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 7-13, 2023.
MONDAY, AUGUST 7
Wisconsin State Fair @ Wisconsin State Fair Park (through August 13)
Didn’t make it to the State Fair this past weekend? You have a whole week and weekend to make up for that! Drive (or bus) over to West Allis and enjoy the decadent delights of the Sporkies, the sights and smells of the livestock, and that one air conditioned building where the display all the award-winning vegetables, baked goods, textiles, and amateur photographs. Bless you, State Fair.
Musical Mondays: R&B Cadets @ Lake Park Summer Stage
“Revered Milwaukee super group featuring headliners Paul Cebar, Robin Pluer, John Sieger and Juli Wood playing a dance-inducing blend of originals and obscure covers.”
Chepang + Bandit, Decultivate, Shrivel Up, Habitat For Insanity, Lifes @ X-Ray Arcade
“Ripping IMMIGRINDCORE collective from the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal to NYC. Utterly unbound and obliterating all boundaries and facets of extreme music, borders and nationalism since 2016.”
TUESDAY, AUGUST 8
Stevie Nicks @ Fiserv Forum
The one and only Stevie Nicks is playing Milwaukee! Tonight! The show serves as the kickoff to the second leg of Nicks’ 2023 “Live In Concert” tour. And that’s it! Stevie Nicks! Milwaukee! Tonight!
Ben Folds + Tall Heights @ The Riverside Theater
“Ben Folds’ masterful new collection, What Matters Most, isn’t so much a statement as it is an offering, an open hand reaching out to all those wounded and bewildered by a world that seems to make less and less sense every day. The album marks Folds’ first new studio release in eight years, and it’s a bold, timely, cinematic work, one that examines the tragic and the absurd in equal measure as it reckons with hope and despair, gratitude and loss, identity, and perspective. The songs are bittersweet here, hilarious at times, but often laced with a quiet sense of longing and dread: a text message goes unanswered; an old classmate descends into the dark depths of internet conspiracies; a relationship unravels in the middle of a lake. And yet, taken as a whole, the result is an undeniably joyful record that refuses to succumb to the weight of the world around it, an ecstatic reminder of all the beauty and promise hiding in plain sight for anyone willing (and present enough) to recognize their moments as they arrive.”
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9
MKE Black Theatre Festival @ various locations (through August 27)
“Black Arts MKE is excited to announce the return of the MKE Black Theatre Festival, taking place from August 9-27, 2023. This year’s festival is expanding from one week to a three-week-long celebration of Black arts and culture. The festival will offer ticketed and free events that include two full-production plays, a play development workshop, an audition masterclass, Black Nativity by Langston Hughes auditions, Reflections on Black History with Evertt Marshburn, a poetry set, and more. Events will take place at various venues throughout Milwaukee including Marquette University, The Table at Alice’s Garden, Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Museum, and Studio 4A at Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. For a full schedule visit blackartsmke.org.”
Cindy Lee + Freak Heat Waves, Dogs In Ecstasy, DJ Gosha @ Cactus Club
“Cindy Lee is a Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter, performer, and recording artist known worldwide as one of the last great torch singers and as a living guitar legend. A transient drag queen and dangerous drifter hellbent on corrupting the youth of America. They have sold out of every album they’ve ever made, each record a bold landmark in the history of pop music. After 4 releases with the Superior Viaduct label (Suicide, DEVO, Alice Coltrane, Ennio Morricone) they now self-release thru “Realistik Studios.” Beautiful and compelling Pop tracks and L-I-T-E torch ballads in the great tradition of Roy Orbison, Ros Sereysothea, Gloria Ann Taylor, and Patsy Cline. A blurring of fiction and reality is a theme, apparent in the contrast between grandiose pop ambitions and amateur recording techniques.”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 10
Shaggy 2 Dope + DJ Clay, Odd Squad Family, Nathan James @ X-Ray Arcade
“Joseph William Utsler, known by his stage name Shaggy 2 Dope, is an American rapper, record producer, DJ, podcast host of Shaggy and The Creep Show, and professional wrestler. He is part of the hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse.”
Third Space Presents: ANDII + Valley Fox @ 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 Milwaukee singer-songwriter ANDII.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 11
The Figgs + Sex Scenes @ Promises
“We are beyond stoked to welcome legendary rock and roll band The Figgs back to Milwaukee! Opening will be Milwaukee’s Sex Scenes, one of the best punk bands and live experiences the city has to offer! Strange Obsessions will be spinning every variety rock and roll 45’s all night long in the front bar. Get your tickets today, THIS WILL SELL OUT!”
Los Tigres del Norte @ Miller High Life Theatre
“Los Tigres del Norte are an internationally successful norteño group from Mexico based in California. Since the late 1960s, this family band has detailed the struggles and triumphs, romances, and heartbreaks of working people, families, immigrants, outlaws, politicians, and farmers. Over more than 70 albums—including 22 number ones—they turned norteño, an accordion-based polka music indigenous to Northern Mexico, into commercially viable pop music, infusing the tradition with boleros, cumbias, rock rhythms, waltzes, and sound effects.”
