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—brought to you by Lilliput Records—for August 14-20, 2023.


P!nk + Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo, KidCutUp, Grouplove @ American Family Field
It’s P!nk! On her “Summer Carnival” tour! With appearances by Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo, Milwaukee’s own KidCutUp, and Grouplove! At American Family Field! (According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “when P!nk plays American Family Field on her Summer Carnival tour August 14, she will be the first female artist to headline a stadium concert in Wisconsin.”) Click HERE for all the parking and day-of-show info you could possibly need!

Valleyheart + A Will Away, Tiny Voices, Okay Omen @ Cactus Club
“Art should incite conversation not only with our friends, family, and loved ones, but within ourselves as well. Valleyheart inspire internal and external dialogue through layers of cinematic alternative rock, lyrical eloquence, and dynamic vocals. The Massachusetts trio—Kevin Klein [vocals, guitar, producer], Chris Babbitt [bass], and Zakk Nix [drums]—might just make you ponder love and life a little more closely with their second full-length album, Heal My Head [Tooth & Nail Records]. The group canvas the biggest and smallest corners of emotions alike, which has garnered them millions of streams and acclaim from American Songwriter, FLOOD, Vanyaland, and more.”


Jimmy Eat World + Manchester Orchestra, Middle Kids @ The Rave/Eagles Club
It isn’t too often that Milwaukee gets a non-festival tour stop from Jimmy Eat World. However, the longstanding and beloved emo outfit is swinging by The Rave tonight with Manchester Orchestra and Middle Kids. Are you listening? We don’t seem too obvious, do we?

28 Years Of Son Volt: Songs Of Trace And Doug Sahm + Anders Parker @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“In 2020, Son Volt planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of seminal album, Trace, with a tour that played the album from top to bottom. The pandemic had other plans. Flash forward to 2023 and they are on the road with a setlist that features Trace from beginning to end, an homage to Doug Sahm (Sir Douglas Quintet, Texas Tornados) and a celebration of 28 years of Son Volt. Son Volt’s latest record, Day Of The Doug, revisits the music of legendary Texas troubadour Doug Sahm. But it’s much more than fond remembrance and colorful tribute. It is a summoning and a celebration of a songwriter and performer whose work forged country, Tex-Mex, rock, rhythm and blues, folk, and psychedelia into an utterly unique American sound.”

Extreme + Living Color @ The Pabst Theater
“With the force of a Boston wrecking ball, Extreme swing between unapologetic fits of fret-burning hard rock and intimately introspective balladry. This dynamic affirms the iconic multiplatinum Beantown quartet as one of rock’s most unpredictable, undeniable, and unbreakable groups whose songs course through the very fabric of popular culture. They’re the rare band whose music has appeared in an actual cult series Bill & Ted, as well as the Netflix juggernaut Stranger Things. Their dynamic approach hits harder than ever on their 2023 full-length offering Six.”

Chill On The Hill: Cosmic Endeavors + Smoke n Mirrors @ Humboldt Park

Skyline Music Series: Donna Woodall @ Kadish Park

Kadabra + Lunar Moth, Deorbit @ Cactus Club


Milwaukee Night Market @ West Wisconsin Avenue between 2nd Street and Vel R. Phillips Avenue
“The 2023 Night Markets will be held on June 14, July 19, August 16 and September 13 from 5 to 10 p.m. on West Wisconsin Avenue between 2nd Street and Vel R. Phillips Avenue. This year, the event footprint has expanded to include 2nd Street between Wells Street and Michigan Street, adding nearly 20 more vendor booths. The diverse lineup of vendors features a variety of artists, restaurateurs, farmers, crafters and makers of all sorts that will showcase their talents to the estimated 30,000 attendees each night.”

Argopelter + Caley Conway @ Boone & Crockett
Argopelter is an improvised experimental trio composed of Barry Paul Clark (bass), Devin Drobka (drums), and Christopher Porterfield (guitar). The group’s frequent residencies at Boone & Crockett are always appointment viewing/listening, especially when coupled with incomparable singer-songwriter Caley Conway. The musicians’ summer residency continues tonight with a weather-permitting patio show. Hey weather! Permit!

