The Cactus Club is the best music club in Milwaukee, full stop. The Bay View institution has hosted countless shows from artists big and small, and has been a beacon and welcoming home for local talent. In recent years, under the ownership of Kelsey Kaufmann, Cactus Club’s programming has become increasingly diverse, inclusive, and adventurous. (Not to mention fully all-ages!) Hell, they even let us do stuff there. There’s simply no other place like it in town.

But the actual Cactus Club building, located at 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., is nearly 140 years old. Things like the entrance, the bathrooms, the second-floor green room, and even the stage are not wheelchair accessible. (“The building is considered ‘legacied’—there’s no regulatory need to make it wheelchair accessible,” explains the Cactus website.) That’s all set to change, however, thanks to some long-in-the-works accessibility renovations, via the Cactus+ arts education and community programming nonprofit.

“We are working with architects to determine the scope of the mobility-centered renovations and expansion,” Kaufmann says in a statement. “This is an ambitious cultural project and building project. We want to invite artists and community members to be part of the process, beyond just fundraising, but also in dreaming and determining how we move forward with it.”

In order to raise further funds for the so-called Accessibility Initiative (the club was awarded a Ruth Foundation for the Arts grant in April), Cactus will host two big fundraiser shows this summer. Alicia Bognanno’s acclaimed Sub Pop band Bully will return to the club on Wednesday, July 10…

…while heavily sampled South Bronx disco-punk legends ESG will play their first Wisconsin show ever at Cactus on Friday, August 30.

“I am very happy that we will be performing for the first time EVER in Milwaukee, and that the Cactus Club is the one to bring ESG there,” says Renee Scroggins of ESG. “It’s going to be a night full of fun and dancing!”

Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday, May 24 at 10 a.m. Bully tickets are $100; ESG tickets are $150. Fifty percent of the funds will go to the Cactus+ Accessibility Initiative.

“We believe in these artists and are honored that they share our commitment to improving accessibility for attendees and other artists alike. Everyone deserves the chance to enjoy live music,” says Cactus+ Program Coordinator Gosha Ananchev. “This project will be participatory, thoughtful, grassroots, and include a fair share of surprises ahead.”

And oh yeah, if you think you haven’t heard ESG, you have.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.