Remember when the end of summer was also kinda-sorta a signal for things slowing down in Milwaukee entertainment? Those were simpler (and much more boring) times. Thankfully, as live and in-person events have returned in a big way, the city’s already-bursting list of festivals, block parties, and other ambitious entertainment undertakings is extending well into fall. As you get ready to have an awesome autumn, here are 15 of Milwaukee Record’s October event picks. Check our Calendar section for more recommended events.
Saturday, October 2
The Lowdown @ Indeed Brewing Company
For the third straight year, Indeed Brewing Company will host The Lowdown inside and outside of its Walker’s Point taproom. From noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, October 2, the brewery will shut down a portion of Second Street for an all-day festival featuring tasty beer (some of which is event-exclusive!), great music, and fall fun. There will also be live art from Jeff Redmon, on-site food from Twisted Plants, and “The Beer Brûlée Experience” in which hot fire pokers are used to caramelize pints of beer. Oh, and there will also be live music from the likes of You Win !!!, Browns Crew, Chicken Wire Empire, Dropbear Collective, and a remote broadcast by The Boogie Bang.
Sunday, October 3
Brady Street Pet Parade @ Brady Street
After an all-virtual parade in 2020, the city’s finest good boys, pretty girls, and parrots (and their human companions) will once again have a chance to strut their stuff in the flesh/fur. The family-friendly event will run from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The parade, which starts at 1 p.m., will head west from Brady Street and Franklin Place to Cass Street. Then, it will head south to St. Rita’s Catholic Church, 1601 N. Cass St., for the pet blessing by Father Tim Kitzke of St. Hedwig Three Holy Women Parish. There will be prizes and music, too! Will FOX6’s Ted Perry and Gothic Milwaukee’s Anna Laridnois serve as celebrity judges? Yes. Will Trapper Schoepp provide post-parade live music? Yes. Oh, and Milwaukee Record‘s own Matt Wild will be the emcee.
Sunday, October 3 to Sunday, October 10
Milwaukee Comedy Festival @ The Laughing Tap (and other locations)
Following an abbreviated 2020 edition that featured fewer shows, far smaller audiences, a more localized lineup, and many more protective face coverings than ever before, Milwaukee Comedy Festival is getting back to normal in 2021. This year’s festival is scheduled to return to The Laughing Tap (and other area venues) October 3-10. The state’s largest and longest-running comedy festival has announced Neil Hamburger, Myq Kaplan, and Lara Beitz as headliners, as well as a ton of other great comedians who will perform in 14 shows over an eight-day span.
Wednesday, October 6
Off With Their Heads + Canadian Rifle, Chinese Telephones @ X-Ray Arcade
Minneapolis punk greats and 2017 Dummerfest headliner Off With Their Heads return to Cudahy to head up an impressive bill that also features support from Canadian Rifle and Chinese Telephones.
Friday, October 8
Boris The Sprinkler + Holy Shit!, Indonesian Junk, The Malones @ X-Ray Arcade
Even before the pandemic, there weren’t too many opportunities to see Boris The Sprinkler live. The iconic and influential Green Bay punk rock spectacle is coming out of hiding to play a rare Milwaukee-area show at X-Ray Arcade. Show up early to get a good spot, and enjoy opening sets by Holy Shit!, Indonesian Junk, and The Malones.
“A Night Of Twin Peaks” Gallery Show @ Alive And Fine (with after-party @ Cactus Club)
Yes, on Friday, October 8, from 5-10 p.m., Bay View vintage store Alive And Fine will host a group gallery show inspired by the ’90s TV cult classic (and don’t forget the recent reboot!) Twin Peaks. We’ll have more information on the gallery show soon, though Alive And Fine owner Ashley Smith assures us “there will be pie.” But that’s not all, Peaks freaks. There will also be an after-party at Cactus Club, complete with a $150 cash prize “Miss Twin Peaks” costume contest AND a performance by Milwaukee pop-up/supergroup Damn Fine Coffee.
