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, 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. That’s not even counting the Wisconsin State Fair, which runs August 1-11. Since this looks to be an active August of entertainment, Milwaukee Record has found 15 especially worthwhile things you should do this month.
Thursday, August 1
Gin Blossoms + Black Moods @ Turner Hall
Gin Blossoms are one of the great re-appreciated bands of the ’90s. Popular but decidedly out-of-step in their heyday (it was the grunge era, after all), the group has since become a reliable and warmly nostalgic touring act. Want to hear Gin Blossoms’ major-label debut, New Miserable Experience, played in its entirety. Good, because that’s just what the band has in store for this show.
Joseph Huber (record release) + Driveway Thriftdwellers @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
Perpetually-touring Milwaukee folk mainstay (and reformed punk) Joseph Huber will return from the road to treat his hometown to a belated release show for his latest record, Moondog, at Anodyne. Driveway Thriftdwellers will play in support.
Milwaukee Comedy Festival: Todd Barry @ Shank Hall
Fresh off releasing his outstanding Netflix special, Spicy Honey, in 2017 and a pair of sold-out shows at Milwaukee’s Underground Collaborative last year, veteran comic Toddy Barry will head up an Shank Hall show on Thursday, August 1. He’ll be joined on this stacked Thursday night showcase by some awesome local talent in the form of Dana Ehrmann and Mike Berg.
Friday, August 2
Milwaukee Comedy Festival: Judah Friedlander + Carter Deems @ Shank Hall
Actor, author, comedian, music video hug-giver, and trucker hat proponent Judah Friedlander will also be keeping the comedy rolling into the weekend. Fresh off the release of last year’s acclaimed Netflix special, America Is The Greatest Country In The United States, the former 30 Rock series regular will be performing all new material at Shank Hall on Friday, August 2 as part of his “Future President” tour. Local treasure, noted battle rapper, and new Wild ‘n Out cast member Carter Deems opens.
Saturday, August 3
Wu-Tang Clan + Madhatter, Bizzon @ Riverside Theater
Wu-Tang Clan is playing Milwaukee this summer. We repeat: Wu-Tang Clan is playing Milwaukee this summer. It’s the group’s 25th anniversary tour—in other words, it’s been 25 (or 26) years since the release of their seminal debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Hell yeah. Milwaukee’s own DJ Madhatter and DJ Bizzon will get the party started.
The Menzingers + The Sidekicks, Queen Of Jeans @ Turner Hall Ballroom
The Menzingers don’t come around Milwaukee all that often, so when they do, it’s to be cherished. Two and a half years after releasing the band’s latest, After The Party, the pride of Philly (by way of Scranton) will come to Turner Hall to head up a show that also features The Sidekicks and Queen Of Jeans.
Milwaukee Comedy Festival: Beth Stelling + Prateek Srivastava @ Shank Hall
The hilarious and all-around wonderful Beth Stelling has been a fixture on late night shows. She’s had specials on Netflix and Comedy Central, and her “We Called Your Mom” podcast is as innovative as it is delightful. The Ohio native will make her Midwest return to head up a show that could quietly go down as the best show of the entire festival. Prateek Srivastava will open.
A Giant Dog + Platinum Boys, Saebra & Carlyle, and Rexxx @ Cactus Club
What’s to say? This lineup is amazing. The Austin-based Merge Records standouts in A Giant Dog will bring home an outstanding show, which features support from a stacked cast of locals that includes Platinum Boys, Saebra & Carlyle, and Rexxx among its ranks.
Sunday, August 4
Milwaukee Comedy Festival: Ari Shaffir @ Turner Hall
Seminal stand-up and This Is Not Happening host Ari Shaffir will bring Milwaukee Comedy Festival to what’s sure to be a thrilling and memorable conclusion with a headlining performance of his new hour, which is entitled “Ari Shaffir: Jew” at Turner Hall on Sunday, August 4. Openers have not been announced, but you’re sure to be in for a treat.
