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 21-27, 2023.
MONDAY, AUGUST 21
Hip-Hop Week MKE @ various locations (through August 27)
Hip-hop is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2023, and Milwaukee is throwing it a hell of a party. Yes, the city-sponsored Hip-Hop Week MKE returns this week with a slew of events, concerts, film screenings, seminars, and more. Founded by Alderman Khalif J. Rainey in 2018, HHW places just as much emphasis on things like wellness and civic engagement as it does music. Hip-hop may be 50 in 2023, but the 2023 Hip-Hop Week MKE is all about “celebrating 50 years of culture.” Find the full schedule of events—complete with shows from The Pharcyde and Moneybagg Yo, and events like a breakdance battle and chess tournament—HERE.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 22
Tim Heidecker @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Whether you know Tim Heidecker as an influential and innovative comedian/actor or you know him as a gifted singer/songwriter, you’re likely a huge fan of his work. And if you’re fond of both his humor and his music, we have some incredible news for you. Tonight, the multi-faceted performer will treat Turner Hall to “The Two Tims,” which includes an acerbic stand-up set by Heidecker and some original songs performed by him as well.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23
Milwaukee Record Presents: Jaws @ Avalon Atmospheric Theater
Y’all know Milwaukee Record. Know how we earn a livin’. Music, culture, gentle sarcasm, monthly movie screenings at the Avalon Atmospheric Theater. We’re screening Jaws tonight at the Avalon, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Big movie! Not like goin’ down to the local bar and streaming a National Geographic documentary about bluegills or tommy cots. This screening will swallow you whole. A little popcorn, a little beer from screening sponsor Lakefront Brewery, some of Avalon’s delicious Crusted Chicken Tenders, and down you go. This screening will likely sell out, so you got to get your reserved seating tickets quick. That’ll bring back the moviegoers and put the Avalon on a payin’ basis. But you gotta make up your minds. Gonna see the 1975 Steven Spielberg classic on the big screen with an audience? Or want to play it cheap, sit in your living room and watch it on DVD the whole summer?
The Sadies + Sally Timms, Jon Langford @ X-Ray Arcade
“Without doubt or qualification, The Sadies are one of this continent’s greatest extant rock ‘n’ roll bands—just as they have been for the last quarter-century. Versatile and imaginative, they skip from astral psychedelia to shuffling bucolics and leap from puckish pop to righteous garage-rock without losing momentum or mastery. Their albums deliver masterclasses on pointed songwriting, lockstep harmonies, and a devil-may-care attitude to expectations and past successes. With their new album—Colder Streams—out now, check out what Shindig Magazine calls ‘a stone-cold masterpiece.'”
Los Straitjackets + Jake La Botz Trio @ Shank Hall
“Los Straitjackets are the leading practitioners of the lost art of the guitar instrumental. Using the music of the Ventures, The Shadows, and with Link Wray and Dick Dale as a jumping off point, the band has taken their unique, high energy brand of original rock & roll around the world. Clad in their trademark Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling masks, the ‘Jackets’ have delivered their trademark guitar licks to 16 albums, thousands of concerts and dozens of films and TV shows. Viva Los Straitjackets!”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 24
The Skatalites @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“The Skatalites are the premiere ska band from Jamaica. Officially formed in 1964 after playing in studios together all over Kingston, these musicians came together to perform live shows all over the island. In addition to the live shows, these musicians were the backing band for every vocalist including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Toots, and The Maytals to name just a few. They are the roots to the tree whose branches include rocksteady, reggae, rap, dub, punk, two-tone, 3rd wave, ska-jazz, ska-core, and ragga.”
Third Space Presents: Steph Lippert Project @ 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 fantastic Steph Lippert Project.
Christy Costello + Spidora, Full Nude, Robits @ Bremen Cafe
“Christy is a longtime mover and shaker from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Vocal styles are in the key of smoke, grit, soul and life. She is also a songwriter, guitar player, bass player, disc jock, talent buyer, promoter, mother, yogi. Bands Past: Butchers Union, Pink Mink, The Von Bondies, Ouija Radio, Blaha & Costello. With support from local wonders Spidora, Full Nude, and Robits. Free show! Donations encouraged!”
FRIDAY, AUGUST 25
Mexican Fiesta @ Henry Maier Festival Park (through August 27)
“Mexican Fiesta brings the sound, culture, and taste of México to Milwaukee’s lakefront. Join in on the fun as we celebrate three days of fun, food, Mariachi, and Fiesta for everyone. Mexican Fiesta is more than just a celebration; it is a vigorous declaration of community spirit at its best. Education is the key to the future, and through scholarship awards, the festival becomes the gateway to young Hispanics taking their rightful place in society by continuing education. Mexican Fiesta is a cultural foundation concentrating on providing education and cultural events for the growing Hispanic community. Our festival honors culture, tradition, and family. Mexican Fiesta encourages individuals from all ethnic backgrounds to share in the beauty of Mexico’s rich history, art, music, and food.”
