Where has the summer gone? Okay, okay, so there’s still a ton of summer left, but the bleakness of autumn will be upon us before you know it. Thus, it’s important to use your limited summer entertainment allotment right. Not even counting the waning days of Summerfest, there are a ton of concerts, comedy shows, and surprisingly meaningful Brewers games vying for your time. And we’re not even factoring in outdoor activities, if you’re into that type of thing. July can be tough to navigate, but hopefully these standout shows can help clear up any overlapping items on your social calendar.
Friday, July 7
A Giant Dog + Platinum Boys, Whips, and Sweet La La @ Cactus Club
Compared to its usual consistent run of concerts, Cactus Club will keep relatively quiet during Summerfest. Of the Bay View club’s three shows slated to coincide with “The Big Gig,” this one isn’t just the best. It might be the best non-Summerfest show altogether. Austin’s own A Giant Dog will bring its Merge Records-approved material to town to headline an amazing Friday night lineup that also includes Platinum Boys, Whips, and Sweet La La. If there were ever a show worth missing Huey Lewis & The News to see, this might be it.
Saturday, July 8
Kia Rap Princess + Kaylee Crossfire, and Winter Bear @ Riverwest Public House
Kia Rap Princeess is nothing short of Milwaukee-made hip-hop royalty. Fresh off the release of her latest, EverSinceTheAlbum, Kia will headline an impressive genre-melding bill that features the R&B goodness of Kaylee Crossfire, and a rare local outing by Winter Bear. Even discounting what’s happening at the Henry Maier grounds, July 8 is a pretty busy night in local entertainment. Still, this Public House show takes the cake.
Friday, July 14
Last Podcast On The Left @ Turner Hall
Despite the serious and, at times, disgusting nature of the show’s subject matter, Last Podcast On The Left is one of the most popular and beloved comedy podcasts around. Each week, three co-hosts discuss the background, the atrocities, and the aftermath of a serial killer or a large scale tragedy with a specific blend of research, psychological analysis, and humor. The results are equal parts informative, horrifying, and hilarious, which has earned the show a huge worldwide following and frequent appearances in the top 10 of iTunes comedy charts. This special live show is also a homecoming of sorts for LP’s Ben Kissel, who graduated from UW-Milwaukee.
Diana Ross + Rhonda Ross @ BMO Harris Pavilion
The Queen Of Motown comes to town as part of her “In The Name Of Love” tour. Now 73, this relatively rare Milwaukee appearance is not to be missed.
Midwives* (album release) + Slow Walker, Doubletruck, and Sundial Mottos @ High Dive
In the months that have passed since Midwives recorded their forthcoming album, No, the local hardcore outfit had two members move out of state. Undaunted, the band booked a High Dive release show that it will not play. Slow Walker, Doubletruck, and Sundial Mottos will perform in Midwives’ stead at this free (sort of) record release show. No LPs will be for sale for $15.
Saturday, July 15
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live! @ Pabst Theater
In accordance with the beloved cinematic cult classic’s recent Netflix revival, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has embarked on a live tour. Creator Joel Hodgson, new host Jonah Ray, and the next-gen voices of Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy, and Synthia will come to Pabst Theater for a pair of thrilling live shows. The first show will find the MST3K crew tearing apart 1962’s Eegah. The late show will be a “secret surprise film.”
Sunday, July 16
Elvis Costello & The Imposters @ Riverside Theater
What more needs to be said? Elvis Costello is playing in Milwaukee, so it’d be wise to see him.
Friday, July 21
Violent Femmes + Echo & The Bunnymen @ BMO Harris Pavilion
Though the since-departed Milwaukee outfit seems to play hometown shows with some regularity these days, it’s still special to see the seminal alt-rockers do their thing in there city where it all started. After breaking the 30-year gap between Milwaukee shows last summer, Echo & The Bunnymen will return to play in support.
Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22
VoodooHoney presents: Amy Winehouse (local tribute) @ Company Brewing
On July 23, 2011, the life of Amy Winehouse was cut tragically short and the music world mourned. Roughly six years after her passing, an impressive cast of locals will pay tribute to Winehouse from Friday night, all the way to the early morning hours of July 23. VoodooHoney rounded up B-Free, Abby Jeanne, D’Amato, Siren, Klassik, Lex Allen, Amanda Huff, Sugar Ransom, and many more for this one-of-a-kind show to honor a once-in-a-generation talent.
Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23
Festa Italiana @ Henry Maier Festival Park
Picture what you love most about German Fest and Polish Fest, then add better food and more Dean Martin tribute acts. Toss in some of the best fireworks of the summer and BOOM! Festa Italiana! Oh, and don’t forget about the music: this year features Violin Femmes Starring Bella Electric Strings playing classic rock hits, and fest headliners the Gin Blossoms playing their own classic hits.
Monday, July 24
Melvins + Spotlights @ Turner Hall Ballroom
It’s the Melvins! Go! Opener, Spotlights, makes this Monday affair all the more enticing.
Warped Tour @ Henry Maier Festival Park
Two years after its 20th anniversary—which is still the punk/ska festival’s worst in recent memory—and a year removed from going back to basics with a mix of old a new acts, Warped Tour will be making 41 tour stops throughout the countries. This year’s tour (which lands somewhere between 2015 and 2016 in terms of overall quality) will return to Milwaukee for another summer.
Though Bowling For Soup, Goldfinger, Streetlight Manifesto, Big D And The Kids Table, Strung Out, and The Suicide Machines are all skipping the Milwaukee stop, there are still some notables coming to town. Disgruntled teens and 30-somethings trying to relive their days as disgruntled teens can still see Anti-Flag, The Ataris, Hawthorn Heights, Hatebreed, CKY, Sick Of It All, Save Ferris, and Gwar. Your 14-year-old cousin will love it.
Tuesday, July 25
Tim and Eric 10 Year Anniversary Awesome Tour @ Pabst Theater
There are certain shows that need some setup, some background information for fans re-familiarizing themselves with an artist’s body of work, or some context for non-fans who may not know what they’re missing. Then there are shows that need no introduction, like Tim and Eric’s “10 Year Anniversary Awesome Tour.” If you’re a rabid fan of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and their oft-imitated-but-never-duplicated strain of anti-comedy, then you’ll be at this show. “It’s been 10 years,” the duo says. “We are heading out to see our chips across the USA and celebrate this incredible decade of Tim and Eric with a number of new spoofs and goofs, riffs and bits, songs and dances and hope to create memories to last a lifetime.”
Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29
Riverwest 24 @ Riverwest
VIVA LA RIVERWEST! Brush up on your terminology before the race.
Monday, July 31
Milwaukee Record presents The Roast Of Milwaukee @ Club Garibaldi
To help informally kick off the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, we’ve asked local comedians, improvisers, and media personalities to gently (or, in some cases, straight-up viciously) rib the city they love in our Roast Of Milwaukee. The laughs won’t just be at the expense of Milwaukee, patrons can get in for with a toiletry or non-perishable food donation. Otherwise, it’s just $3. Static Eyes will perform before and after the Roast. If it’s anything like the first two times we did this, it’s going to be great.