It can’t be here already. 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, actually. Though the vast majority of the city’s festivals have come and gone, Brewers season is pretty much officially done-zo, and that lion story is starting to gather dust, there remains a wealth of concerts, comedy shows, large scale events, and outdoor movie screenings 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 things you should do this month. From seeing a ’90s band at a zoo to seeing a ’90s band at a ball park, and even seeing four ’90s bands at the State Fair, we have you covered. Shit, some of or picks don’t even involve ’90s bands.
Thursday, August 6
The Roast Of Milwaukee at Bremen Cafe (with music from Piles)
To mark the opening night of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, we’ve planned something special. Excuse us for touting our own comedy festival-affiliated event, but this is going to be awesome. After Piles play songs off their absolutely great Planet Skin and other material, eight outstanding comedians will take some verbal swings at dear old Milwaukee. Some still live here. Others have since moved to New York or Chicago. A few are getting ready to say goodbye. All of them got their start here and are hilarious. Roasters include: Ryan Mason, Allison Dunne, Sammy Arechar, Damon Millard, Liz Ziner, Dylan Payne, Mike Berg, and host Josh Ballew. There are going to be so many lion jokes. Here’s the full event info.
Water Liars + Twin Brother, and Christopher Porterfield at Cactus Club
A bill with Twin Brother and incomparable Field Report frontman Christopher Porterfield is already worth th price of admission. When you add Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records act Water Liars to the mix, you’re entering “can’t miss” territory.
Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 9
Milwaukee Comedy Festival at Next Act Theatre/Turner Hall
The Milwaukee Comedy Festival has been a late summer fixture in the city since, to be perfectly honest, before Milwaukee even had a viable comedy scene worth celebrating. A decade after what was jokingly referred to as “the first annual” (since a second wasn’t expected to occur) and in line with the incalculable growth and development of local stand-up, festival founder, co-producer, and Milwaukee Comedy godsend Matt Kemple is preparing his biggest and best Fest yet in honor of its 10th year. Dozens of stand-up comics, improvisers, and sketch troupes will perform in the Milwaukee Comedy Festival between August 6 and August 9. The four-day fest will culminate with the biggest name that’s ever performed in the event’s 10-year run, as veteran alt-comic Brian Posehn will bring the festival home with an August 9 show at Turner Hall.
Friday, August 7
Chuckle-Mania: A wrestling-themed comedy show at Club Garibaldi
This is easily the weirdest show of our “Extra Laughs” series of pre- and post-2015 Milwaukee Comedy Festival showcases. At one point, eccentric area comedian Gary Zajackowski had an ultra-specific wrestling-themed showcase booked at Club G. Somewhere along the way, the event blew away to parts unknown. We couldn’t resist helping him revive this once-in-a-lifetime show to run in association with the Fest. Together, we rounded up a brawny and varied lineup of funnymen, and we did our best to bring the show to the next level with music from Crappy Dracula 2 and Soup Moat AND a pair of visiting comics—one of whom is a former adult film actress. Name a better way to spent $5. You can’t. Here’s the full event info.
Saturday, August 8
Trapper Schoepp + Joe Crockett at Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery
For more than 15 years, Anodyne Coffee Roasters has helped bolster Milwaukee’s reputation as a Midwestern coffee mecca. We’re big fans, and not just because they’re former Milwaukee Record advertisers. Seriously; this post was formatted at the Anodyne in Bay View. The past couple years have been especially fruitful for the company, as they’ve started offering wood fire pizzas in Bay View and expanded to have shops in the Milwaukee Public Market along with a gorgeous Walker’s Point roastery that also has a stage for all-ages shows. To help Anodyne celebrate its sweet 16th year in business, some of Milwaukee’s best bands will take to that stage on Bruce Street for five free shows. Though they all are appealing and the price is definitely right, we’re most intrigued by Trapper Schoepp, who is playing on the cusp of releasing his new (potentially Marc Maron-featuring) record, Rangers & Valentines this fall. Adding even more to this already great show is an opening set by The Championship bandleader Joe Crockett.
Wednesday, August 12
Under The Sun Tour with Sugar Ray, Better Than Ezra, Uncle Kracker, and Eve 6 at Wisconsin State Fair
Remember the ’90s? These guys are praying you do. “Follow Me” and “Fly” to the Wisconsin State Fair to watch this “Good” novelty show as deep-fried food on a stick turns your guts “Inside Out.” Sorry.
