Though July comes close to matching it, there’s simply no month in Milwaukee that’s more jam-packed with entertainment than June. Festival season officially kicks off with PrideFest, which gives way to Polish Fest, Locust Street Festival, Summer Soulstice, and much of Summerfest. Meanwhile, a bundle of concert series like Chill On The Hill, Jazz In The Park, and Milwaukee Boat Line’s Concert Cruises begin, making every week enjoyable.
We’ve already detailed most of those in our exhaustive Summer Festival Guide but, believe it or not, there’s also a ton of non-festival shows adding to the summer-long entertainment dilemma. From block parties and stacked local bills to our screening of The Great Outdoors, there are lots of ways to enjoy June amid the festival frenzy. Here are just a few events that stand out.
Tuesday, June 4
Songs & Stories with Art Alexakis + Chris Collingwood, Max Collins, and John Wozniak @ Turner Hall
Everclear frontman Art Alexakis is joined by Chris Collingwood (of Fountains Of Wayne), Max Collins (Eve 6), and John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) for an intimate night of acoustic tunes in the form of the Songs & Stories tour. Hear stripped-down and personal renditions of your favorite songs from the ’90s and early aughts, with a few tales sure to intertwined into the evening as well.
Thursday, June 6
Cheers To Milwaukee with Violent Femmes @ Riverside Theater
Hey! On Thursday, June 6, Violent Femmes will headline the third annual “Cheers to Milwaukee” show at Riverside Theater! Hosted by Miller Brewing and Riverside Theater, the show is absolutely FREE! You hear that? FREE! Along with Violent Femmes, guests will also enjoy “a great beer lineup at the venue and a complimentary ticket to Summerfest”! Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m.! And unlike past “Cheers to Milwaukee” shows, the headliner isn’t a secret! (That band again: Violent Femmes.) You’ll need to be 21 or over to attend the FREE show. Oh, and you’ll need a ticket.
Thursday, June 6 to Saturday, June 8
Triple Eye Industries Fest IV @ Club Garibaldi
In a span of less than five years, Triple Eye Industries has managed an astounding 43 releases—many of them in vinyl format. To celebrate all they’ve done in such a short span, the Milwaukee-based independent record label is planning its biggest, best, longest, and most geographically vast celebration yet. This June, Triple Eye Industries will mark roughly half a decade in business by having more than 25 acts play five shows in two cities over a four-day span. Triple Eye Industries Fest IV will technically start at Burlington Bar in Chicago on June 5. The fest will continue there the next night AND will also start its Milwaukee leg at Club Garibaldi. The final two days will rage on at Garibaldi as well. Here’s the full list of bands, including daily lineups.
Friday, June 7
Friday Nite Music with Myles Coyne @ Colectivo Coffee’s Lakefront Cafe
After a successful first summer installment in 2018, Colectivo has once again called on Milwaukee Record to put together the 2019 edition of “Friday Nite Music.” Every Friday night in June, July, and August, we’ll bring you a different Wisconsin singer-songwriter or band outside Colectivo’s Lakefront Cafe from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The free, all-ages concert series will begin with a June 7 performance by Myles Coyne, and will continue each and every Friday until the August 30 finale with Daydream Retrievers singer Ian Olvera. The musicians are wonderful, the price is right, and the location can’t be beat.
Sunday, June 9
The Tonic Tavern 10th Anniversary @ Tonic Tavern
Bay View’s Tonic Tavern celebrates 10 years in business with 10 musical acts playing over the span of 10 hours. The 10th Anniversary Party features food and drink specials, along with free tunes on the patio from the likes of Cashfire Sunset, Dramatic Lovers, Rx Drugs, Long Line Riders, Negative/Positive, and more.
Wednesday, June 12
New Kids On The Block + Salt & Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and Naughty By Nature @ Fiserv Forum
The spirit of the ’80s and the ’90s will be alive and well at the Fiserv Forum this month when The Mixtape Tour brings New Kids On The Block, Salt & Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and Naughty By Nature to the arena.
Thursday, June 13
Local H + In The Whale @ Shank Hall
Shank Hall regulars Local H return to the East Side club for what’s sure to be a great late spring show. This time around, another awesome rock duo—Denver-based In The Whale—will open things up.