Social Cig + Fellow Kinsman, Diet Lite, Bug Moment @ Turner Hall Ballroom
We’re in the midst of a special time in Milwaukee music. As we speak, a new crop of artists are pushing the local scene into exciting and unfamiliar sonic territory. Four of the bands ushering in that encouraging artistic evolution—Social Cig, Fellow Kinsman, Diet Lite, and Bug Moment—share a bill at Turner Hall tonight. If you want to get up to speed on some of the great things happening in Milwaukee music right now, this show is a good place to start.
Black Lips + Telethon @ X-Ray Arcade
“Boasting an unapologetic southern-fried twang, with a clang and harmony that is unmistakably the inimitable sound and feel of the Black Lips. Their songcraft and stylistic evolution are as infamous as their now legendary live shows. In 2020 the quintet saw the release of Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart via Fire Records. Resulting in their grimiest, most dangerous, and best collection of songs since the aughts. The result of two decades of impulsive living, wild nights, and determined attitudes make up the Black Lips.”
The Righteous Babes (Gracie And Rachel, Holly Miranda, Jocelyn Mackenzie) + Caley Conway @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“The Righteous Babes are a supergroup of powerhouse female artists, banded together under Ani DiFranco’s legacy label, Righteous Babe Records. Think boygenius meets Bonny Light Horseman with an air of Lilith Fair—currently the band is comprised of three independent groups; Gracie and Rachel, chamber-pop piano-violin duo who have appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk, Holly Miranda, sultry folk rock guitarist who has toured with Karen O, and Jocelyn Mackenzie, percussionist, electric ukulele player, and former member of Pearl and the Beard. The artists perform one another’s original songs in fresh, unique arrangements that highlight technical prowess and deliver a stage show that is acrobatic and heart-pounding. Their distinctive vocal blend and powerful musicianship shine as they support one another as fellow artists who delight in sharing the stage, righteously.”
Jay Matthes (record release) + Listening Party @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
For as long as Milwaukee Record has been a thing (and a few years before that, even), Jay Matthes has been a fixture in southeast Wisconsin music. The veteran singer-songwriter plays more than 100 shows annually. Those outings range from a wealth of festivals and neighborhood music series, high-profile support slots for known national acts, headlining sets in clubs and cafes, performances in bars and backyards spread throughout the Midwest, and sets in virtually every other imaginable place where a musician could conceivably play. Tonight, Matthes will celebrate the release of his latest record, Loved And Lost And Found.
Ms. Pat @ Milwaukee Improv (also August 26)
The life story of Patricia Williams (a.k.a. Ms. Pat) is nothing short of astounding. Once a teen mom who was selling drugs in Atlanta, she turned her life around and, by way of her incomparable perspective and undeniable talent, shifted her focus to comedy. In the years that followed that significant life change, Ms. Pat has amassed an abundance of TV credits, started a popular podcast, wrote a critically acclaimed and NAACP Award-nominated memoir, and has toured extensively. This weekend, Ms. Pat drops by Milwaukee Improv in nearby Brookfield for a total of four shows spread between two August nights.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 26
WMSE’s Backyard BBQ with Bob Mould @ Humboldt Park
Legendary punk/alt-rock pioneer Bob Mould—he of Hüsker Dü, Sugar, and solo fame—headlines tonight’s WMSE Backyard BBQ in Humboldt Park (along with his Bob Mould Band). Holy crap! Also setting up shop in Humboldt Park’s bandshell during the afternoon and early evening will be (in order of appearance) Chicken Wire Empire, Girls Rock Milwaukee, Telethon, and Esso. WMSE DJs will provide music throughout the day. Again: HOLY CRAP.
Long Mama + Ladybird, Maximiano @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
Chilling in the woods and living simply: that’s the back-to-basics sentiment behind the gentle and soothing “Corduroy Road,” the latest single from Milwaukee indie-folk/Americana group Long Mama. “Corduroy Road” finds singer-songwriter-guitarist Kat Wodtke reflecting on her time spent living in Alaska; at the age of 22, Wodtke took a job building scenery for the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre, and lived in a small trailer six miles from town.
Matt Braunger @ The Laughing Tap
Following a few ill-fated attempts to reschedule during the pandemic, actor, writer, and comedian Matt Braunger was finally able to bring his wealth of television credits and thousands of hours of stage time to The Laughing Tap in Walker’s Point in late 2021. The veteran comic return to the Tap tonight for what’s sure to be a memorable evening.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 27
Bounce Milwaukee Farewell Party @ Bounce Milwaukee
“After 9 incredible years, it’s time to say goodbye. Let’s have fun one last time! Your party ticket gets you all-access to our attractions: laser tag, rock climbing, projector games, inflatable sports and obstacle courses, our blue room, free-play on vintage arcade games, air-hockey, pinball—even massage chairs for the adults! Your ticket also gets you access to our amazing food! From fresh-baked pizza to quesadillas and salads, we’ll have it all served up wait-free, buffet-style all night. Desserts, too: from fresh-baked cookies to gooey brownies! We’ll have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available, too. Soda and water are included with your ticket price and we’ll have great drink specials on everything else, too!”
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