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 4-10, 2023.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 4
A Christmas Carol @ The Pabst Theater (through December 24)
“A Christmas Carol is one of the best-known and well-loved stories in the English language. During the course of one memorable Christmas Eve, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future help Ebenezer Scrooge discover that it is never too late to change his miserly ways. Milwaukee Rep favorite Matt Daniels returns to play Scrooge, as enchanting music, dance, costumes, scenery and special effects will once again fill the theater to tell this timeless tale of love, hope and redemption.”
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5
WMSE’s Local/Live: The Hungry Williams @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
“Join us on Tuesday Dec. 5th at Anodyne on Bruce for a Special Holiday edition of Local/Live, featuring the swingin’ rock and roll sounds of Hungry Williams! The show is free, all-ages and live broadcast over the WMSE airwaves. All are welcome and encouraged to join us for some holiday fun! We will be doing some special giveaways and Third Space Brewing will be on-site doing samplings of their products. If you can’t make it in-person, you can always tune in to 91.7FM or stream the live broadcast from the WMSE app or wmse.org at 6 PM. Local/Live is made possible by the support of Third Space Brewing.”
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6
The Black Keys + Colony House @ The Rave/Eagles Club
Since starting out in Akron, Ohio more than 20 years ago, The Black Keys have brought their winning brand of blues rock to the masses. Along the way, the duo has maintained a steady presence on rock charts, performed to massive crowds all over the world, and have remained in regular radio rotation. Speaking of radio, this Milwaukee outing for The Black Keys—the band’s first in four years—is part of FM 102.1’s annual Big Snow Show
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7
Black Arts MKE: Black Nativity By Langston Hughes @ Wilson Theatre at Vogel Hall, Marcus Center (through December 10)
“Black Nativity by Langston Hughes returns for its 8th Annual Holiday Musical Production, December 7-10, 2023, at the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, Marcus Center. Hughes’ joyous holiday musical is a testament to his timeless work, telling the story of the Nativity through a combination of scripture, poetry, dance and song from the African-American perspective. This year’s all-new Black Nativity production is led by Artistic Director Wanyah L. Frazier and features a new familial take on Hughes’ song play by emerging artist and first year Black Nativity Director Ashley S. Jordan. Choreography is led by international professional dancer and teaching artist Debrasha Greye, along with returning veteran Music Director Antoine Reynolds.”
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8
Deck The Hall Ball: Train + Johnny Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls), Phillip Phillips @ Miller High Life Theatre
“An all-acoustic evening starring Train, with Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, and Phillip Phillips.” What else do you need to know?
Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound @ Falcon Bowl
“Paul and his Merry Men descend upon Mike’s neighborhood for enhanced musical hijinx for your dancing pleasure.” Again, what else do you need to know?
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9
Rucksack Revolution @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
Rucksack Revolution—a dynamic duo featuring Sarah Vos of Dead Horses and Adam Greuel of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades—doesn’t play out all that often, so when a show does come along, it’s a can’t-miss affair. Vos and Greuel released a self-titled Rucksack Revolution record in February 2022.
Bernadette (album listening party) @ CLARA Healing Institute
As half of goth-y Milwaukee post-punk duo Genau, Chris Belkofer has fashioned an expansive and impressive body of work that oftentimes delves into dreary and desolate territory. In some ways, that tone continues in Belkofer’s side venture, Bernadette. However, the solo project also seeks to explore new sonic realms, as evidenced in a new EP, Panic Songs. The EP eschews drums and vocals altogether; instead, Belkofer’s instrumental effort capably careens between soft, ambient mood music and harsh pangs of tension provided by jutting guitar work and unconventional auxiliary instrumentation in the form of tape loops. Instead of a traditional release show for the Bernadette record, Belkofer will host a free multi-faceted listening event at CLARA Healing Institute (7954 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa). The album will be played in its entirety at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. There will also be a Q&A with Belkofer at 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments and some physical copies of the record will be available at the event as well.
Made In Nerdwaukee @ Enlightened Brewing
Browse an impressive selection of locally made “geek goods” at this indoor marketplace. Beyond the 15+ vendors taking part in the second of two 2023 Made In Nerdwaukee installments (the other was in October), attendees can enjoy craft beer, non-alcoholic cocktails, and food from Sweet Smoke BBQ.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10
Casserole Call: A Hot Dish Bake Off @ Central Waters Milwaukee Taproom
Join Milwaukee Record at Central Waters Milwaukee Taproom on Sunday, December 10 for a daylong celebration of casserole (a.k.a. “hot dish” for our readers with Minnesota roots). The inaugural installment of our Casserole Call event will feature a wide range of area businesses serving up their own unique take on this beloved Midwest culinary favorite and vying for the title of Milwaukee’s Best Casserole—which will be decided by those in attendance. Best yet, a portion of proceeds brought in from Casserole Call will be donated to Kinship Community Food Center.
Blue Collar Christmas: HOSTS + Valley Fox, Dandy Freling @ Bad Moon Saloon
After making its debut at Bad Moon Saloon last year, a holiday-adjacent show now known as “Blue Collar Christmas” returns to the bar with a great trio of local acts playing for an equally great cause. Catch HOSTS, Valley Fox, and Dandy Freling doing their thing and support a breast cancer foundation in the process at this bluegrass- and country-tinged benefit show.