Summerfest begins Wednesday, and will bring more than 700 acts to 10 stages—not even counting those weird side stages near the lake—and close to a million people through the gates for 11 days of music, activity, and edible things on a stick. Forced to compete with an event billed as the “World’s Largest Music Festival,” venues across Milwaukee tend to either significantly slow their concert schedule or absolutely vacate their stages during the colossal cluster of concerts at Henry Maier Festival Park.
Though many Milwaukee music promoters take late June and early July off while Summerfest does its thing, traditional venues (and boats) around the city aren’t exactly hurting for shows. For those who need a night or two away from the Big Gig, Milwaukee Record scrounged up some recommendations for shows happening outside the Summerfest umbrella.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28
Corey Feldman & The Angels + Rio Turbo @ Shank Hall
In case you missed it, we drove to Green Bay last month to see a show from Corey Feldman and his band of Angels. We wrote a (remarkably fair and evenhanded) review of said Corey Feldman show. Corey Feldman then proceeded to call us a “total deusche.” So yeah, it was…an experience. (Feldman was apparently upset we linked to a 2013 Vice piece about his birthday party, which we won’t do again here.) And yeah, Corey Feldman & The Angels are now coming to Shank Hall. Here we go again. Fittingly, Rio Turbo will open.
Afflatus + Karate Chop, and Scarecrow Dave @ Bremen Cafe
THURSDAY, JUNE 29
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers + Twin Brother @ Club Garibaldi
Club Garibaldi only has one show during Summerfest’s run, but it’s a goodie. Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Sarah Shook and her Disarmers bring their bold blend of outlaw country and punk rock sensibilities to the Bay View bar just months after the release of Sidelong, Shook’s latest and greatest effort on Bloodshot Records. The new and improved iteration of Milwaukee’s Twin Brother opens.
Faux Ferocious + Iron Pizza, and Surgeons In Heat @ High Dive
The Division Men + Tyne Darling, and Gabriel Harris @ Frank’s Power Plant
Mariano LaTona @ Sabbatic
Wildspeaker @ Quarters Rock ‘N’ Roll Palace
The Slurs + Dopamines, The DUI’s, and Daniel James @ Bremen Cafe
The Mantz Brothers @ The Fire Pit’s Side Bar (Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)
FRIDAY, JUNE 30
Milked + Vacation, Sat. Nite Duets, and Future Plans @ High Dive
Chicago rockers Milked will commemorate the recent release of its latest, Death On Mars, with a Milwaukee outing. Cincy-based Vacation along with Milwaukee’s own Sat. Nite Duets and Future Plans will play in support. The show is scheduled to be done by 8 p.m., meaning there’s still time to hop on a shuttle and catch a headliner at Summerfest.
Sugar Ransom + Jared Rabin, and Carley Baer @ Bremen Cafe
Motley Brue @ Milwaukee Boat Line’s Concert Cruise
Council Of Crooks + The Upanishads, and Dodgeball Club @ Frank’s Power Plant
All Hands In @ Up & Under Pub
Chris Boyden + Mostly Water @ The Fire Pit’s Side Bar (Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)
SATURDAY, JULY 1
10th annual Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party @ Burnhearts
Since opening in 2007, Burnhearts has slowly-but-steadily transformed into one of Milwaukee’s premier beer bars. Along the way, the Bay View lounge’s owners have shown customers they like to party. Beyond Mitten Fest (which has pretty much garnered local holiday status by this point) and Punk House Keggers, Burnhearts also partners with Pabst Blue Ribbon every summer for a day-long block party on a parcel of concrete outside the bar’s digs at the corner of Potter and Logan avenues.
The fun and fancy-free celebration of music, food, crafts, and a beloved cheap beer locals have come to know as “Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party” will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer. On Saturday, July 1, the party will rage on with Joseph Huber, Queen Hilma, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Rx Drugs, AUTOMatic, and Static Eyes.
Blax + Mike Regal @ Milwaukee Boat Line’s Concert Cruise
Noh Life: Tons Of Friends 05 @ Company Brewing
Intrepid Hearts + Sin Bad, and Habitat For Insanity @ High Dive
Los Quietos Del Norte + Noel Torres, Los Buchones De Culiacan, and Proyecto X @ The Rave
Slaughter Party @ Circle A Cafe
Ricky Steece + David Ryle, Wylie Jacobs @ Bremen Cafe
AGNI @ Up & Under Pub
89 Mojo @ Bar 360 (Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)
SUNDAY, JULY 2
Doubletruck + Blessed, and Haunter @ High Dive
While various other venues decide to suspend shows entirely for the duration of Summerfest, it appears as if High Dive has doubled down on shows during this year’s Big Gig. One of the five shows the Riverwest bar will host during Summerfest’s 11-day run is this Sunday show that features a respectable cast of local bands. As always, this High Dive show is free.