Saturday, August 15
Goo Goo Dolls at Miller Park
After a meaningless Brewers game, listen to the Goo Goo Dolls play “Iris” in a post-game show. Think about how quickly both the Brewers organization and your life have changed in the last 10 years, and cry. Just cry.
Sunday, August 16
Kenny Rogers at Wisconsin State Fair
Make all the facelift jokes you want, but dude sang “The Gambler.” If there’s a better closing-night-at-State-Fair headliner than Rogers, we aren’t aware of him/her.
Thursday, August 20
Busdriver + milo, Lorde Fredd33, Zed Kenzo, and hitmayng at Mad Planet
Even if he hails from Los Angeles, veteran rapper Regan Farquhar (or “Busdriver”) is something of an adopted Milwaukeean by this point. Last October, he came to the Cactus Club in support of his newly released Perfect Hair—which features production work by Milwaukee beat-machine Riley Lake. The accomplished emcee also released a music video in the very same month that was directed by WC Tank and featuring friend of Milwaukee Record Becky Cofta. This show marks Busdriver’s third trip to town since last February, when he came to Mad Planet as part of Hellfyre Club’s Dorner Vs. Tookie tour. He’ll be preceded by his former Hallfyre label mate milo, Lorde Fred33, Zed Knezo, and hitmayng.
Friday, August 21
Lebowski Fest at Cathedral Square Park
Absent from last year’s Milwaukee summer festival season, the touring and ever-popular Lebowski Fest is back. And thorough. Watch the classic Coen brothers classic for the umpteenth time and down some White Russians at Cathedral Square Park on the 21st, then throw a couple of rocks and down even more White Russians at JB’s On 41 on the 22nd. Just don’t try to reschedule the bowling game for religious reasons—you might fool the fucks in the league office, but you don’t fool Jesus.
Gin Blossoms at Milwaukee County Zoo
For going on 31 summers, the Milwaukee County Zoo has served as an unorthodox site for an event that puts a refreshing twist on a black tie affair. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s annual Zoo A La Carte is back with four nights of food, drinks, and entertainment in the proximity of an ark’s worth of confined creatures. While each night has a notable musical act, our money ($14.25 for adults) is on Gin Blossoms to be the highlight. Go ahead and act like you don’t like Gin Blossoms anymore. Yeah, we bet you know every word of “Hey, Jealousy” by heart as some kind of joke.
Saturday, August 22
Norm Macdonald + Kevin Nealon at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater
Saturday Night Live alumnus, master of Bob Uecker tales, and one of the funniest humans on planet Earth, Norm Macdonald will be performing in at Potawatomi Casino’s Northern Lights Theater on Saturday, August 22. The living legend’s appearance will be his first Milwaukee show since he captivated Pabst Theater with over 90-minutes of hilarious rambling in May of 2010. Kevin Nealon will be there too, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Thursday, August 27 to Sunday, August 30
Dusty Medical 10th Anniversary Festival
Way back in 2005, long before everyone and their brother had their own record label, Mistreaters guitarist Kevin Meyer berthed Dusty Medical Records. Since the label’s outset, Dusty Medical has released approximately 50 LPs and seven-inches by 35 bands—the majority of which hail from Milwaukee—and has managed to continue to grow and adapt in the ever-changing music landscape. With an innumerable amount of Meyer’s music-issuing counterparts having come and gone since the independent label’s origin, a decade of existence is absolutely a cause of celebration. Starting August 27, a combined 17 acts (some of which haven’t performed in years) will play five shows at five Milwaukee venues over the course of four days for the Dusty Medical 10 Year Anniversary Fest. Check out the full lineup and schedule here.
Friday, August 28
Meat Puppets at Club Garibaldi
Meat Puppets, who were famously covered during Nirvana’s iconic MTV Unplugged performance (which also featured founding Meat Puppets members Cris and Curt Kirkwood playing along), have been playing their inimitable style of country-tinged punk on and off since 1980. This Friday night show will mark the second time Meat Puppets have played Milwaukee (and Club Garibaldi) since the band’s 2013 stop in support of Rat Farm.
Jurassic Park at Point Fish Fry And A Flick (Discovery World)
Last week, Pabst Theater Group announced Mad Max: Fury Road would be replaced by the incredibly more family friendly 1993 classic Jurassic Park. Until they’re brave enough to listen to the public and screen Dirty Work already, we’ll gladly settle for one of the best movies ever made instead. Hold onto your butts. It’s going to be a busy month.