April is typically a period of rebirth. Baseball season is back, the first full month of spring is upon us, and rampant festival announcements combine with extended daylight and occasional days of unseasonable warmth to signal the city’s best days are soon to come. While we’re still two months removed from PrideFest (the official start of festival season), April brings about other reasons to celebrate.
This particular April will shower the city with tremendous entertainment options, including a local holiday, a Ned Flanders-themed metal band, a Star Wars burlesque parody, and a rare Milwaukee appearance by one of emo’s finest. There’s so much to do this month, but these 15 events stand out to us.
Tuesday, April 2
Wild Belle + Immortal Girlfriend, and DJ Dripsweat @ Cactus Club
Wild Belle is awesome. Immortal Girlfriend is awesome. DJ Dripsweat is sure to play awesome songs between their awesome sets. What better way is there to spend a Tuesday?
Friday, April 5
Goddamn Gallows + Scott H. Biram, and Urban Pioneers @ Pabst Brewery & Taproom
Though Goddamn Gallows (featuring Milwaukee’s own Jayke Orvis) is nothing to shake a stick at, Scott H. Biram makes this a can’t-miss show. The pride of San Marcos, Texas and the self-proclaimed “dirty old one man band” crafts unforgettable tunes that blend blues, country, and punk. Biram tours relentlessly, but it’s been a bit since he’s made his way to Milwaukee. That drought will come to an end when he comes to Pabst Brewery & Taproom.
Saturday, April 6
Okilly Dokilly + Playboy Manbaby, and The Eradicator @ X-Ray Arcade
Okilly Dokilly, “the world’s only Nedal band”—a.k.a. a Ned Flanders-themed metal band—is set to play Cudahy’s new X-Ray Arcade on Saturday, April 6. Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Okilly Dokilly plays original music loaded with “direct Ned quotes,” and puts on shows “that weave together comedy and brutality.” Playboy Manbaby and The Eradicator will play in support. X-Ray’s Simpsons machine will be free all night, of course.
Rose Of The West (album release) + Cashfire Sunset, and Jenny Lee Of Warpaint @ Mad Planet
After bursting onto the scene with a few sythn-y, sleek singles and high-profile shows, Rose Of The West is ready to put an album into the world. Join the up-and-coming outfit at Mad Planet as they release their self-titled debut LP. Cashfire Sunset will play beforehand and Warpaint’s own Jenny Lee will DJ.
Monday, April 8
Jeremy Enigk + Tomo Nakayama @ Shank Hall
When you have a chance to see the voice of Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Theft, you take it.
Tuesday, April 9
Electric Six @ Club Garibaldi
Detroit party-rockers Electric Six may be a long way from their Myspace-era hits like “Danger! High Voltage” and “Gay Bar,” but give them credit for sticking around and sticking to their guns. The band’s 2018 album Bride Of The Devil is filled with the same kind of over-the-top, slightly tongue-in-cheek disco-glam the group has been cranking out for 15 years.
Saturday, April 13
Owen + TBA @ X-Ray Arcade
Despite Milwaukee’s proximity to his hometown of Chicago, Mike Kinsella—of American Football, Cap’n Jazz, Joan Of Arc, and his Owen solo project—hasn’t played in the area in a long time. Just how long has it been? Let’s just say his last show was an abbreviated appearance at Onopa Brewing Company, which has been home to two other breweries in subsequent years. During the long hiatus from Milwaukee, American Football got back together and released a second full-length (with a third one on the way later this month) and Owen put out seven albums. Next month, Kinsella’s 14-year absence from metro Milwaukee will come to an end when the singer-songwriter and emo kingpin plays an Owen show at X-Ray Arcade.
The Empire Strips Back @ Riverside Theater
Of course this is a thing. How has this not always been a thing?” news, a Star Wars burlesque parody called The Empire Strips Back is coming to the Riverside Theater on Saturday, April 13. The show hails from a galaxy far, far away—a.k.a. Australia. Like Yoda once said to his troupe of burlesque dancers: Your clothes. You will not need them.