Mason Jennings @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“‘I love song craft,’ says longtime folksinger Mason Jennings, who’s spent the bulk of the past 25 years onstage and in the writing room. ‘A song is like a boat on the water, and you’re trying to make it float using as few pieces as you can. If you do it right, a song can be very healing. This album feels that way to me. It’s a love letter to songwriting.’ He’s talking about Real Heart, his fourteenth solo album out February 4, 2022 on Loosegroove Records.”
Eddie Griffin @ Milwaukee Improv (also August 12)
While he’s an accomplished actor and a cultural touchstone who’s been a known figure in entertainment since the early ’’90s, Eddie Griffin is first and foremost a comedian. Thankfully, Griffin—whom Comedy Central accurately declares to be one of the 100 funniest comedians of all time—is still taking the stage to do what he does best. Whether you want to mark him off your stand-up bucket list or you’re anxious to hear his new material in action, you’ll have four opportunities to catch Griffin when he comes to Milwaukee Improv in nearby Brookfield August 11-12.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12
Taking The City By Storm: The Birth Of The Milwaukee Punk Scene @ Avalon Theater (also August 13)
“This documentary features numerous interviews and rare, original video footage of Milwaukee exports such as the Violent Femmes, no-waver James Chance, post-hardcore conceptualists, Die Kreuzen as well as less heard of champions, such as neo-psychedelicists, Plasticland and The Prosecutors (featuring Kevn Kinney of Atlanta’s drivin’ n’ cryin’), join that of many more unsung musicians. The movie also features Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson and Rick Nielsen sharing a fond memory. The documentary also focuses on how the deep-rooted, Midwestern blue collar work ethic influenced club owners and musicians, which lead to the prolific production of DIY 45 and LP records.”
Center Street Daze Festival @ Center Street
From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Riverwest’s Center Street will be abuzz with activity in the form of food and retail vendors, pushcart races, and a Boonie Bike Showdown. Of course, there will also be live music. Lots and lots of live music! Throughout Saturday afternoon/evening, Center Street Daze will feature a wide range of (mostly) local talent on six stages. That bursting lineup includes the likes of Rat Bath, KASE, BLAX, Billy Dreamer, Size 5’s, and many more. There will also be a bunch of DJs playing throughout the day at High Dive.
Beans Fest @ Beans & Barley
Look up the phrase “Milwaukee dining, deli, and cute little general store staple” and you’ll find a picture of Beans & Barley. Located at 1901 E. North Ave., Beans has survived decades of changing tastes, an ever-changing East Side neighborhood, and even a fire that destroyed its original building in 1993. And now, this Saturday, Beans will celebrate an incredible 50 years in business with an on-site “Beans Fest.” What to expect from the big 50th? How about local music from Marielle Allschwang & The Visitations, Power Wagon, Double Truck, Adorner, and Chase? How about DJ mayhem from WMSE and DJ Christreater? How about vendors, cold drinks, and fun! It’ll all be in the Beans parking lot from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival @ Lakeshore State Park
“The Milwaukee Chinese Community is proud to present the Milwaukee Dragon Boat Festival and continue the tradition of ethnic and cultural festivals in Milwaukee. The highlight of the festival will be the Dragon Boat Races. Our mission is to showcase a variety of Chinese culture and traditions. Throughout the festival, there will be performances in traditional dance, Chinese folk music, and Martial Arts. There will be hands-on opportunities for the young and young-at-heart to make opera masks and lanterns, play traditional games, participate in a dragon parade, and even learning to speak and write Chinese.”
Less Than Jake + The Toasters, Devon Kay & The Solutions @ The Rave/Eagles Club
Skank your way over to The Rave for a straight-up stacked ska-punk showcase featuring the incomparable Less Than Jake and support from The Toasters and Devon Kay & The Solutions. Pick it up!
SUNDAY, AUGUST 13
The Crane Wives + The Belle Weather @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Born of the 2010’s folk boom and now comfortably stationed in their rock and roll era, The Crane Wives epitomize the evolving sound of the indie genre. Having performed hundreds of shows on stages across the country, they gravitate toward high-energy melodies, featuring the kinetic percussion of Dan Rickabus, the silky, driving bass lines of Ben Zito and playful guitar leads from front women Emilee Petersmark and Kate Pillsbury. Counterbalancing their lively stage presence, their lyrics extol the shadow side of the human condition, delving into mythology and themes of darkness and inner conflict. The band softens the blows of their emotional candor with soulful three-part vocal harmonies, like a 21st century Cerberus, the hound of Hades reimagined as an emotional support animal. To date, they have released five full length albums, including their 2020 live album, Here I Am.”
Milwaukee Plant Party @ Bad Moon Saloon
Milwaukee—the City Of Festivals, in case you forgot—is home to all types of summertime celebrations. Hell, we even have a festival that’s specifically related to plants. Yep! Milwaukee Plant Party will take root Sunday at Bad Moon Saloon and will offer six hours worth of plant-based shopping from 12-6 p.m. Billed as “Wisconsin’s Biggest Plant Event,” the Milwaukee Plant Party will feature more than 20 local vendors, including area plant stores, collectors, potters, propagators, and even some artists and makers thrown in for good measure.
Exclusive articles, podcasts, and more. Support Milwaukee Record on Patreon.