Though it feels like summer just started, we’ve now entered the last full month of the season. Summer isn’t going out with a whimper, though. Quite the opposite. Though the vast majority of the city’s festivals have come and gone, and Brewers season is pretty much officially over, there remains a wealth of concerts, comedy shows, and fests on Milwaukee’s collective calendar. There’s literally at least one worthwhile thing happening every day. Since this looks to be an active August of entertainment, Milwaukee Record has found 15 especially worthwhile things you should do this month.
Tuesday, August 1
PUP + Meat Wave @ Turner Hall Ballroom
The Canadian pop-punkers in PUP turned a lot of heads and bent ton of ears with their outstanding 2016 sophomore record, The Dream Is Over. With big things almost certainly ahead, take a chance on the up-and-coming outfit at Turner on a Tuesday night. Meat Wave—a Chicago trio whose The Incessant is one of the best records of this abbreviated year—opens.
Thursday, August 1-6
Milwaukee Comedy Festival @ various venues
Originating long before the city had anything even resembling a sustainable comedy community, Milwaukee Comedy Festival has grown and evolved in kind with Milwaukee’s humor scene. From August 1-6, the Matt Kemple-curated undertaking will offer an eclectic blend of stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy will come back bigger, better, and with a more renowned headliner than ever in the fest’s 12th year. Following unofficial pre-fest events at 88Nine’s studio and Lakefront Brewery, the fest truly begins August 3 in The Underground Collaborative, where most shows will occur. Following five nights of Comedy Festival performances, the laugh fest will culminate with an August 6 Turner Hall show headlined by actor, author, and comedian Michael Ian Black, who is making his Milwaukee return after more than three years.
Saturday, August 5
Center Street Daze @ Center Street
In 2014, stung by a few years of lousy late-summer/early-fall weather, the organizers of Center Street Daze decided to move their fest up to early August. The new date paid off, and what was once a bittersweet end-of-the-season blowout became a dog-days-of-summer celebration. The musical lineup can be seen here.
Wednesday, August 9
Rancid + Dropkick Murphys, The Bouncing Souls, Jake Burns @ BMO Harris Pavilion
With 110 combined years of stage time between them, this menagerie of punk rock stalwarts is tough to bypass. After playing their own sets, Rancid and Dropkick Murphys are allegedly going to take the stage together for an encore. Before that, the legendary Bouncing Souls and Stiff Little Fingers’ Jake Burns will kick the show off.
“I Love The 90’s” with Vanilla Ice, Kid N Play, All-4-One, Tone Loc, Young MC @ Wisconsin State Fair
This is kind of like the rap and R&B version of that Rancid/Dropkick Murphys show, except with an unabashed scoop of campy ’90s nostalgia thrown in the mix. This year’s Fair entertainment includes John Mellencamp, Beach Boys*, Patti Labelle, and Alan Jackson, but you’d be hard-pressed to decline an opportunity to sing along to All-4-One’s “I Swear,” Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing,” and Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” between bites of cream puff.
Thursday, August 10
Ron Funches @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Rejoice, fans of comedy who reside in or around Milwaukee! It’s finally happened. After years of waiting and countless unsolicited requests to venues from certain co-editors of upstart web-only entertainment publications, Ron Funches is coming to town. The immensely lovable and Chicago-born actor and comedian is best known for recurring roles on NBC sitcoms, Undateable and Powerless, but he’s also won the collective heart of comedy fans through unforgettable appearances on @midnight (which he’s won approximately 5,000 times), Kroll Show, and Drunk History, as well as his wholly incomparable on-stage antics.
Saturday, August 12
I’m Not A Pilot (last show) + Amanda Huff @ Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery
Since the band’s 2008 formation, I’m Not A Pilot has managed four releases, a mess of local awards, various impressive opening slots, and a significant Midwestern following. Along the way, the quartet has championed school music programs, including a 2014 live record the band performed with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. “Milwaukee’s guitar-less rock band” will split up on amicable terms. Singer Mark Glatzel’s semi-recent trip to New Zealand turned into an extended stay and was followed by a move to Los Angeles. If you’d like to see the innovative indie rockers take flight one more time, don’t miss this show.
Sunday, August 13
Sweet Spirit + Abby Jeanne, Tigernite @ Club Garibaldi
We can’t claim to know anything about Austin’s own Sweet Spirit, but Milwaukee favorites Abby Jeanne (arguably the owner of the city’s best voice) and the glam rock juggernauts of Tigernite make this show a must-attend affair. Anything Sweet Spirit brings to the table will just be a bonus.
