September is a time of transition. This month finds summer officially giving way to fall. This month also signals the end of Milwaukee’s festival season. Though the seasonal shift essentially puts a nine-month moratorium on outdoor events in town, local clubs and theaters are escalating the volume and the caliber of talent they book in effort to keep the entertainment coming as the temperatures outside dip. That said, Milwaukee isn’t exactly ending this summer with a whimper or lurching into autumn. Between great touring talent, the last few fests, a beloved wrestling and variety show, the start of our Halftime Show concert series, and even a film screening from yours truly, there’s a lot to keep you entertained this month. Here are 15 of our favorites.
Tuesday, September 3
Chris Shiflett + Cordovas @ The Back Room at Colectivo
When you have the chance to see a member of Foo Fighters and No Use For A Name at a 300-capacity coffee shop, you take it.
Wednesday, September 4
ZZ Top + Cheap Trick, and Marquise Knox @ BMO Harris Pavilion
Sure, ZZ Top’s 50th anniversary tour is cool and all, but CHEAP TRICK IS PLAYING TOO!
Thursday, September 5
Milwaukee Record Halftime Show with Surgeons In Heat @ Cactus Club
Are you ready for some football? We are! Our Miller High Life-sponsored Halftime Show series is returning to Cactus Club for another season. The fun kicks off on September 5 with a free 15-minute set by Surgeons In Heat. Here’s the full Halftime Show lineup.
Friday, September 6
Penn & Teller @ Riverside Theater
Forget for a moment Penn & Teller, outspoken Libertarians and skeptics. Forget for a moment Penn & Teller, reality show staples. Forget for a moment Penn & Teller, creators of the brilliant/insufferable Bullshit! Instead, focus on Penn & Teller, entertainers and magicians. For more than 40 years, the self-described “Bad Boys of Magic” have continually transformed their sometimes disreputable and corny profession into high art—all the while keeping things funny and delightfully morbid. Penn and Teller’s live show is a mind-bending Russian nesting doll of lies and deception, and a perfect example of why they’re still vital to this day: they’re really, really good at what they do.
Saturday, September 7
Titus Andronicus + Control Top, and Tan @ X-Ray Arcade
Brooklyn (by way of New Jersey) outfit Titus Andronicus formed in 2005, but the indie-leaning punk band first burst into widened consciousness by way of the blog buzz of 2010’s The Monitor. Numerous lineup changes and close to a decade later, Titus Andronicus is not only still at it, they’re still wonderful. A few months after the release of the band’s sixth full-length, An Obelisk, they’ll drop by Cudahy to play an X-Ray Arcade show that also features Control Top and Milwaukee’s own Tan.
Monday, September 9
Meat Wave + Soup Moat, Retoro, and Tell Me @ X-Ray Arcade
Two bands with gross names but amazing music will start your week off right with a stacked night of punk-tinged fun. Meat Wave and Soup Moat will be preceded by local high school phenoms Retoro and local newcomers, Tell Me.
Wednesday, September 11
Backstreet Boys @ Fiserv Forum
Backstreet’s back? Alright.
Thursday, September 12
Nick Offerman @ Riverside Theater
Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman, is a national treasure and he should be treated as such. Don’t miss this.
Saturday, September 14
Dead Horses + Joe Pug @ Pabst Theater
Less than a week removed from opening for The Who at Alpine Valley, Dead Horses will play a rare homecoming show at the gorgeous and massive Pabst Theater. Joe Pug will play in support.
Friday, September 20
Strand Of Oaks + Frankie Lee @ The Back Room at Colectivo
Though he was born in Indiana and he now calls Philadelphia home, Timothy Showalter has a special place in his heart for Milwaukee. Recalling basement shows and memorable gigs in town early in Strand Of Oaks’ existence, the bandleader wanted to recreate to intimate vibe in Milwaukee with a stop at the quaint-ish Back Room @ Colectivo roughly 15 months removed from Showalter’s 2018 Cactus Club doubleheader. Frankie Lee opens.
Saturday, September 21
Bay View Bash @ Kinnickinnic Avenue
Bay View Bash is a bittersweet affair. The bitterness is brought by the stinging realization that festival season is almost over and yet another awful winter is on the way. We’re all going to die and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. But whatever: Bay View Bash is amazing, and this year’s lineup is awesome.
NO/NO (last show) + Dirty Dancing, Holy Shit!, and Stormchaser @ Mad Planet
Bands come and go. It’s just the way things work: bands form; bands make their mark (or not); and, provided the guitarist isn’t named Keith Richards, bands end. They flame out, fizzle out, or simply disappear. Out with the old, in with the new. The circle of life and all that.
But there’s something different about the end of NO/NO. It’s more than the end of a band; it’s the end of an era in Milwaukee music. Yes, the Milwaukee new wave-y synth-rock outfit has just released its new full-length record, Diagnostic, which also happens to be its last. It’s a thrilling, ambitious, and effortlessly cool album. It’s classic NO/NO. It’s a hell of a goodbye. Say farewell to NO/NO at Mad Planet when the band plays one last show. Dirty Dancing, Holy Shit!, and Stormchaser help make this even more of a can’t-miss affair.
Sunday, September 22
Brian Wilson + The Zombies @ Riverside Theater
Is there a better way to say farewell to summer than an unforgettable show by Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson? Hint: No, there is not.
Wednesday, September 25
Milwaukee Record presents ‘Friday’ at Avalon Theater
On Wednesday, September 25 come and help us celebrate the day before the weekend a little early at Avalon Theater‘s screening of Ice Cube, DJ Pooh, and F. Gary Gray’s comedy masterpiece, Friday. Tickets are on sale now! Craig Jones is a 22-year-old resident of South Central Los Angeles who lives with his parents and sister. The movie follows him through an entire Friday, exactly one day after he was fired from his job for allegedly stealing boxes (spoiler: he didn’t do it).
Craig spends his unfortunate day off considering his professional options and interacting with his neighbors, especially his buddy, Smokey, who smokes much more than he sells. An angry girlfriend, an angry dope dealer, and a once-in-a-generation character named Deebo make this particular Friday a tough one for everyone involved. How will it play out? Is it a distant prequel to Friday The 13th? Show up and see for yourself! Lakefront Brewery will be our sponsor, as always, because they are awesome.
Friday, September 27
Ice Cube + DJ Bizzon @ The Rave
Milwaukee has been seeing lots of Ice Cube lately. Last July, the rapper/actor/entrepreneur treated The Rave to a great show, during which he professed his love for our city. Last month, he sat courtside at Fiserv Forum as his BIG3 basketball league made its Milwaukee debut. Exactly two days after we screen his film, Friday (see directly above), Cube will return to The Rave to headline a show that also features Milwaukee’s own DJ Bizzon.