Milwaukee is chock-full of things to do, but only a handful of events are worthy of the lofty honor of “Record Recommended” (patent pending). Here are our recommendations for April 24-30 2023.
MONDAY, APRIL 24
2023 Milwaukee Film Festival @ various locations (through May 4)
The 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival continues this week, bringing hundreds of feature films and short films to the Oriental Theatre, the Avalon Theater, and Times Cinema. (As always, Milwaukee Record is the proud presenter of the Cinema Hooligante program, which rules.) Some big events to look out for: a screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis with live music accompaniment by the Anvil Orchestra on Thursday, April 27; the Wisconsin-made Hundreds Of Beavers on Friday, April 28 (and don’t forget our pre-premiere Beaver Bash at Von Trier!); and a double feature of We Live In Public and The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution on Saturday, April 29. Find the full MFF2023 program HERE.
TUESDAY, APRIL 25
2023 Diorama-Rama @ Amorphic Beer
Inspired in part by Milwaukee’s claim to fame as being the home of the very first museum diorama, Danelle “D” Kirschling founded National Diorama Month, an only-slightly tongue-in-cheek celebration of the crafty and adorable art form. The culmination of that month, Diorama-Rama, returns tonight for the first time in three years. The apropos theme? “Public Spaces/Friendly Faces-Scenes From a Missed-Out Life.” “We’ve all been under a lot of stress these past few years,” Kirschling says. “You’ve probably spent a lot of time in the house, right? Let’s reflect on these days gone by and recreate in miniature our favorite places and activities we’ve missed out on since 2020.”
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26
SV Presents: Xiu Xiu + Taffy Puller @ Cactus Club
“Xiu Xiu makes beautiful music for hard times. For nearly 20 years, the band has a track record of crafting experimental music for moments when life’s harsh realities meet its existential mysteries. On the latest album, Jamie Stewart explores a recent revelation and is reminded of the power of the band’s music to surprise and connect. Listening to the songs on OH NO, it is hard to feel truly alone. Instead, it is a reminder that even when we’re alone, we’re alone together.”
The String Cheese Incident @ The Riverside Theater
“Over the past decade, The String Cheese Incident has emerged as one of America’s most significant independent bands. Born in 1993 in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, SCI has since released 10 albums, 6 DVDs and countless live recordings from their relentless tour schedule. Their 20 year history is packed full of surreal experiences, epic moments, groundbreaking involvement and huge accomplishments. They have been recognized for their commitment to musical creativity and integrity, for their community spirit, philanthropic endeavors, and for their innovative approach to the business of music.”
THURSDAY, APRIL 27
Ex Fabula StorySlam: It’s About Time @ Turning Tables MKE
Is it possible that Milwaukee’s homegrown storytelling org, Ex Fabula, has been around for 14 years? It’s true! The nonprofit first arrived on the scene back in 2009, and has been staging inclusive and justice-minded themed “StorySlams” and other events ever since. “At each Slam, any attendee can throw their name in the hat for the chance to share a true, personal story on the night’s theme,” the group explains. “Stories should be shared in five minutes or less and without any props or notes.”
FRIDAY, APRIL 28
HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS pre-premiere Beaver Bash @ Von Trier
The locally produced Hundreds Of Beavers follows a drunken applejack salesperson as he turns his life around and becomes North America’s greatest fur trapper. Does he eventually face off against hundreds of (furry costumed) beavers? You bet he does. Hundreds Of Beavers is the wildest 19th-century, black-and-white, no-dialogue, live-action Looney Tune screening at this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival. It’s hilarious, it’s endlessly inventive, and it’s local. See it when it premieres at the Oriental Theatre’s Abele Cinema on Friday, April 28 at 9:30 p.m! But BEFORE you do that, be sure to check out a pre-premiere Beaver Bash at Von Trier! From 6:30 – 9 p.m., you’ll be able to buy custom cocktails inspired by the film, hang with the local cast and crew (beaver costumes WILL be involved), and get primed for the zaniness to come. It’s free, it’s guaranteed to be fun, and it’s presented by Milwaukee Record! See you there!
Destroyer (solo) + Shana Cleveland @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Based around band founder Dan Bejar’s rakish vocals and obtuse songwriting persona, Destroyer has been in a constant state of evolution since starting out in 1995. Bejar’s laid-back yet theatrical songwriting presence sits at the center of every phase Destroyer goes through, from the acoustic-leaning melodrama of 2004’s ‘Your Blues,’ to the cinematic lounge pop of 2011’s ‘Kaputt’ to experiments with synthesizers and spoken word on albums like 2020’s ‘Have We Met’ and 2022’s ‘Labyrinthitis.'”
