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 December 11-17, 2023.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11
Milwaukee Record Halftime Show: Scam Likely @ Cactus Club
Our Halftime Series is back! This season, we’ve assembled a stacked roster of 15 acts that will provide FREE all-ages entertainment during halftime of Green Bay’s games. Like previous seasons, the concert series will take place at Cactus Club. Also like previous seasons, Miller High Life will sponsor our football-focused festivities, meaning fans can enjoy “The Champagne Of Beers” and Miller Lite for $10 for a bucket of five beers all game long and “Record Recommended” High Life and Mystery Shot specials for $6. Meanwhile, MKE Distilling Company’s new vodka will be featured in Bloody Marys and Cactus Bombs throughout the season. The first of TWO Halftime Shows we’re hosting this week features the always excellent Scam Likely.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12
Social Cig (record release) + Honey Creek, Creeping Charlie @ Cactus Club
“Born & brewed in Wisconsin, Social Cig is the ‘Indie-Skate-Rock’ music project of Parker Schultz. Consisting of contagious authenticity, cheery live shows, and cultivating an original story with an attitude of gratitude, Social Cig is creating full-circle moments. While leafing through US music scenes with an ambitious DIY approach and writing songs that capture a genuine outlook from a modern-day Midwest cowboy, Social Cig has become a well-rounded grassroots venture.”
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13
Vial + Rat Bath, The Stinkeyes @ X-Ray Arcade
“VIAL is a Minneapolis-based indie punk trio of best friends: Bassist Taylor Kraemer (she/they), guitarist KT Branscom (they/them), and drummer Katie Fischer (she/they). VIAL has brought their genre-bending cascade of sound into electrifying live performances since their formation (On Tinder, mind you) in mid-2019. They’ve got songs that smack you in the face: Rage-written speedruns about running over misogynists (“Roadkill”) and head-bopping, cheek-blushing queer love songs to tingle your toes (“Violet”); VIAL is a powerhouse who knows how to adapt their sound, and themselves, allowing them to grow in new ways during 2020’s days of quarantine by creating a wide audience on Tik Tok and other social media while revving up to release their blossoming debut album, LOUDMOUTH (2021). This record was highly anticipated after the success of their debut EP, Grow Up, which hit streaming sites soon after the group’s formation in late 2019.”
Advance Base + Jacob Slade, Maximiano @ Cactus Club
Using the “Advance Base” moniker, Chicago musician Owen Ashworth crafts lo-fi story-driven output that manages to range from humorous and off-kilter to devastatingly beautiful. The multi-instrumentalist will get local support on this Cactus Club bill from Jacob Slade and Maximiano.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14
Sex Scenes + Curbsitter, Toadskin, Destros @ Promises
Sex Scenes, Milwaukee’s favorite feedback- and beer-drenched punk group, is new and improved—and supremely pissed off—on the three-song, five-minute Fed Up. In the new-and-improved department, Sarah Turbo takes over vocal duties for the band; joining her are Milwaukee music scene vets Harrison Colby, Connor LaMue, and Gregg Twigg. The quartet commences Fed Up with the teeth-kicking title track, a 90-second shot of alternately thrash-y and chugging punk goodness. “I can’t take it / I’ve had it up to my neck,” Turbo howls. “This drama, this static / I’ve had it, I’ve had it.” Second track “I’m Not Your T.V.” finds the singer blasting an enamored admirer (“I’m not your T.V. / You should entertain me / I’m at my job / Leave me alone.”) Finally, “The Harder I Try” mixes Turbo’s bleak lyrics (“I’m giving up / Because there’s nothing left to give”) with a glowering slab of hardcore. And yes, it’s all over in five minutes.
Squirrel Nut Zippers @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“Performing songs from their Christmas Caravan and Mardi Gras For Christmas albums as well as other tried and true holiday favorites, the Squirrel Nut Zippers awaken the true essence of the season. From heartwarming ballads to raucous dance tunes, the band conjures an atmosphere nestled somewhere between the wondrous lights of Christmas and the backroom din of a speakeasy. This show is a must-see for any true music lover.”
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15
Braid + Hello Face @ X-Ray Arcade (sold out)
“The revered Illinois indie-rock band widely considered by many as a pillar of second wave emo, along with similarly influential acts like the The Get Up Kids, the Promise Ring and Jimmy Eat World. But Braid were different; their albums were less overtly poppy and more urgent and frantic than their contemporaries, built on the off-kilter interplay between co-frontmen Bob Nanna and Chris Broach. It was this ever-present tension that drove the band apart barely a year after their genre-defining album Frame & Canvas, with Braid coming to an end in August 1999, right on the cusp of emo breaking through to the mainstream. But with time comes perspective, and a reunion tour in 2004. Then in 2010, the band rediscovered not only their passion for their old music, but their desire to create new music.”
Maximiano + Caley Conway, Marielle Allschwang @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
“Maximiano’s music is never about just one emotion, moment, or person. Their interest is in the way that our experiences flow and how songs can best express the way life grows and changes. With the help of Sam Broadnax, Will Hanson, Ellie Jackson, AJ Peal, and Tori Yocum, Maximiano’s indie folk arrangements come alive while their plaintive voice conveys the heartbreak, love, and growth that continues to define their musical experiences.”
Lisa Curry @ The Laughing Tap (also December 16)
Internationally touring comedian, television writer (The Jim Jefferies Show), and host of Sirius XM’s “Long Story Long,” Lisa Curry comes to The Laughing Tap for a trio of performances that will take place at the Walker’s Point club December 15-16.
Jay Pharoah @ Milwaukee Improv (through December 17)
Don’t miss your chance to see actor, comedian, Saturday Night Live alum, and legendary impressionist Jay Pharoah when he comes to Brookfield for a total of five performances December 15-17.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16
Jerry Seinfeld @ Miller High Life Theatre
What’s the deal with Jerry Seinfeld? Find out tonight when he performs at Miller High Life Theatre!
SUNDAY DECEMBER 17
The Armed + Kipp Stone @ X-Ray Arcade
A few months removed from garnering praise in the New York Times and releasing its acclaimed (and awesome) Perfect Saviors album, Detroit punk project The Armed will treat Cudahy to an uncharacteristically intimate show during a tour that’s currently selling out significantly larger venues across the country. Cleveland emcee Kipp Stone opens.
Milwaukee Record Halftime Show: World In Action @ Cactus Club
Our Halftime Series is back! This season, we’ve assembled a stacked roster of 15 acts that will provide FREE all-ages entertainment during halftime of Green Bay’s games. Like previous seasons, the concert series will take place at Cactus Club. Also like previous seasons, Miller High Life will sponsor our football-focused festivities, meaning fans can enjoy “The Champagne Of Beers” and Miller Lite for $10 for a bucket of five beers all game long and “Record Recommended” High Life and Mystery Shot specials for $6. Our friends at Transfer Pizzeria Cafe will be coming by this game to drop off some pizza for everyone to share. Meanwhile, MKE Distilling Company’s new vodka will be featured in Bloody Marys and Cactus Bombs throughout the season. The second of TWO Halftime Shows we’re hosting this week features World In Action.