February holds the distinction of being the year’s shortest month, one of Wisconsin’s coldest spans of time, and landing pretty much directly in the middle of winter. However, this particular February finds Milwaukee artists and venues bucking the trend of late-season boredom and Valentine’s-adjacent blues with a bevy of great events. Beyond massive outdoor undertakings like Mitten Fest and Wückfinter, Milwaukee and its surrounding suburbs will play host to touring bands and comedians, a special screening of a 2010 classic, Mama Tried and Flat Out Friday programming, and more. This impressive list of late-winter happenings all help make the year’s shortest month a huge one in terms of entertainment options. Here are 15 standout events for February 2024.
Friday, February 2 through Sunday, February 4
D.L. Hughley @ Milwaukee Improv
The Hughley Show namesake, one of the “Original Kings Of Comedy,” and veteran stand-up D.L. Hughley will return to the Milwaukee Improv, where he’s been a frequent visitor since the club opened in 2021, when he performs five shows in Brookfield-based venue February 2-4.
Saturday, February 3
Mitten Fest @ Boone & Crockett
It’s the same great great winter festival, only (temporarily) in a new location. Mitten Fest 2024 will take place outside Boone & Crockett, just a few miles up the road from its regular home outside Burnhearts. Again, the venue change is a temporary one, as Burnhearts owners B.J. and Jess Seidel wanted to take a year away from hosting the ever-growing block party “to re-envision [their] location.” We’re told the beer selection and brandy-based drink list, the eclectic blend of local music, and the lineup of area food/retail vendors will be the same as usual, so bundle up and get to Boone & Crockett on February 3.
Graham Hunt + Rustbelt, Shontrail, DJ Yuppie @ Cactus Club
Even though Mitten Fest won’t be in Bay View on February 3, the neighborhood is still playing host to one hell of a show that night. Madison (by way of Milwaukee) treasure Graham Hunt celebrates the release of a new album at this stacked Cactus Club show that doubles as an EP release show for Rustbelt and features new Milwaukee Record favorite Shontrail opening things up.
Friday, February 9
WMSE’s Art & Music @ The Pritzlaff Building
For six years, WMSE’s Art & Music has combined, well, art and music for a one-of-a-kind event. At the center is an auction of hundreds of album-sized, 12″ x 12″ pieces of original art from local and national artists. Toss in live music and WMSE’s own DJs, and you’ve got—once again—Art & Music! This year’s event will be no different. Set for Friday, February 9 at the Historic Pritzlaff Building (143 W. St. Paul Ave.), the 7th annual Art & Music will feature album-sized works from a wide range of creatives. And then there’s the music. Enjoy a live performance by the inimitable Nineteen Thirteen. The auction went live online on January 29.
Saturday, February 10
The Record Company @ Turner Hall
We all know about The Record Company by this point. The Grammy-nominated band that’s fronted by Milwaukee ex-pat Chris Vos previously sold out Turner Hall and is now ready to return to town for another go-round in the downtown ballroom.
Cheap Trick (Milwaukee Admirals Post Game Concert) @ UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
How often do you get to see a band that’s in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame perform on the ice after an AHL game? Unless Pat McCurdy and Tesla were secretly inducted, we’d guess the opportunity doesn’t come around very often. After the red hot Admirals take on the Texas Stars, all fans in attendance can enjoy a performance by the legendary Cheap Trick. Make it your…goal to be there.
Tuesday, February 13
The Kills + The Paranoyds @ The Rave / Eagles Club
The Kills! In Milwaukee! Nice!
Matthew Sweet @ Shank Hall
Veteran singer-songwriter Matthew Sweet will swing by Milwaukee the night before Valentine’s Day to play an intimate set at Shank Hall that’s sure to feature material that spans various points of his prolific career.
Saturday, February 17
Greg Cartwright + Ellie Jackson, Connor LaMue, DJs Heebz N Ceebz @ Cactus Club
Just a few months removed from a Cactus Club doubleheader back in November, the great Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound and The Compulsive Gamblers fame will return to the Bay View venue to—with the help of “The Good Nights” backing band of Milwaukee music all-stars—head up a loaded show that also features loaded support from Ellie Jackson and Connor LaMue. Hell yes.
Thursday, February 22
Margaret Cho @ Pabst Theater
Influential comedian, actor, and anti-racism activist Margaret Cho has amassed an astounding career that’s spanned roughly 35 years. Along the way, her unique perspective and inimitable voice have made the leap from comedy club stages to the realms of film, television, and animation. Cho will make her way to Pabst Theater for a can’t-miss performance.
Friday, February 23 through Sunday, February 25
Flat Out Friday @ Fiserv Forum and Mama Tried @ The Rave / Eagles Ballroom
If you’re somehow unfamiliar, Flat Out Friday features motorcycle racers riding on top of a track that’s slathered in Dr. Pepper syrup and it’s awesome! This event is just one part of the Mama Tried festivities that are slated to happen at various local spots in late February. The Mama Tried Motorcycle Show itself will take place at The Rave February 24-25.
Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25
Burn Bright MKE @ X-Ray Arcade
Adding to the region’s ever-improving winter festival landscape is a brand new two-day affair called Burn Bright MKE. The first-year fest was created by DIY booking wunderkind JJ Kaiser, who aims to “showcase some of the best up and coming bands in the emo/alternative space” at X-Ray Arcade with two days of performances that feature the likes of Ben Quad, Carly Cosgrove, Charmer, Heart To Gold, Saturdays At Your Place, Equipment, TRSH, Arcadia Grey, and more. YES!
Sunday, February 25
Bruce McCulloch: Tales Of Bravery And Stupidity @ Shank Hall
Accomplished actor, director, and beloved cast member of The Kids In The Hall Bruce McCulloch will treat Shank Hall to his “Tales Of Bravery And Stupidity” one-man show that’s sure to bring information, emotion, and loads of laughs to the East Side club. When a KITH cast member comes to an intimate Milwaukee venue, you go! That’s the rule.
Wednesday, February 28
Milwaukee Record presents ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ @ Avalon Theater
We’ve really 1UPed ourselves with next month’s film selection. Based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, this 2010 Edgar Wright-directed vehicle features the film’s slacker namesake (played by peak Michael Cera) doing battle with the “Seven Evil Exes” of his new girlfriend Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The comic-inspired, video game-tinged, and all-around innovative comedy also boasts a stacked supporting ensemble that includes the likes of Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, and Jason Schwartzman. The box office-bust-turned cult classic has it all: laughs, action, legitimately good music, and a star-studded young cast that all comes together to forge a truly unique cinematic experience.