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 brings about a decline of 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 return of Bay View Bash, the start of our Halftime Show concert series, and much more, there’s a lot to keep you entertained this month. Here are 15 of our favorites. Check our Calendar section for more recommended events.
Friday, September 2
Neko Case + Disq @ The Pabst Theater
When Neko Case sings, you listen. Also, when Neko Case graces one of Milwaukee’s finest venues, you show up. Whether alone or with The New Pornographers, Case is a monumental talent with a monumental voice. Her last proper solo album was 2018’s excellent Hell-On, though a 2022 career-spanning retrospective called Wild Creatures contains one new song, “Oh, Shadowless.”
Snail Mail + Momma, Hotline TNT @ Turner Hall Ballroom
This Snail Mail show has been a long time coming, what with Lindsay Jordan initially postponing her “Valentine” tour due to emergency vocal cord surgery (oh, and a pandemic). But good things come to those who wait: Jordan and her group will finally make their way to Turner Hall Ballroom tonight to play selections from 2021’s excellent Valentine, as well as their 2018 debut, Lush.
Saturday, September 3
Shrekfest @ Humboldt Park
What can you expect to experience at Milwaukee’s inaugural Shrekfest? Well, organizers promise “a variety of experiences, from games to live music to a movie screening at the end of the night.” Like previous installments held in Madison, you’re sure to encounter a lot of creative cosplay—both Shrek-based and otherwise—as well as Smash Mouth karaoke, contests (including a “Shrek roar” contest, a costume contest, and an onion-eating contest), an arts and crafts area, and a screening of the iconic feature film. The free festival fun starts at 3 p.m. and wraps up around 9:30 p.m. And don’t forget about the wide variety of pre-parties, after parties, and wholly-unaffiliated Shrek events taking place before and after Shrekfest.
Saturday, September 10
Beth Stelling @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Beth Stelling is great. The Ohio native, who got her stand-up start in Chicago, is an accomplished writer (with credits on Crashing, The Last O.G., Another Period, and Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America), an actor (Corporate, Red Oaks, and Rutherford Falls), and one of the best comedians working today. Stelling’s 2021 one-hour special, Girl Daddy, found the road-tested comedian garnering well-deserved attention from critics and comedy fans alike. On the heels of her most productive year yet, Stelling is hitting the road in 2022 as she embarks on “The Petty Betty Tour.” Fortunately, that run of performances will include a show right here in Milwaukee.
Thursday, September 15
Bubba Sparxxx @ Drunken Cobra
Bubba Sparxxx is going to be performing at a suburban Milwaukee bar again. If you recall, the gold record-selling rapper took the stage in a tented patio at City Lounge in Cudahy TWICE in 2016. Now Sparxxx will take his talents a few miles northwest to the Drunken Cobra. The business announced the booking on Facebook, saying “FREE SHOW. BUBBA SPARXXX. At the DC. September 15th. Be there!!!” Sparxxx first came to public consciousness in 2001 with his debut record Dark Days, Bright Nights, which featured hit single “Ugly” and a host of other Timbaland-produced tracks. It peaked at No. 3 on U.S. music charts en route to gold record certification. Could this free Bubba Sparxxx show possibly top the time Public Enemy played a family reunion at the old Red Dot in Wauwatosa? You can find out for yourself at the Drunken Cobra.
Post Malone + Roddy Ricch @ Fiserv Forum
Wildly popular rapper Post Malone will make his Milwaukee debut Thursday, September 15 at Fiserv Forum. The show will be the fourth of Malone’s 33-city “Twelve Carat Tour.” He’ll be joined by Roddy Ricch. Malone’s fourth studio album, Twelve Carat Toothache, was released in June and it features appearances from Doja Cat, Fleet Foxes, Gunna, and more. Need we say more?
