November. Summer is now far in the rear view mirror. Most of Milwaukee’s festivals are now over. By now, your Halloween costume has been washed, de-vomited, and stored away for later use. On paper, November doesn’t offer much beyond Thanksgiving. It’s the continuation of one season and the precursor to another. Still, between lauded comedians and bands coming to town, there’s plenty to keep Milwaukee occupied as we await the impending wintry doom. Here are 13 of our top picks.
WMSE Local/Live: Dead Horses @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
Accomplished Milwaukee-based Americana duo Dead Horses recently celebrated the release of their latest album, Brady Street. Primarily recorded during the height of the COVID lockdown, the record—in the band’s own words—”turns inward and reflects the introspection many of us encountered over the course of the often-melancholy pandemic.” It’s a lovely piece of work, highlighted by the twilight-hour ode to the titular Milwaukee street. See Dead Horses—a.k.a. Sarah Vos and Daniel Wolff—play selections from Brady Street (and more!) at this free live taping of WMSE’s Local/Live.
Thursday, November 3
Humbird + Sprig Of That @ Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery
Humbird—a Minneapolis-based experimental folk project fronted by Siri Undlin—makes its way back to the Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery for another performance in support of last year’s excellent album, Still Life.
REYNA + You Win !!! @ Cactus Club
Vic and Gabby Banuelos have been fixtures of the Milwaukee music scene for a decade. After changing their name in 2016 (the band went from Vic And Gab to the more stylish and succinct REYNA) and shifting sonically towards electro pop, the sisters spent the next few years getting acclimated with the industry. From co-writing with prominent hitmakers to recording in legendary L.A. studios, REYNA was checking boxes that a majority of Milwaukee acts could only dream of. Now, the sisters Banuelos are finally ready to celebrate the release of their excellent five-song EP You Could At Least Say Goodbye. Fellow electro-pop duo You Win !!! will open this can’t-miss show.
Saturday, November 5
Clerks III: The Convenience Tour @ The Pabst Theater
Does the world really need another Clerks film? Sure, why not! Hell, perhaps director Kevin Smith can make an even better case for the new film when he screens it tonight at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater. Yep, hot off that time Smith did not appear at the Mooby’s pop-up at Up-Down MKE in 2021, he will appear at this traveling roadshow event for a post-film Q&A.
Tuesday, November 8
Scott H. Biram @ Shank Hall
Since releasing his solo debut in the year 2000, Scott H. Biram has played thousands upon thousands of shows at venues of all sizes and scope in North America, toured Europe more than 20 times, had songs featured on popular TV shows and Oscar-nominated films, and put out 11 albums. About two years after the release of Fever Dreams, the tireless troubadour you might know as “The Dirty Old One Man Band” makes his way to Milwaukee for a Tuesday night show at Shank Hall.
Friday, November 11
Smoking Popes + Off With Their Heads, Limbeck, The Color Fred @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
While we’re not usually huge on four-band bills these days (sorry!), we’ll make an exception for this stacked quartet that’s coming to The Back Room @ Colectivo on November 11. Legendary Chicago pop-punkers Smoking Popes will be joined by fellow Midwest punk stalwarts Off With Their Heads, as well as California indie outfit Limbeck, and The Color Fred (a band headed up by ex-Taking Back Sunday guitarist Fred Mascherino). Show up early, stay late, and sleep in the next morning.
Meat Wave + Stuck @ Cactus Club
A few weeks removed from the release of their fourth album, Malign Hex, Chicago rockers Meat Wave will return to Cactus Club to head up a show that also features Stuck.
Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12
Carmen Morales @ The Laughing Tap
Carmen Morales is no stranger to Milwaukee. After opening for South Milwaukee native Jackie Kashian during her 2019 stop at the Underground Collaborative (R.I.P.!), the up-and-coming comic served as the host of the very first show in the history of The Laughing Tap and returned to the Walker’s Point-based comedy club to headline a weekend of shows in 2021. Morales comes back to The Laughing Tap November 11-12, where she’s sure to delight an intimate audience with her hilarious and ever-evolving material (including her A+ impersonation of a Wisconsin accent), over the course of four shows.
Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19
Chicken Wire Empire @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Brew City bluegrass mainstays Chicken Wire Empire are a Milwaukee festival fixture and a band that’s beloved by audiences throughout the Midwest (and parts of Europe). On November 18-19, the perpetually touring outfit will treat their hometown to two nights of traditional tunes and contemporary originals, as well material off this year’s album, Fresh Pickles, at The Back Room @ Colectivo. Night one will also feature opening accompaniment from The MilBillies. The following night, Old & In The Way will open things up.
Saturday, November 19
MxPx + Teenage Bottlerocket @ The Rave / Eagles Club
Has it really been 30 years (!!!) since MxPx started? Wow. As we come to terms with how old that realization makes us feel, we recommend you head to The Rave on November 19 to relive your youth through MxPx’s enduring catalog. Oh, and they’ve been regularly releasing enjoyable albums this whole time, so as you scream along with “Chick Magnet” and “Move To Bremerton,” you might even hear some new songs you love in the process. Teenage Bottlerocket opens.
Friday, November 25
Ryan Necci And The Buffalo Gospel @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Even though Ryan Necci—the founding member, bandleader, and namesake of Ryan Necci And The Buffalo Gospel—now calls Tennessee home, we’ve continued keeping tabs on him since he left Milwaukee to start a career as a professional songwriter. Since relocating, Necci has been part of some exciting co-writes and has made the most of awesome opportunities in the Nashville music scene. Thankfully, he and his (primarily Milwaukee-based bandmates) have also kept working on new Buffalo Gospel material. Necci will return to town the night after Thanksgiving to join his band on stage at The Back Room @ Colectivo.
Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27
Pete Lee @ Milwaukee Improv
After growing up in Janesville, Wisconsin, Pete Lee has gone on to perform on Letterman, guest on The Tonight Show (FIVE TIMES and counting!), and rack up a wide variety of credits that include notable TV shows like Last Comic Standing, As The World Turns, Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, and much more. He’s released comedy albums, put out a Comedy Central half-hour special, and has performed more than 500 shows at colleges around the country. Lee will return to the region November 25-27 for a total of five Thanksgiving weekend shows at Milwaukee Improv.
Wednesday, November 30
Milwaukee Record presents ‘Batman & Robin’ @ Avalon Theater
Just a few years after Tim Burton reshaped the image of the caped crusader with ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns,’ the Batman franchise went full camp again with a pair of Joel Schumacher films. We’ll be screening the second and most infamous of those Schumacher Batman films, 1997’s ‘Batman & Robin,’ on Wednesday, November 30 at the Avalon Atmospheric Theater.
Yep, this is the one with a vaguely embarrassed George Clooney as Batman, a vaguely returning Chris O’Donnell as Robin, an uncomfortable Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, a game Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and—last but not iced—a top-billed Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze (“Stay cool, bird boy!”) It’s a hilarious mess of a movie that was blasted by critics and loathed by fans. It’s the lowest-grossing live-action Batman film to date. It sent the entire franchise to the cooler for eight long years. Some consider it to be one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Others consider it to be one of the worst movies ever made, period. WE CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH THIS THING ON THE BIG SCREEN AND WE HOPE YOU’LL JOIN US.