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. Since this looks to be an active August, Milwaukee Record has attempted to help you out by finding 13 especially worthwhile things you should do this month. Check our Calendar section for more recommended events.
Thursday, August 4 — Sunday, August 14
Wisconsin State Fair @ Wisconsin State Fair Park
One doesn’t hit up the Wisconsin State Fair to eat organic small plate cuisine and witness evocative performance art. People go to the fair to eat cream puffs and weird stuff on a stick, watch pig races and dog diving demos, compete in livestock competitions, and catch performances from acts like Nelly, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tesla, and Charlie Berens. It’s weird, it’s wonderful, and it’s back.
Friday, August 5
Brandi Carlile + Lake Street Dive @ Fiserv Forum
After spending years on the periphery of mainstream notoriety, Brandi Carlile has finally (and quite deservedly) broken out. This week, the multi-Grammy-winning singer and songwriter returns to Milwaukee in belated support of last year’s lauded In These Silent Days. Oh, and Milwaukee’s own SistaStrings will be part of her backing band!
Doughboys Podcast @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Way back in January, Doughboys—a popular chain restaurant podcast—announced the postponement of its latest Milwaukee show. That live show, originally scheduled to take place at Turner Hall on Friday, January 28, was moved to Friday, August 5. A few years after enshrining Culver’s in the Golden plate Club during a Turner Hall live show, Mitch and Wiger will return to Milwaukee with special Marisa Pinson to evaluate another regional chain. This time around finds the ‘Boys reviewing Kopp’s Frozen Custard. Wow.
Friday, August 12
ZOPA + Paul Jacobs @ Cactus Club
If you live in or around Milwaukee and you’re one of the millions of people who watched The Sopranos at some point in the past two years, we have some very exciting news to share. Michael Imperioli—the actor, writer, and director who is best known for playing Christopher Moltisanti on the beloved HBO series—is in a garage rock band that’s playing in Milwaukee. The band, a Brooklyn-based trio named ZOPA, released a debut album entitled La Dolce Vita last year. Imperioli (the band’s singer and guitarist) and company will perform songs from that record (and more?) at the Cactus Club on Friday, August 12.
Dead Horses (album release) @ Turner Hall
Accomplished Milwaukee-based Americana duo Dead Horses will celebrate the August 12 release of their latest album, Brady Street, with a hometown show at Turner Hall that same night. Primarily recorded during the height of the COVID lockdown, the forthcoming record—the the band’s own words—”turns inward and reflects the introspection many of us encountered over the course of the often-melancholy pandemic.”
Sunday, August 14
Bobcat Goldthwait @ The Laughing Tap
Bobcat Goldthwait is coming to The Laughing Tap! Yes, the legendary comedian, actor, director, and documentarian will return to the cozy Walker’s Point comedy club August 14 for one night of stand-up. If you want to see Bobcat perform in an intimate Milwaukee venue, we highly recommend you act soon because tickets are moving fast.
Tuesday, August 16
Jack White + Ezra Furman @ UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
Jack White rules. We haven’t seen Jack White since 2014, so we’re excited to see Jack White again—during his so-called “Supply Chain Issues Tour”—on Tuesday, August 16 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. YES.
Thursday, August 18
Kendrick Lamar + Baby Keem, Tanna Leone @ Fiserv Forum
Why mince words? Kendrick Lamar is one of the best rappers and producers out there right now (and maybe ever?). A few months after the release of his long-awaited and widely-celebrated return album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, the world-renowned performer will take the stage at Fiserv Forum. Baby Keem (Lamar’s cousin) and Tanna Leone will also perform.
Friday, August 19
GGOOLLDD + A Giant Dog, Tigera @ The Cooperage
It’s always a treat when GGOOLLDD plays a show in Milwaukee. And it’s even better when the electronic pop outfit’s rare hometown outing features bands like the Austin rockers A Giant Dog and local up-and-comers Tigera. Don’t miss what’s sure to be an incredible time at The Cooperage on Friday, August 19.
Wednesday, August 24
Joe Pera @ Pabst Theater
Hello. Joe Pera—who headlined two sold-out shows at The Back Room @ Colectivo in April—is returning to Milwaukee on Wednesday, August 24 to perform comedy at the Pabst Theater. The show will be part of the incomparable comic’s “Summer In The Midwest And Rustbelt Tour.” If you’re new to this website and somehow unfamiliar with Joe Pera, the comedian/actor was the star and namesake of Joe Pera Talks With You, a heartwarming and hilarious Adult Swim series that’s filmed primarily in Milwaukee by a largely local crew. We’re big fans of his work. Sadly, since his show was not renewed, this might be your last chance to see Pera in Milwaukee for a while.
Off With Their Heads + Seth Anderson @ X-Ray Arcade
Ryan and Kyle from beloved Minneapolis punk band Off With Their Heads will delight X-Ray Arcade with stripped-down renditions of OWTH songs. Seth Anderson with either open or, like, play with them or something. Honestly, we’re not 100 percent sure what’s happening here, but there’s no way in hell we’re missing it.
Saturday, August 27
Monica Martin @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
In her relatively brief career as a musician, Monica Martin has toured in Australia, New Zealand, around Europe, and throughout the United States. She’s performed on late night night television, shared the stage with world-renowned bands like The Head And The Heart and The Lumineers, and played a bunch of major music festivals. Though she’s done so much already, Martin seems to only be getting started. The Los Angeles (by way of Wisconsin) singer-songwriter, whom you might know from PHOX, is now releasing music under her own name and preparing to release a new album. She’ll return to the Badger State to perform at The Back Room @ Colectivo on August 27.
Wednesday, August 31
Milwaukee Record presents ‘Gremlins 2: The New Batch’ @ Avalon Theater
Director Joe Dante injected plenty of dark and subversive humor into 1984’s Gremlins (look no further than the infamous “Santa Claus” story), but when it came time to direct the sequel six years later, Dante went full Dante. On Wednesday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m., you can experience (or re-experience) this pure, uncut Dante when we screen 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch at the Avalon Atmospheric Theater. Reserved seating tickets are $11, and are on sale NOW. Like all our Avalon screenings, our G2 screening is being sponsored by our pals at Lakefront Brewery.