The Whiffs @ Circle A Cafe
MONDAY, JULY 3
Whore Of Bethlehem + Prezir, and Splattered Cadaver @ Frank’s Power Plant
Every year after Summerfest’s opening weekend, the festival takes Monday off in order to get the grounds ready to handle the massive event’s second half. Evidently, every Milwaukee venue will take Monday, July 3 off as well. Well, almost every other venue will be without a show. Bay View-based Frank’s Power Plant will have a metal Monday show, including the likes of Austin, Texas’ Whore Of Bethlehem and openers Prezir, and Splattered Cadaver.
TUESDAY, JULY 4
Ian & The Dream + Steve Beguhn, and Jay Matthes @ Klode Park (Whitefish Bay)
Though Summerfest will be in full swing on the Fourth, the rest of Milwaukee seems to be okay not booking any Independence Day outings. However, up at Klode Park in nearby Whitefish Bay, Ian & The Dream, Steve Beguhn, and Jay Matthes will supply the suburban soundtrack during this year’s Klode Festival.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 5
Detenzione + Super Thief, and Fire Heads @ High Dive
Another night, another free High Dive show. This time around, local punkers Detenzione are joined by Super Thief and Fire Heads.
THURSDAY, JULY 6
Selwyn Birchwood @ Shank Hall
If Corey Feldman & The Angels aren’t your thing, perhaps Shank Hall’s other Summerfest-adjacent show is more your speed. Rolling Stone called the young singer-guitarist Selwyn Birchwood “a remarkable contemporary bluesman.” The award-winning Birchwood has all the makings of a great Thursday night show a few miles from the hustle and bustle of the festival grounds.
Drew Ingle @ Sabbatic
FRIDAY, JULY 7
A Giant Dog + Platinum Boys, Whips, and Sweet La La @ Cactus Club
Compared to its usual consistent run of concerts, Cactus Club will keep relativly quiet during Summerfest. Of the Bay View club’s three shows slated to coincide with “The Big Gig,” this one isn’t just the best. It might be the best of the SummerRest. Austin’s own A Giant Dog will bring its Merge Records-approved material to town to headline an amazing Friday night lineup that also includes Platinum Boys, Whips, and Sweet La La. If there were ever a show worth missing Huey Lewis & The News to see, this might be it.
Julieta Vengas @ The Rave
Symptoms + The Jims, Size 5’s, and Mud Dog @ Frank’s Power Plant
Bockenplautz @ Milwaukee Boat Line’s Concert Cruise
Sleeping Jesus + Waldemar @ Company Brewing
Cairns + Llich, and Wavy V @ Bremen Cafe
The Zimmer Effect @ Up & Under Pub
Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadors + Three In A Tree @ The Fire Pit’s Side Bar (Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)
SATURDAY, JULY 8
Kia Rap Princess + Kaylee Crossfire, and Winter Bear @ Riverwest Public House
Kia Rap Princeess is nothing short of Milwaukee-made hip-hop royalty. Fresh off the release of her latest, EverSinceTheAlbum, Kia will headline an impressive genre-melding bill that features the R&B goodness of Kaylee Crossfire, and a rare local outing by Winter Bear. Even discounting what’s happening at the Henry Maier grounds, July 8 is a pretty busy night in loal entertainment. Still, this Public House show takes the cake.
Melkbelly + Fox Face, and TBA @ Cactus Club
Hullmen + Mr. Russia, and Hi/Jack @ Bremen Cafe
Strangelander + The Joshua Catania Trio, and Etherium Ensemble @ Company Brewing
Entropy + Arch Funk, and Conundrum @ Up & Under Pub
The Grasshoppers @ Milwaukee Boat Line’s Concert Cruise
The Ill Mill Comedy Show @ Puddler’s Hall
The Mound Builders + The Dead Morticians, and VexNation @ Frank’s Power Plant
Mirage III @ Bar 360 (Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)
SUNDAY, JULY 9
Stargazer Lilies + Brief Candles, and Panda Riot @ Cactus Club
Before Milwaukee returns to normal following Summerfest’s 50th, East coast shoegazers Stargazer Lilies will cap off a Cactus Club bill that includes fellow shoegaze outfit Panda Riot (out of Chicago), and local support from Milwaukee veteran Brief Candles who, you guessed it, are a shoegaze band.
Order Of Unukalhi + Magnetic Minds, Nevalra, and Black Frost @ Frank’s Power Plant