Friday, June 14
Middleditch & Schwartz @ Pabst Theater
Thomas Middleditch is the lead in HBO’s Silicon Valley, the ubiquitous pitchman for Verizon, and the star of blockbusters like Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and Replicas. Ben Schwartz is probably best-known for his work as Jean-Ralphio in Parks And Recreation, but the longtime character actor has also garnered acclaim for his role on House Of
Pies Lies, his semi-frequent “Solo Bolo” appearances on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, his pair of humor books, and his voiceover work as Dewey on DuckTales and Sonic on the forthcoming Sonic The Hedgehog movie.
Together, Middleditch & Schwartz are an unstoppable comic duo who use audience suggestions to craft a new hour-long improv show that’s wholly unique to each and every performance. Between the physicality, the rapidly-changing roles, and the unexpected twists, it’s truly something to behold.
Sunday, June 16
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit + Father John Misty @ BMO Harris Pavilion
We’ve been fortunate to be able to see frequent visits from Jason Isbell lately, but he’s welcome (if not encouraged) to keep coming back to town whenever he wants. Less than a year removed from headlining a Summerfest outing at the BMO Harris Pavilion, Isbell and his 400 Unit will return to the gorgeous space in a co-headlining capacity with Father John Misty. Jade Bird will open things up.
Wednesday, June 19
Milwaukee Record presents ‘The Great Outdoors’ @ Avalon Theater
Join us at the Avalon on Wednesday, June 19 as we say goodbye to spring with a special showing of The Great Outdoors. The 1988 John Hughes-written and -produced feature stars the late, great John Candy as Chet Ripley, a well-meaning Chicagoan who takes his family on a summer trip to the picturesque (and totally fictional) tourist town of Pechoggin, Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, what should’ve been a serene getaway in the Northwoods became a nightmare for Ripley when his annoying F.I.B. brother-in-law (played to infuriating perfection by Dan Aykroyd) crashes the vacation, along with wife (Annette Benning, making her film debut) and his creepy kids. Along the way, viewers are treated to some prime water skiing stunts, Candy’s attempt to take down “The Old 96’er,” and memorable cameos by some wise-cracking raccoons and the fearsome “Bald-Headed Bear.” Tickets to the 7 p.m. screening are $5.
Saturday, June 22
Dummerfest 2019 @ X-Ray Arcade
Now that X-Ray Arcade is up and running (and has already hosted the likes of Owen, Okilly Dokilly, and Eyehategod since opening in February), the new Cudahy arcade bar and all-ages venue is able to bring Dummerfest back to the former Metal Grill property for another installment. They’ll do just that on Saturday, June 22, when X-Ray Arcade hosts more than a dozen bands on both indoor and outdoor stages—including one booked by Milwaukee Record—over the course of an all-day affair that will culminate with a performance by The Lawrence Arms. And here‘s the full lineup.
Wednesday, June 26
Washington Park Wednesdays with Zed Kenzo + DJ Dripsweat, Saebra & Carlyle, Shle Berry, and DJ Boyfrrriend
Like each and every summer, metro Milwaukee will play host dozens of festivals, block parties, and free weekly music celebrations between June and September that all help make enduring the six to eight other snowy months almost worthwhile. If you want to get ready for summer, look no further than the lineup for a weekly outdoor music series.
One of the best of them, Washington Park Wednesdays, features a wide range of local acts performing under the gorgeous Washington Park bandshell. If the scenery alone isn’t worth the trip, this year’s downright awesome list of performers certainly is. This year’s lineup is stacked, but the June 26 show might be the best show of the season.
Saturday, June 29
12th Annual Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party @ Burnhearts
The fun and fancy-free celebration of music, food, crafts, and a beloved cheap beer locals have come to know as “Burnhearts/Pabst Street Party” will celebrate its 12th anniversary this summer. On Saturday, June 29, the party will rage on with an eclectic mix of six local acts including Immortal Girlfriend, Shle Berry, Fuzzysurf, L’Resorts, Marielle Allschwang & The Visitations, and SistaStrings.