Friday, August 9
Schitt$ Creek: Up Close And Personal @ Riverside Theater
Monday, August 12
Shot For Shot With Chefs Ep. 3 Premiere @ The Cooperage
Join Milwaukee Record at The Cooperage next month for a premiere of the THIRD Shot For Shot With Chefs episode, featuring The Tandem owner/chef Caitlin Cullen. At sundown we’ll screen the new video, then talk about the parts we can remember from that drunken night of fast-friendship, trick bottle opening, and crazy consumption of beer and rye whiskey. Bofferding—the official beer of Shot For Shot With Chefs—will have its delicious Brune on special all night long, and you can expect some specialty cocktails from spirit sponsor Great Northern Distilling. This 21+ event is FREE.
Saturday, August 17
Fat Fest @ Crafty Cow
The second annual Fat Fest will bring the winning blend of “Food. Art. Tunes.” back to Lenox Street in Bay View from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 17. This time around, Crafty Cow and Hot Head (which will only be available for purchase inside the restaurants) will be joined by an impressive cast of outdoor food vendors that includes Lumpia City, The Vanguard, Tots On The Street, and Scratch Ice Cream. Madison-based Plain Spoke will have canned cocktails available on-site, and beer will be handled by Third Space and 3 Sheeps (including a collaborative beer the two breweries will make for the occasion).
Of course, it wouldn’t be a block party without live music. An eclectic array of performers will take the stage from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Here who’s playing: Lorde Fredd33, No No Yeah Okay, Saebra & Carlyle, Surgeons In Heat, and Rexxx.
Thursday, August 22
A League Of Their Own @ Avalon Theater
In mid-July, we announced we would be hosting a special screening of A League Of Their Own at Avalon Theater on Wednesday, August 21. Apparently, we chose wisely because it sold out in just four days. If missed your chance to get tickets to that showing, you’re in luck. We’ve added a second screening the following night. This one—also at Avalon Theater—will take place on Thursday, August 22. Once again, the start time is 7 p.m. and admission is $5. As always, our teammates at Lakefront Brewery will have some delicious beers on draft. We’ll see you there!
Friday, August 23
Peck Flicks: Big Trouble In Little China featuring live score by Can I Kick It @ Marcus Performing Arts Center
Marcus Performing Arts Center is known for hosting touring Broadway productions, concerts, ballet shows, community programs, and other sources of entertainment within its walls all year long. Fortunately, the versatile venue also utilizes its exterior space to bring free, family-friendly entertainment downtown each and every summer.
Though the Marcus Center’s snow pile is (probably?) gone, there’s a ton of other, more conventional sources of fun that will be taking place outside the structure throughout the summer at Marcus’ gorgeous Peck Pavilion. Between late June and the start of September, Marcus Center’s “Live At Peck Pavilion” series will offer film screenings, afternoon and nighttime concerts, a Shakespeare production, a dance competition, and a TRUE Skool block party. Arguably the best of that eclectic range of events is the August 23 installment of Peck Flicks, which features a free screening of Big Trouble In Little China and live accompaniment from Can I Kick It. We repeat: all shows are totally free and open to people of all ages. Food and beverages can be purchased on-site.
Saturday, August 24
WMSE’s 10th annual Backyard BBQ @ Humboldt Park
There’s still a ton of amazing local celebrations on the horizon, and WMSE‘s Backyard BBQ is one of the best. Since 2010, the listener-supported radio station has helped folks start to say goodbye to the season in style with a day full of cold drinks, hot food, and cool music at Humboldt Park. Recent installments have featured touring talents like Old 97’s, Alejandro Escovedo, and Diego’s Umbrella, as well as a ton of Milwaukee’s best bands playing beneath the Bay View park’s bandshell.
Last month, the lineup for this year’s Backyard BBQ—the 10th annual affair—was announced and, as expected, it’s very good. On Saturday, August 24, you can enjoy free, family-friendly entertainment from noon to 8 p.m. from Horseshoes & Handgrenades, LowDown Brass Band, The November Criminals, The Grovelers, and Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound.