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, two nights of John Mellencamp, a cocktail competition, a chili festival, and a ton of excellent touring musicians and comics. There’s a lot happening this April, but here are 15 events that stand out to us.

Saturday, April 1 through Thursday, April 20
“April Powers” Film Series @ Times Cinema
Yeah, baby! Instead of screening one film at Avalon Theater like we usually do each month, we somehow convinced Times Cinema to let us spend April—and parts of May—showing all three movies in the Austin Powers franchise, along with two titles featuring dearly departed character actor Powers Boothe. The five films in the “April Powers” series will be screened a combined total of 34 times (!!!) between March 31 and May 18. Along the way, viewers can see a trio of beloved Mike Myers-starring vehicles and watch Boothe in some memorable roles from the end of his career in MacGruber (arguably the best comedy film of the century so far) and Sin City. Check out the full schedule below.

Sunday, April 2
Turner Hall Tiki Takedown @ Turner Hall
Following successful installments in 2019 and 2021, Turner Hall Tiki Takedown will once again be bringing warm vibes and cool island cocktails back to the eponymous downtown ballroom in early April. From 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, Turner Hall will host mixologists from a variety of local bars and restaurants, each of whom will be serving up their own unique tiki cocktail creations using Cutwater Spirits as they compete for the coveted Tiki Takedown Trophy and Tiki Master title. Stay tuned for a full list of participants.

Thursday, April 6
The Mae Simpson Band + Wurk @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
The Mae Simpson Band, a Minneapolis outfit that astounded us at the Blue Ox Music Festival in 2021, is finally making its way to Milwaukee to treat Anodyne in Walker’s Point to their winning blend of soul, R&B, and rock that’s anchored by the incredible voice of Mae Simpson.

FACS + Primitive Broadcast Service, Ghost Cuts @ Cactus Club
Chicago post-punk project FACS will stop by Cactus Club on the eve of the release of their latest EP, Still Live In Decay. Making this show more appealing is local support from Primitive Broadcast Service and Ghost Cuts.

Saturday, April 8
Bouncing Souls + Anti-Flag, A Wilhelm Scream, The Venomous Pink @ The Rave
A pair of punk rock legends—Bouncing Souls and Anti-Flag—will bring their decades of experience and massive catalogs of influential material to The Rave as part of the Ten Stories High Tour. The dynamic duo will be joined by A Wilhelm Scream and The Venomous Pink.

Monday, April 10 and Tuesday, April 11
John Mellencamp @ Riverside Theater

Wednesday, April 12
Sam Jay @ Milwaukee Improv
Saturday Night Live staff writer and Bust Down co-star Sam Jay is also a remarkable standup comedian with numerous late night TV credits and her own Netflix special that was released in 2020. Don’t miss Jay when she drops by Milwaukee Improv in nearby Brookfield for a single-night engagement on April 12.

Thursday, April 13 to Saturday, April 15
Hari Kondabolu @ The Laughing Tap
Comedian Hari Kondabolu has amassed an impressive reel of TV appearances, has released some chart-topping albums, and has been called “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today” by the New York Times. In late 2017, Kondabolu became a household name and changed the way we watch television (for the better), when TruTV released his Simpsons-centered documentary, The Problem With Apu. Beyond his socially impactful documentary aside, he’s one hell of a comic. Following performances at The Underground Collaborative and The Back Room @ Colectivo in recent years, Kondabolu returns to town April 13-15 for five performances at his new go-to Milwaukee club, The Laughing Tap.

Friday, April 14
Milwaukee Record “Gummy Release Show” with Ladybird (solo) @ Kind Oasis
Yep! Milwaukee Record now has its very own Delta 8 gummies. These…nice 69 milligram assorted sour edibles are produced and sold by Kind Oasis, a local CBD, hemp, and Delta 8 and Delta 9 retailer located on Milwaukee’s East Side. Though they’re available now, we’ll also be hosting a “Gummy Release Event” at Kind Oasis on Friday, April 14, which will feature a solo performance by Ladybird, a local playlist curated by Milwaukee Record, refreshments, and more. The event runs from 4-7 p.m. and is free to attend. Nice.

Sunday, April 16
WMSE’s 21st Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser @ MSOE Kern Center
The 21st installment of WMSE’s wildly popular and delicious Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser event will kick off at 11 a.m. More than 50 different chilis from various Milwaukee restaurants, cafes, and caterers will duke it out for awards in three categories: Meat, Veggie, Heat, and Unique. Will there be an award for Best Display? Yes. Will Chicken Shack DJ Johnny Z and Saturday Morning Cartunes DJ Dietrich spin tunes throughout the afternoon? Yes. Will there be a “new, special edition, very hot” hot sauce from A&M Provisions called Hellraiser? Oh, we have such sights to show you…

Wednesday, April 19
Bikini Kill + Soup Activists @ Miller High Life Theatre
The bad news: After releasing four albums, revolutionary Washington punk band Bikini Kill disbanded in 1997. The good news: They’ve thankfully decided to reunite for occasional tours since 2017, and the current/rescheduled Bikini Kill tour includes a stop at Miller High Life Theatre on Wednesday, April 19. Don’t miss it! Soup Activists open.

Thursday, April 20
Daikaiju + Devils Teeth, Fight Dice @ X-Ray Arcade
While its members call Texas and the Pacific Northwest home, Daikaiju is something of a frequent visitor to metro Milwaukee. The multi-genre musical spectacle known for its fondness of fire will return to X-Ray Arcade for the third time since September 2021. Milwaukee surf rockers Devils Teeth and local D&D-themed band Fight Dice will play before things (literally) heat up in Cudahy.

Friday, April 21
Sunny Day Real Estate + Appleseed Cast @ Pabst Theater
Bands like Sunny Day Real Estate don’t come along very often. Fortunately for us, Sunny Day Real Estate decides to reunite and tour from time to time. The influential emo stalwarts will swing by Milwaukee on April 21 to head up a Pabst Theater outing that also features support from the experienced likes of Appleseed Cast.

Saturday, April 22
Record Store Day @ Lilliput Records
For this year’s Record Store Day installment (Saturday, April 22), Lilliput Records and Milwaukee Record have ambitious plans for a day full of live music, DJ sets, a pop-up cafe, raffles for concert tickets and other goodies, and the chance to get discounts at nearby businesses. Oh, the store will also have some new Record Store Day releases on hand and will be offering sales on a variety of non-RSD releases all day long. Come for the deals and stay for free performances by Doubter, Heather The Jerk, and William Seidel.

Sunday, April 30
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls + Smoking Popes, Scam Likely @ Pabst Theater
Frank Turner has done it all. The English punk singer-songwriter has played thousands of shows over the course of his nearly 30-year musical career. During that over-quarter-century span, he’s released nine excellent albums under his own name, published books, founded a festival, shared the stage with some legendary acts, and earned acclaim from fans all over the globe. About nine months after the well-traveled troubadour’s amazing solo afternoon performance at X-Ray Arcade, Turner will bring his Sleeping Souls bandmates to Pabst Theater for a headlining set that also features Smoking Popes and Milwaukee’s own Scam Likely.

About The Author

Avatar photo
Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.