Tuesday, August 15
Piles + Dramatic Lovers, Mathew Haeffel @ Humboldt Park
It’s amazing that Chill On The Hill has only been around for 13 years. The concept of the mid-week Bay View occurrence is so simple: laying out on a blanket and imbibing food and beverages brought from home (or purchased from a series of vendors on site) whilst enjoying a diverse bevy of homegrown talent. No matter what you’re into, we’re sure there’s something for most every taste under the Humboldt Park amphitheater at least one Tuesday this summer. For us, that particular Tuesday is this outstanding three-pack of locals. Piles’ Expeller is among the best local records of 2017 so far, and Milwaukee supergroup Dramatic Lovers are not to be missed. If you haven’t made it to any Chill installments yet, here’s your shot.
Wednesday, August 16
Beck @ Riverside Theater
Bursting on the scene as a stream-of-consciousness slacker messiah with “Loser” (from 1994’s Mellow Gold), Beck soon moved on to hip-hop pastiche (Odelay), sexed-up funk (Midnite Vultures), acoustic soul-baring (Sea Change), and Grammy Award-winning acoustic soul-baring (Morning Phase). His latest single, “Wow” (from an as-yet-untitled album), promises to continue the musician’s unlikely evolution. One thing Beck hasn’t done, however, is play Milwaukee since 1997. Seriously, it’s been nearly 20 years. Happily, that will change Wednesday, August 16, when he comes to the Riverside Theater to play a sold out mid-week show.
Thursday, August 17 to Saturday, August 19
Wilson Center Guitar Festival @ Sharon Lynne Wilson Center
Since 2013, Sharon Lynn Wilson Center has hosted and organized a celebration of all things guitar. Wilson Center Guitar Festival features live competitions (with $32,000 in prizes) and headliner concerts with international talent performing. This year will feature none other than longtime Tonight Show bandleader, Kevin Eubanks, playing a Saturday show.
Breadfest IV: Weekend at Linneman’s @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
Started by Riverwest troubadour and Breadking Collective co-founder Myles Coyne in 2013, Breadfest was the epitome of a DIY music festival. The undertaking was originally started as a way to give local bands that were snubbed by Summerfest a place to play when the Big Gig was doing its thing. After the inaugural year, it moved to late July and early August in 2014 and 2015. Breadfest took 2016 off, but is back for a three-day “Weekend At Linneman’s” from August 17-19. Here’s the full lineup.
Friday, August 25
Trailer Park Boys @ Riverside Theater
Milwaukee has a pretty special relationship with Trailer Park Boys. Turner Hall just hosted a rowdy live show with Randy and Mr. Lahey in April. A few years ago, the historic ballroom gave out cheeseburgers at a summer screening of Countdown To Liquor Day. Hell, even tertiary characters like Sam Losco (aka The Greasy Caveman) perform in town now and then. In August, Milwaukee’s love affair with Trailer Park Boys will continue when Riverside Theater hosts a show that features some of the cult classic Canadian comedy’s most beloved characters. You can spend “a fucked up evening” with Ricky, Julian, Bubbles, Randy, and Mr. Lahey. Decent!
Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26
Triple Eye Industries Fest 2 @ Club Garibaldi and Cactus Club
Owning a record label isn’t exactly the glamorous and financially lucrative endeavor it once was. Though the profit margins are slim (if they exist at all), countless entrepreneurs continue to funnel their passion for music into record labels, including more than a few operations based right here in Milwaukee. One of the youngest and smallest of those local imprints is Triple Eye Industries.
What the label lacks in longevity and finances, it more than makes up for in ambition. Over the course of roughly 1,000 days in business, they’ve managed an astounding 26 releases, many of them in vinyl format. On Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26, Triple Eye Industries will celebrate its third anniversary with a two-day, two-venue, four-show festival that will feature a total of 21 bands from throughout the Midwest. Here’s the festival’s full lineup.
Wednesday, August 30
Lil Yachty + Reo Cragun @ The Rave
Georgia’s Lil Yachty has accomplished more in the music industry in his teens than most rappers manage in a lifetime. Just one week after his 20th birthday and months removed from releasing his true debut record, Teenage Emotions, Yachty headlines a Rave bill that also includes Reo Cragun.