Sunday, April 14
Milwaukee Record presents: A Milwaukee Day Showcase with Platinum Boys, Klassik, Joseph Huber, Lauryl Sulfate & Her Ladies Of Leisure, and Kavon Cortez-Jones @ The Cooperage
Join Milwaukee Record at The Cooperage on Sunday, April 14 to celebrate Milwaukee Day with an eclectic lineup of local entertainers. We’ve done our part by assembling an all-star cast of some of the city’s finest musicians. Performers include Platinum Boys, Klassik, Joseph Huber, Lauryl Sulfate and her Ladies of Leisure, and host/poet Kavon Cortez Jones.
On top of the music and poetry, we’ll also have yard games on The Cooperage’s patio for your enjoyment. The show will also host booths from a number of local non-profit organizations. The 21+ show—sponsored by Miller High Life, Pedal Tavern, Nail Bar Milwaukee, and Cactus Club—starts at 5:30 p.m. (doors at 4:30 p.m.). Tickets are $10 in advance ($12 doors). There are so many great ways to celebrate Milwaukee on April 14, but we’re pretty excited about this one. We hope to see you there!
Thursday, April 18
The Yawpers + In The Whale, and Wood Chickens @ The Cooperage
It’s been about six months since The Yawpers last played in Milwaukee, but we aren’t complaining. Only a couple seasons removed from the last Cooperage show and roughly a year after playing at Club Garibaldi as well, the Denver-based roots/rock hybrid will return to town to head up an impressive bill at The Cooperage that also includes the likes of In The Whale and Wood Chickens.
Friday, April 19
Deerhoof + Fox Face, and L’Resorts @ The Cooperage
What’s to say about this one? It’s just a great lineup and you should definitely go to this.
Saturday, April 20
Lady Lamb + Alex Schaaf @ The Back Room at Colectivo
In 2015, five-foot powerhouse Lady Lamb delighted close to 200 Milwaukeeans in a mid-summer outing at Turner Hall, which she (Aly Spaltro) called “one of [her] three favorite places to play” in the world. At show’s end, the singer-songwriter assured the decidedly won-over audience “I’ll be back again. I’ll always come back.” True to her word, Lady Lamb returned to Milwaukee in early 2017 to play an intimate solo show at Hear Here studios. She’ll return to town to play a public outing at Colectivo’s Back Room roughly two weeks after releasing her latest album, Even In The Tremor.
Tuesday, April 23
Valerie June + Parker Gispert @ Pabst Theater
Tennessee’s own Valerie June expertly straddles the boundaries of folk, Americana, bluegrass, gospel, soul, and country. No matter what type of music you think she plays, we can all agree it’s nothing short of astounding. About two years removed from the release of her wonderful The Order Of Time, June will take to The Pabst to head up a show that also features Parker Gispert. Not long ago, Valerie June was playing Club Garibaldi, so catch this rising star at Pabst Theater while you still can.
Wednesday, April 24
Milwaukee Record presents The Brady Bunch Movie @ Avalon Theater
Here’s the story: The weirdly brilliant Brady Bunch Movie imagines what would happen if the titular ’70s sitcom family was living in the then-present day of 1995. The Bradys are still the same—all bellbottoms, platform shoes, and astroturf backyards—but the ’90s are all grunge, carjackings, and RuPaul working as a high school guidance counselor. Does fish-out-of-water comedy ensue? You bet your pork chops and applesauce it does.
Here’s another story: In 2019, the distance between the ’70s and the ’90s is nearly the same as the distance between the ’90s and today. The Brady Bunch Movie has become a time capsule in a time capsule. Weird. What does it all mean? It means there’s just more to enjoy when we screen the film at Avalon Theater on Wednesday, April 24. Tickets are only $5, and are available now.
Sunday, April 28
Foals + Preoccupations, and Omni @ The Rave
Fresh off the release of the 15-year-old British band’s latest, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1, Foals returns to The Rave to play material from that stunning effort and other albums in their extensive and altogether wonderful catalog. As if that elegant blend of electronically-accented indie rock isn’t enough, Foals will be joined by Preoccupations and Omni.