Our fat-free, dolphin-safe Milwaukee events calendar 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 August 16-22, 2021.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 17
Chill On The Hill: Devils Teeth + Decoteau Black @ Humboldt Park
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. For Milwaukee garage-surf outfit Devils Teeth, our current extraordinary times have called for—what else?—releasing a self-recorded “spaghetti western garage rock operetta inspired by the character Chong Li from the martial arts film Bloodsport.” (You know. The one with Jean-Claude Van Damme.) Opening with the exotica-tinged scene-setter “She Speaks To Coyotes,” barreling into the over-the-top “Chong Li” and “Ride Of The Devils Teeth,” and culminating in the cliffhanging “Shadows Of Chong Li,” La Leggenda Di Chong Li plays like a fever-dream version of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack crossed with Ennio Morricone.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18
Milwaukee Night Market @ West Wisconsin Avenue
Remember the NEWaukee Night Market? The big art fair/food truck fair/”Hey, it’s the Milwaukee Blacksmith family!” fair that would take over a prime chunk of Wisconsin Avenue outside the old Shops of Grand Avenue four times a year every summer? It was great! Well, after a year of Pandemic Pause, the NEWaukee Night Market is back! Sort of! NEWaukee recently announced that they’re largely getting out of the Night Market game, and that they’re handing the reins to downtown group Westown Association. The newly dubbed Milwaukee Night Market will still go on, albeit for one night only: Wednesday, August 18, from 5-10 p.m. (NEWaukee will still help with the production.)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 19
Maroon 5 + Blackbear @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater
Remember when the most pressing issue of the day was the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show? As in, who was or wasn’t playing it? Remember when it just ended up being Maroon 5? Remember how everyone instantly moved on with their lives? Such simple, simple times. Anyway, Maroon 5 is playing the newly refurbished American Family Insurance Amphitheater. The group’s latest album, Jordi, features guest appearances from Megan Thee Stallion, Stevie Nicks, opener Blackbear, and more.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 20
Milwaukee Irish Fest @ Henry Maier Festival Park (through August 22)
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 can imbibe in popular Irish fare and enjoy a heft of Irish and Celtic music from dozens upon dozens of acts, including Gaelic Storm, Rory Makem, Finbar MacCarthy, and more. Unlike Summerfest—which takes place next week at Henry Maier Festival Park—Irish Fest will not require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry.
Steve Byrne @ Milwaukee Improv (7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. shows)
In case you missed the news, metro Milwaukee has a new comedy club! Milwaukee Improv is located at The Corners of Brookfield in a 13,049-square-foot space in the shopping center’s lower level. The Brookfield-based venue is the national Improv chain’s 25th location. The club will be christened by Steve Byrne. You can see the veteran comedian, actor, and former star of the TBS series Sullivan & Son at Milwaukee Improv for a total of five shows August 20-22.
Adam Cayton-Holland @ The Laughing Tap (8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. shows)
Author, actor, Those Who Can’t star/co-creator, and veteran stand-up comedian Adam Cayton-Holland returns to Milwaukee for a two-night, four-show headlining run at The Laughing Tap that runs August 20-21.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21
Paper Holland + Fuzzysurf, 9 A.M., Bug Moment @ Cactus Club (early show)
Paper Holland + The Unitaskers, Steph Lippert, Moonglow @ Cactus Club (late show)
What’s better than one Paper Holland show on a Saturday at Cactus Club? How about two Paper Holland shows on a Saturday at Cactus Club? The sparkling and soaring Milwaukee indie-rock group will be joined by some of the best acts in town for this double dose of musical escape. The all-ages early show begins at 4 p.m.; the 18+ late show begins at 8 p.m.
Mere Of Light (record release) + Annie Grizzle, C. Vadi @ Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts
Mere Of Light is fronted by Elise McArdle, whom Milwaukee music fans know from dream-pop group Cream Vellum. With Mere Of Light, however, McArdle goes for a more serene, pastoral sound, drawing on “material from sound archives, field recordings, fairytales, and folk ballads”—and, of course, a trusty harp (and guitar work from Eddie Chapman of Gauss). The wistful “Moon From A Well,” filled with images of soft nettle beds and “catnip and clover,” is from the new Fell Tales EP. Tonight’s release show also features poet Annie Grizzle and experimental artist C. Vadi. Any profits collected through cassette sales or donations will go to Diverse & Resilient and the Giniw Collective.
Modest Mouse + The Districts @ Riverside Theater
Have you heard that new Modest Mouse record, The Golden Casket? It’s pretty good! Yes, it’s good to have Modest Mouse—and the band’s forever-fascinating frontman Issac Brock—back after such a long drought (six years, to be exact). This Milwaukee show is part of a full Modest Mouse U.S. tour that includes upcoming appearances at the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival in, well, Austin.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 22
Cloud Nothings @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Am I at the end, or will there be another change?” That’s long-running Cleveland band Cloud Nothings on “Oslo,” the opening track of the new (and excellent) The Shadow I Remember. If there’s a better summation of our current pandemic times, we’d love to hear it. The Shadow I Remember is Cloud Nothings’ seventh studio album; like 2012’s Attack On Memory, it was engineered by Steve Albini.