Saturday, September 17
Angel Du$t + One Step Closer, Payasa, Instill @ X-Ray Arcade
Just over three months after winning over Turner Hall while playing in support of PUP, Angel Du$t will return to the region to headline a show at Cudahy’s X-Ray Arcade. The Baltimore hardcore outfit-turned-multi-genre amalgam is likely to play a set full of cuts from last year’s excellent album, YAK: A Collection Of Truck Songs, and other songs from the band’s can’t-miss catalog. One Step Closer, Payasa, and Instill will play in support.
William Elliott Whitmore @ 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. Some 11 months after his last stop at The Back Room @ Colectivo, Whitmore will bring his quality catalog and incomparable voice back to the East Side venue.
Sunday, September 18
Tenacious D + DJ Douggpound @ BMO Harris Pavilion
The Greatest Band in the World, Tenacious D, will play Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Pavilion on Sunday, September 18. The D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) will be preceded by DJ Douggpound (a.k.a. Doug Lussenhop). That’s fucking teamwork. And that’s it! Tenacious D rules. Here’s the “Wonderboy” video.
Josiah Johnson + Calvin Arsenia @ Cactus Club
When a founding member of The Head And The Heart drops by a cozy Cream City venue to play a solo set (including some never-before-heard cuts from his forthcoming sophomore solo album on ANTI Records) in the afternoon, you make sure not to miss it. That’s exactly what will happen when Josiah Johnson heads up a 4 p.m. show at Cactus Club that we’re told will be over before that night’s Packers-Bears game. Calvin Arsenia opens.
Thursday, September 22 to Saturday, September 24
Dan St. Germain @ The Laughing Tap
Over the course of his long and impressive comedy career, Dan St. Germain has accumulated a bunch of TV credits, amassed a mess of late night appearances, racked up a wealth of writing work, and somehow still finds time craft top-notch standup material to perform at comedy clubs all over the county. The New York comic will treat The Laughing Tap in Walker’s Point to a total of three performances from September 22-24.
Saturday, September 24
Northless (record release) + Convert, Snag, Cryptual @ X-Ray Arcade
Long-running Milwaukee sludge purveyors Northless are coming to X-Ray Arcade to play a belated release show in support of their new record, A Path Beyond Grief. If that’s somehow not already compelling enough to bring you out to Cudahy, Northless will be supported by a trio of local heavy-hitters in the form of Convert, Snag, and Cryptual.
Sunday, September 25
Old 97’s + Vandoliers @ The Rave / Eagles Club
About two years after releasing their aptly named 12th studio album, Twelfth, Americana stalwarts Old 97’s are hitting the road again. Thankfully, they’ve included Milwaukee on the long-awaited tour AND they’re bringing fellow Texas country-punkers Vandoliers with them for a must-see show at The Rave / Eagles Club.
Monday, September 26
Robert Finley @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Robert Finley says he’s gone from the cotton field the Beverly Hills. At the age of 68, the veteran musician is finally earning some long-overdue attention on account of Sharecropper’s Son, his 2021 record that beautifully chronicles his childhood in the fields of rural Louisiana, the semi-recent loss of his eyesight, his unflappable faith, and various other aspects of his incredible life. The autobiographical album—which was produced by Dan Auerbach of Black Keys—has received oodles of critical acclaim en route to landing Finley on the cover of Spin and on stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Almost exactly nine months after opening for Low Cut Connie at The Back Room @ Colectivo, Finley will return to Milwaukee to headline the same venue.
Wednesday, September 28
Milwaukee Record presents ‘The Wedding Singer’ @ Avalon Theater
The Wedding Singer has it all. It has Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in their first of many roles together! It has loads of laughs and oodles of romance! It has a treasure trove of quotes that are still in circulation almost a quarter-century after the film’s release. It has scenes with Jon Lovitz firing on all cylinders and a late-movie cameo by Billy Idol. THERE’S EVEN A RAPPING GRANNY IN THIS MOVIE, PEOPLE!!! If you’ve somehow never seen this critically-acclaimed box office smash or it’s just been a while since your last viewing, we urge you to join us at Avalon Theater on September 28 for this rare screening of this celebrated rom-com. We’re showing The Wedding Singer and you’re reaping all the benefits.