Friday, October 8 and Saturday, October 9
PridetoberFest @ Henry Maier Festival Grounds
Described as a “scaled-back version” of PrideFest (which is normally held in June), the two-day PridetoberFest will occupy a smaller chunk of the Summerfest grounds October 8-9, but will still “activate multiple stages that engage a diverse lineup of entertainment with a particular focus on local acts, performers, and shows.” Some highlights include Milwaukee’s own Jaida Essence Hall (winner of Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race), Season 13 Drag Race finalist Gottmik, the incomparable Big Freedia, GGOOLLDD, writer/comedian Bruce Vilanch, DJ Shawna, PridetoberFest fireworks, a MKE Leather & Fetish Show, and much more. You can check out the full entertainment lineup HERE.
Saturday, October 9
Beet Street Harvest Festival @ Cactus Club
Following four years of family-friendly, fall-focused fun (and taking 2020 off for pandemic-related reasons), Cactus Club has decided to bring its Beet Street Harvest Festival back for another installment. On Saturday, October 9, the Bay View bar will host a day of food, drinks, live music, and festival fun for all ages. That day, a chunk of Wentworth Avenue between Goodkind and Cactus Club will be blocked off for the fifth annual event. Among the acts confirmed to play Beet Street are Ric Wilson, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, Credentials, Clayton, Mariachi Zamora, and DJing by Cozmika between sets.
Sunday, October 10
The Record Company + JJ Wilde @ Turner Hall Ballroom
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 Turner Hall go-round mere days after the release of their latest album, Play Loud. JJ Wilde opens.
Saturday, October 16
Devils Teeth (5-Year Anniversary) + Fox Face, Walt Hamburger, Soup Moat @ X-Ray Arcade
Devils Teeth is turning five, and we’re the ones who are getting a gift. That present comes in the form of a downright STACKED grouping of Wisconsin acts consisting of the Milwaukee surf-rock outfit, along with Fox Face, Walt Hamburger, and Soup Moat. Don’t. Miss. This.
Wednesday, October 20
Milwaukee Record presents ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ @ Avalon Theater
Before Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino teamed up for the self-conscious 2007 double-feature Grindhouse, they just went ahead and made an honest-to-goodness grindhouse film. Yes, 1997’s From Dusk Till Dawn (directed by Rodriguez, written by Tarantino) is a grindhouse film through and through: violent, vulgar, ridiculous. And, oddly enough, it’s practically two films in one. George Clooney and Tarantino play the villainous Gecko brothers, Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis play a kidnapped father and daughter, Salma Hayek has a scene, and we’re screening From Dusk Till Dawn at the Avalon Atmospheric Theater on Wednesday, October 20. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $11 and are on sale NOW.
Friday, October 22
Violent Femmes + Flogging Molly, Me First And The Gimme Gimmies, Thick @ Miller High Life Theatre
It’s another homecoming show for Violent Femmes! Joining Milwaukee’s favorite musical sons on this Miller High Life Theatre bill are Flogging Molly, Me First And The Gimme Gimmies, and Thick. Clap-clap! Clap-clap!
William Elliott Whitmore + The Creek Rocks @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
What needs to be said about William Elliott Whitmore at this point? Over the course of an impressive career that’s spanned more than two decades, the Iowa-born folk legend has performed all around the world, shared the stage with an abundance of renowned musicians, and released eight outstanding albums. After an extended break, Whitmore is finally able to bring his quality catalog and incomparable voice to The Back Room @ Colectivo. The Creek Rocks will open.
Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23
Bob Saget + Mike Young @ Milwaukee Improv
While most probably know him as Full House’s cleanly dad Danny Tanner or as the wholesome host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Bob Saget has actually enjoyed a 35-plus-year career as a stand-up comedian—and quite a dirty one at that. If you wish to see the sitcom dad you grew up watching in an entirely different way, you got it dude! Saget will come to Brookfield-based Milwaukee Improv on October 22 and October 23 for a total of four comedy shows. Special guest Mike Young will also perform.
Saturday, October 23
The Copyrights + The Eradicator, Telethon @ X-Ray Arcade
Over the course of the Carbondale, Illinois-based band’s 20-year run, The Copyrights have toured all over the U.S. and Europe, shared the stage with some of punk rock’s biggest names, and put out six albums (in addition to a number of other EPs and splits). Following a seven-year gap between records, The Copyrights will release their long-awaited (and tremendous!) new album, Alone In A Dome, on Fat Wreck Chords. With an outstanding new full-length on the way, the band is going back on the road. Thankfully, X-Ray Arcade will be one of the stops on that limited tour. But there’s more! The Eradicator and Telethon will open.