February holds the distinction of being the year’s shortest month, one of Wisconsin’s coldest spans of time, and landing pretty much smack dab in the middle of winter. However, this particular February finds Milwaukee artists and venues bucking the trend of late-season boredom with a bevy of great events. Beyond massive undertakings like the return of Mitten Fest, renowned touring musicians are swinging through town as well. Meanwhile, a new Movies On Tap comedy series, an outdoor beer festival, and our screening of Hook will also help pack the year’s shortest month with worthwhile entertainment options. Here are 15 standout events. Check out our handy Calendar page for more listings.
Thursday, February 3
Black Violin @ Marcus Performing Arts Center
Since forming in the early 2000s, Black Violin—a duo consisting of violinist Kev Marcus and viola player Wil B—has played thousands of shows all around the planet. They’ve collaborated with the likes of Alicia Keys, Wu-Tang Clan, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chainz. They’ve helped produce music for artists like Tom Petty and Lupe Fiasco, and they’ve opened for Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Akon. They’ve played on Broadway, been part of Super Bowl and U.S. Open performances, and entertained President Obama at one of his Inauguration Balls. In the process, Black Violin also helped to change perceptions about what both classical music and hip-hop can be. They’ll kick off a winter/spring tour this Thursday when they return to Marcus Performing Arts Center.
Saturday, February 5
Joshua Ray Walker @ Shank Hall
If you don’t know the name Joshua Ray Walker yet, you’re about to be hearing a lot about him. Since first gaining notoriety in country music circles with his 2018 debut, Wish You Were Here, the Dallas singer-songwriter has won fans all around the world and earned high praise from some of music’s most renowned publications. Walker’s sophomore album, Glad You Made It, has garnered even more acclaim and finds the up-and-coming country talent on the cusp of even bigger and better things. You can catch Walker at Shank Hall on Saturday, February 5.
Friday, February 11
Advance Base + Karima Walker, Dan Wriggins @ Cactus Club
Using the “Advance Base” moniker, Chicago musician Owen Ashworth crafts lo-fi story-drivenoutput that manages to range from humorous and off-kilter to downright emotionally devastating (in the best way). The multi-instrumentalist will be preceded on this Cactus Club bill by Arizona artist Karima Walker and Philly-based singer/songwriter Dan Wriggins.
Saturday, February 12
Mitten Fest 2022 @ Burnhearts
After taking 2021 off on account of, well, everything, Burnhearts is bringing back its winning wintry mix of live music, rare and delicious craft beer, tasty food and barrel-aged cocktails, locally-made goods, and charity that comes together in the form of Mitten Fest. The lineup is great, so save the date!
Monday, February 14
Lucy Dacus + Indigo De Souza @ Turner Hall
Following an accomplished 2021 that found the indie-folk artist and Boygenius member breaking out unlike ever before, Lucy Dacus will come to Milwaukee to treat Turner Hall to a Valentine’s Night show in belated support of last year’s outstanding album, Home Video. Indigo De Souza opens.
Thursday, February 17
Peter Mulvey + SistaStrings @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
In 2020, Peter Mulvey and SistaStrings joined forces to release Live At Cafe Carpe, a remarkable live album. A few months after reuniting for a show at Summerfest, they’ll come together again to share the stage at The Back Room. Don’t miss this one. It’s going to be something special.
An Evening With LOW @ Cactus Club
Holy crap…LOW is coming to the Cactus Club in February. You won’t want to miss your chance to see this long-running and legendary band perform in an intimate Bay View venue.
Movies On Tap: ‘Family Of Cops’ @ The Laughing Tap
“Movies On Tap” is a new live comedic riffing series coming to The Laughing Tap that’s sponsored by Lakefront Brewery and Milwaukee Record (that’s us). The first installment is set for Thursday, February 17. The film? Ninety-ninety-five’s Family Of Cops, a made-for-TV movie starring Charles Bronson, and shot and set in Milwaukee. Oh, and Lakefront Brewery’s own Jim “The Godfather of Riverwest Stein” Klisch appears in the film, too! He’ll be on hand during intermission for a spirited chat and some good-natured ribbing. Ryan Mason, Greg Bach, and Amy Westrop will handle the riffing.
Saturday, February 19
Chris Novak Birthday Extravaganza @ The Cooperage
Milwaukee music super fan Christopher Novak will celebrate his birthday by giving local listeners a gift in the form of one heck of a concert. This year’s loaded lineup includes Club Ritual, Gold Steps, Cabin Essence, and Credentials.
Greensky Bluegrass + The Infamous Stringdusters @ Riverside Theater
Roughly six months after headlining a stage at Summerfest, veteran Kalamazoo-based Americana outfit Greensky Bluegrass will return to Riverside Theater (where they helped ring in 2020 with a New Year’s Eve show) to play songs from the band’s just-released Stress Dreams and probably lots of cuts from their other seven studio albums as well. The Infamous Stringdusters open.
Wednesday, February 23
Milwaukee Record presents ‘Hook’ @ Avalon Theater
What if…Peter Pan…grew up? That’s the, er, hook of Steven Spielberg’s 1991 fantasy adventure film Hook. You know it, you love it: Robin Williams plays the adult Peter. Dustin Hoffman plays the titular pirate. Julia Roberts is Tinker Bell. And don’t forget about Rufio! Rufio! Rufioooooo! We’re screening the film at Avalon Theater on Wednesday, February 23 at 6:30 p.m. Reserved seating tickets are $11 (tickets for kids 11 and under are $9), and can be purchased HERE.
Dua Lipa + Caroline Polachek, Lolo Zouaï @ Fiserv Forum
Released in March 2020, Dua Lip’s sophomore album, Future Nostalgia, earned six Grammy nominations and catapulted the British singer into the pop culture stratosphere. Almost two years after the breakout record’s release, the rising star who gave the world “Levitating” will drop by Fiserv Forum as part of her long-awaited “Future Nostalgia Tour.” Caroline Polachek and Lolo Zouaï open.
Thursday, February 24
Tyler, The Creator + Kali Uchis, Vince Staples, Teezo Touchdown @ Fiserv Forum
Tyler, The Creator is great. He’s performing at Fiserv Forum on February 24. Need we say more?
Sunday, February 27
Wückfinter @ Ray’s Wine & Spirits
After pivoting to “a virtual Wückening” in 2021, Ray’s Wine & Spirits’ annual Wückfinter will be returning bigger, better, and in-person in 2022. From noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 27, the event—which will be an exclusively outdoor affair—will allow patrons the chance to indulge in tons of 3 Floyds beer (including some rarities TBA) and a one-day-only 3 Floyds boozie slushie. Beyond the beer offerings, Ray’s parking lot and parts of 89th Street and 90th Street will host an impressive cast of food vendors and the guys from Rushmor Records will DJ. Prepare to wage war on cabin fever outside Ray’s. It’s going to be Wücking awesome.
Beach House @ Riverside Theater
Long-running dream pop duo Beach House returns to Riverside Theater mere days after releasing Once Twice Melody, a double album that features 18 songs split into four different “chapters.”