Caley Conway + Ryley Northrop, Merrill Miller @ Var Gallery
Caley Conway is difficult to pin down. Over the course of nine years the ever-busy Milwaukee singer-songwriter has explored the spaces between folk, jazz, rock, and post-rock. Conway’s latest EP is similarly difficult to pin down. The three-track Only A Dark Cocoon is inspired by the classic Joni Mitchell song “The Last Time I Saw Richard” (from 1971’s Blue), but it’s not a tribute album. All three songs borrow liberally from Mitchell’s lyrics, but it’s not a cover album. Think of it more like a reimagining or an expansion, with Mitchell’s gorgeously rendered song of romantic disillusionment and the hope that lies beyond it serving as a beam of light, and Conway’s voice and sensibility serving as a prism. The colors that emerge are fascinating.
The Chapelle Show & Friends: Wave Chapelle + BoodahDARR, NilexNile, Lavish Liam, T!ny @ Cactus Club
“Born in 1994, Radontae Ashford, aka Wave Chapelle, is a hip-hop artist from the north side of Milwaukee who grew up on the sounds of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Drake. In 2013, Wave made his debut with the mixtape ‘It’ll All Make Sense Soon,’ and in early 2014 he signed on to Yo Gotti’s CMG record label, spending a few years learning from Gotti and performing all over the US and Canada. Wave has put out a steady stream of music over the last ten years, and in the fall of 2022 he partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks to become one of their official ambassadors. His music can be heard at every home game, and he has performed in front of Bucks fans at Fiserv Forum on multiple occasions.”
SATURDAY, APRIL 29
Nate Bargatze @ The Riverside Theater (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. shows)
“Hailing from Old Hickory, Tennessee, stand-up comedian Nate Bargatze is selling out shows across the world on his Raincheck Tour. In July 2020, the comedian teamed up with All Things Comedy to release his weekly podcast, ‘Nateland.’ The world is a crazy place and there’s plenty of podcasts out there tackling the tough issues. However, ‘Nateland’ will tackle the meaningless issues that we face day to day to give listeners a much-needed mental break from fighting the good fight. New episodes release Wednesdays, with video available on Nate’s YouTube channel and audio available everywhere you get podcasts.”
Riverwest Pub Crawl 2023 @ various locations
“The 2023 Riverwest Pub Crawl is back from the dead! A little simpler than originally planned, but the same great bars and taprooms, the same great charitable cause, and the same great neighborhood, on the same day and time! Signup by purchasing a wristband from Amorphic Beer, Company Brewing, Gathering Place Brewing, or Black Husky Brewing in advance or the day of for $10. This wristband will get you access to drink specials at all participating bars, and 100% of that $10 goes to the Kinship Community Food Center in Milwaukee. There will also be opportunities to donate to the cause at each of the participating locations. Once you have your wristband, make your own route/plan/schedule and have fun! 2023 Stops include: Gathering Place Brewing, Amorphic Beer, Art Bar/Two Bar, The Gig, Club Timbuktu, Black Husky Brewing, Company Brewing, Nessun Dorma, Falcon Bowl, Bremen Cafe, Club 99, Gee Willickers.”
Clementine + North Warren, This Summer, Doubter @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
Milwaukee has a thing for emo. Back in the ’90s, groups like The Promise Ring and Hey Mercedes put the city on the emo map; these days, Telethon, Versio Curs, and many more carry the big-guitars-and-impassioned-vocals torch. Add Clementine to that latter group. For the past few years, the Milwaukee four-piece (not to be confused with another Milwaukee band called Clementine, which was active in the mid-’00s) has been playing out (a lot) on the strength of its excellent 2017 emo/pop-punk EP This Will Hurt. The band’s latest single, released in March, is “Cadaver.”
SUNDAY, APRIL 30
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls + Smoking Popes, Scam Likely @ Pabst Theater
English punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner has played thousands of shows over the course of his nearly 30-year musical career. During that span, he’s released nine excellent albums under his own name, published books, founded a festival, shared the stage with some legendary acts, and earned acclaim from fans all over the globe. About nine months after the well-traveled troubadour’s amazing solo afternoon performance at X-Ray Arcade, Turner brings his Sleeping Souls bandmates to Pabst Theater for a headlining set that also features Smoking Popes and Milwaukee’s own Scam Likely.
Maximiano + Johanno Rose, Ellie Jackson @ Cactus Club
“When singer-songwriter Max Janairo performs by themself, they go by their full first name: Maximiano. For the last year and a half, Max has been writing and releasing music as part of the local band Crawlspace, during which time many songs that didn’t fit that group’s aesthetic were stored away. Since the band’s break-up, these songs have found new life and new meaning. Riding waves of indie folk orchestration, Maximiano’s plaintive voice conveys the heartbreak, love, and growth that continue to define the artist’s musical experiences. In live solo performances, Maximiano offers an intimate experience, one that lets the communal love of music overtake and renew the emotion of these songs.”
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