireless troubadour you might know as “The Dirty Old One Man Band” makes his way to Milwaukee for a Tuesday night show at Shank Hall.
Friday, November 11
Smoking Popes + Off With Their Heads, Limbeck, The Color Fred @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
While we’re not usually huge on four-band bills these days (sorry!), we’ll make an exception for this stacked quartet that’s coming to The Back Room @ Colectivo on November 11. Legendary Chicago pop-punkers Smoking Popes will be joined by fellow Midwest punk stalwarts Off With Their Heads, as well as California indie outfit Limbeck, and The Color Fred (a band headed up by ex-Taking Back Sunday guitarist Fred Mascherino). Show up early, stay late, and sleep in the next morning.
Meat Wave + Stuck @ Cactus Club
A few weeks removed from the release of their fourth album, Malign Hex, Chicago rockers Meat Wave will return to Cactus Club to head up a show that also features Stuck.
Saturday, November 19
MxPx + Teenage Bottlerocket @ The Rave / Eagles Club
Has it really been 30 years (!!!) since MxPx started? Wow. As we come to terms with how old that realization makes us feel, we recommend you head to The Rave on November 19 to relive your youth through MxPx’s enduring catalog. Oh, and they’ve been regularly releasing enjoyable albums this whole time, so as you scream along with “Chick Magnet” and “Move To Bremerton,” you might even hear some new songs you love in the process. Teenage Bottlerocket opens.
Friday, November 25
Ryan Necci And The Buffalo Gospel @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Even though Ryan Necci—the founding member, bandleader, and namesake of Ryan Necci And The Buffalo Gospel—now calls Tennessee home, we’ve continued keeping tabs on him since he left Milwaukee to start a career as a professional songwriter. Since relocating, Necci has been part of some exciting co-writes and has made the most of awesome opportunities in the Nashville music scene. Thankfully, he and his (primarily Milwaukee-based bandmates) have also kept working on new Buffalo Gospel material. Necci will return to town the night after Thanksgiving to join his band on stage at The Back Room @ Colectivo.
Wednesday, December 7
Eric Benét @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Since first cutting his teeth on stages in Milwaukee during his youth, Eric Benét has released a treasure trove of smooth R&B jams, he’s achieved worldwide acclaim, and he’s toured the planet a few times over. On December 7, the local success story will return to his native Milwaukee for a night to perform favorites from his sprawling catalog.
Friday, December 16 and Saturday, December 17
Dave Attell @ Milwaukee Improv
Veteran stand-up, former Insomniac host, and comic’s comic Dave Attell will end autumn on a strong note with a total of four performances at Milwaukee Improv in nearby Brookfield on December 16-17.