Washington Park Wednesdays: Carnival! @ Washington Park Bandshell


Milwaukee Irish Fest @ Henry Maier Festival Park (through August 20)
If the blur of whisky, corned beef, and green beer every mid-March isn’t enough Irish heritage for you, Milwaukee Irish Fest strives to extend the celebration into August. Attendees milling about the Summerfest grounds this weekend can imbibe in popular Irish fare and enjoy a heft of Irish and Celtic music from dozens upon dozens of acts, including The Friel Sisters, The Byrne Brothers, Lisa Canny, The Scattering, Gaelic Storm, Pay The Devil, and many more.

Hoanchella @ Milwaukee River
“Join us for an unforgettable event featuring overnight boat slips at Lakeshore State Park, an orchestrated boat cruise, a synchronized light show on the Hoan Bridge to DJ Shawna, music by the Funktoon’s pontoon, and spectacular fireworks.
In collaboration with DJ Shawna Nicols, we’re bringing an immersive fusion of boats, music and lights to engage, inspire, and uplift the city of Milwaukee. HOANCHELLA will be the first to provide a transformative experience that takes place on the Milwaukee River and shores of Lake Michigan. This celebration of the Fresh Coast not only unites residents and visitors but also serves as a kickoff for lighting the East side of the Hoan Bridge, showcasing Milwaukee’s charm and inviting the world to experience our city’s magic.”

Third Space Presents: Next Paperback Hero @ Third Space Brewing
Last year, Third Space Brewing graciously added even more entertainment to Milwaukee’s well-stocked summer concert calendar by debuting its “Third Space Presents” music series on its gorgeous new outdoor deck stage. This year’s series has been bringing a wide range of outstanding Wisconsin acts to the brewery every Thursday night, and continues tonight with a set from the always fantastic Next Paperback Hero.

A La Carte At The Zoo @ Milwaukee County Zoo (through August 20)
Though enjoying delicious food and drinks in the presence of exotic animals is already an enticing proposition on its own, this year’s A La Carte At The Zoo lineup is another great selling point. The 2023 installment will have six stages worth of live music from noted national headliners, popular local acts, and a diverse cast of cover bands to ensure there’s something for everyone. If you need help determining what day to buy tickets for, you can check out the full entertainment lineup HERE.

State Of Sound: Vincent Van Great @ Radio Milwaukee

Ladybird + T.S. Foss, Grain Elevator @ Cactus Club

Resonant Rogues + Dandy L. Freling @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery

Anxious Arms + Graysea, Bleached Cross, Past Is Prologue @ X-Ray Arcade


MKE Fringe Festival @ Marcus Center For The Performing Arts (also August 19)
Each August since 2016, Milwaukee Fringe Festival has showcased live acts from the worlds of theater, music, dance, and visual art downtown. Following the upstart festival’s encouraging first few years, organizers decided to bring Fringe Fest back for another installment in 2023. The array of artists will be performing at Marcus Performing Arts Center’s Peck Pavilion, Todd Wehr Theater, and surrounding outdoor areas on Friday and Saturday. Click HERE for the full schedule.

Polka Time! (1998-2023): The Deaccession @ Baird Center
Somewhat lost in all the hoopla surrounding the $456 million expansion of the downtown convention center is the removal of Milwaukee’s beloved “polka escalator”—a.k.a. an escalator that plays polka music when you push a “PUSH TO PLAY POLKA!” button. On Friday afternoon, the so-called “Polkalator” (located in the southwest corner of the building, leading to the Hilton skywalk) will be officially deaccessioned at a “public event of mourning and celebration” from 12:30-2:30 p.m. The “Polkalator” is part of the larger Polka Time! installation, created by celebrated Milwaukee photographer and filmmaker Dick Blau. Blau’s handsome, historic black-and-white photographs of local polka bands and polka fans have lined the length of the escalator since 1998.

Gold Steps @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Milwaukee 5-piece pop-rock band Gold Steps has called Milwaukee home since 2019, and is quickly growing their reputation for high-energy, crowd-engaging performances across the city’s stages. Gold Steps’ new original single, “Undercover,” is slated for release August, following a cover of Creed’s “One Last Breath.” Immerse yourself in the enthusiastically emotional atmosphere of Gold Steps at the Back Room @ Colectivo.”

The Brokedowns + Chinese Telephones, Jetty Boys, Jinksie @ X-Ray Arcade

Kitty Soft Paw + Lost Orange Cat, Umbra & The Volcan Siege @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery

Tim Allen @ Miller High Life Theatre

Friday Night Retro Dance Party: DJs Sage Schwarm + Mosh Wah @ Mad Planet


Pizza Sutra Short Film Fest @ X-Ray Arcade
“Pizza Sutra is a collective of film makers and pizza reviewers from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over the past five years the team has produced many short films and over 50 frozen pizza review episodes. Since we feel so strongly about film, we decided, ‘LET’S HAVE OUR OWN FILM FEST!’ So… that’s what we’re doing! We’re hosting the inaugural Pizza Sutra Short Film fest! It will feature 4 blocks of short films, with one block dedicated to Wisconsin-filmed shorts and another for student film submissions! We will also have pizza, pizza-themed drinks, giveaways, and a ton of other fun stuff!”

Local Natives + Annika Bennett @ Pabst Theater
“Local Natives bring the magic with heavenly hypnotic harmonies. They’ll grab your attention and keep it with a vibrant mix of kinetic, complex rhythms, post-punk urgency and evocative lyricism. The music evokes an expansive scope introduced by the lush guitars, iridescent harmonies, and paranoiac pop vocals. Their new album, Time Will Wait For No One, came out July 7.”

Strummerfest MKE @ Club Garibaldi
“Strummerfest MKE celebrates the music of Joe Strummer, most famously of the Clash. It takes place in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee on Saturday, August 19th. Nine local bands will be performing their versions of Joe Strummer songs. All proceeds to be donated to Milwaukee Public Schools’ music department. Bands Include: Two And A Half Stars; The Mighty Deerlick; Local Legends; Marc-Alan Prince; Floor Model; Poison Hand; Primitivs; Dairyland’s Finest String Band; and Clove.”

Ladders (reunion) + Vanity Plates, Valentiger @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn

Bad Luck + Kerosene Heights, Clementine @ Cactus Club

Good Vibes Only: Shle Berry + Mil Ticket 3278, Lady Sabo, Tracy Lynn, Starz Wint, Aya, Same E, H. Kain @ Cactus Club

Wisconsin Vintage Fest @ Bayshore


Puerto Rican Family Festival @ Veterans Park
“Come celebrate the rich culture and heritage of Puerto Rico, as we bring the community together to experience the best of music, dance, food, and traditions. Join us as we pay homage to the island’s vibrant history and celebrate its bright future. ¡Bienvenidos!”

A Celebration Of Soul: Remembering The Oife Of Jesse Bilal a.k.a. Blackwolf @ Club Timbuktu
“Join us as we celebrate the life of Jesse Bilal a.k.a. Blackwolf, soul singer, performer, songwriter, and producer. His legacy in music spans the years of his career in gospel, reggae, and soul as front man for the Essentials, The Dreadbeats, and Kings Go Forth. A program featuring performances by close friends as well as shared memories about him and his music. Listen to his recordings with Kings Go Forth and Danny Zelonky’s Trouble Man Soundtrack as well as unreleased solo songs and debut production of ‘B. Wyzdom’ project. View slideshow with photos from the stage, travels on the road, and with his family. Reconnect with friends, fellow musicians, and associates to celebrate what would be Blackwolf’s 69th Birthday!”

Sunday Surf Matinee: The Exotics @ The Tonic Tavern

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