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 December 5-11, 2022.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 5
Whitney + Squirrel Flower @ Turner Hall Ballroom
From the ashes of the wonderful Smith Westerns comes the equally wonderful Whitney, featuring former Smith Westerns Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich. Not that Whitney has failed to strike out on its own since forming in 2015; the group has already released a handful of wining indie-pop albums, the latest of which is 2022’s Spark.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6
WMSE’s Local/Live: A Holiday Special With Testa Rosa And Special Guest Mark Waldoch @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
What do you get when you combine Milwaukee alt-rock staple Testa Rosa, Milwaukee treasure Mark Waldoch, and Milwaukee radio mainstay WMSE? One of our favorite holiday traditions, that’s what. Stop by Anodyne on Bruce for tonight’s free-and-open-to-the-public live broadcast of WMSE’s Local/Live show featuring the aforementioned Testa Rosa and Waldoch playing holiday tunes new and old.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7
Eric Benét @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Since first cutting his teeth on stages in Milwaukee during his youth, Eric Benét has released a treasure trove of smooth R&B jams, has achieved worldwide acclaim, and has toured the planet a few times over. Tonight, the local success story returns to his native Milwaukee to perform favorites from his sprawling catalog.
Midweek Music: Julien Kozak @ Crafty Cow Tosa
Midweek Music is back! For one final show! Join us at Crafty Cow Tosa for the season finale featuring Julien Kozak! There’s no cover for this all-ages show, which runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. And if a free weeknight show isn’t already great enough, Crafty Cow Tosa will offer $4 Indeed Brewing Company pints. They’ll also have a “Cheap Date” special, which includes two entrees, an appetizer, and two drinks for just $39.
Argopelter + Caley Conway @ Boone & Crockett
Argopelter is an improvised experimental trio composed of Barry Paul Clark (bass), Devin Drobka (drums), and Christopher Porterfield (guitar). The group’s frequent residencies at Boone & Crockett are always appointment viewing/listening, especially when coupled with incomparable singer-songwriter Caley Conway. The musicians’ winter residency begins tonight, with shows on December 14, January 18, February 8, and February 12 to follow.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8
A Charlie Brown Christmas @ The Jazz Estate (through December 22)
If you were hoping to snag tickets to one of the many A Charlie Brown Christmas shows at The Jazz Estate between now and December 22 (courtesy of The Commercialists), sorry, you’re out of luck! All of the shows (more than 30!) are sold out. HOWEVER, there are tickets still available to the two shows coming to Turner Hall on December 23. Good luck, Charlie Brown!
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
Hello Death + Sbowe (record release), Pleasure Thief, DJ Gramma Matrix @ Cactus Club
Band monikers can often be random and arbitrary, but Milwaukee’s Hello Death is nothing if not aptly named. The long-running experimental folk quartet is both welcoming and morose, full of life and stripped to the bone. The group’s excellent 2018 record
For Those With Many Hearts is similarly multifaceted, highlighted by the dramatic baritone of singer Nathaniel Heuer and the airy harmonies of Marielle Allschwang and Erin Wolf. Wrap it all up in nervy violin and piano, and menacing stand-up bass, and you have a singular band that creates music that seems to pre-date and stand apart from the very idea of music itself.
Fall From Grace Day 1 @ X-Ray Arcade
Cudahy’s X-Ray Arcade is going all-metal with this metal-as-hell two-day metal fest featuring metal bands from around the metal-minded globe. Day 1 features Tower, Ossuary, Molder, Sonja, Kaldeket, Lurid, and Mind Harvester.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
Brat Sounds (final show) + Slug Rejector, Mark Adams Son Of Bill @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
To hear bandleader Scott Cary tell it, Milwaukee indie-rock staple Brat Sounds began not just as a natural extension of his previous group, Dinny Bulca, but as a personal “ploy for musical control.” Happily, eight years later, the members of Brat Sounds have coalesced into a more collaborative unit. The group’s fourth, recently released full-length album, Nothing, finds Carey checking his self-described “ultra-perfectionist” tendencies at the door and giving his bandmates—Corbin Coonan, Kelly Danen, Max Wikoff—more musical freedom. Sadly, Nothing will be Brat Sounds’ final album, and tonight’s show will be the group’s last. Fare thee well, Brat Sounds!
Fall From Grace Day 2 @ X-Ray Arcade
Day 2 of X-Ray Arcade’s Fall From Grace metal fest features Coven, Cardinals Folly, Crossspitter, Freeways, Lost Tribes Of The Moon, To The Dogs, and Force.
Patti LaBelle + Jeff Bradshaw @ The Riverside Theater
Get ready for “an evening of holiday and hits” with the legendary Patti LaBelle. Opener Jeff Bradshaw will also take part in this can’t-miss yuletide affair.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
Fraxiom + whoTF (Folie & Forget Basement), Flowers* @ Cactus Club
Chicago comes to Milwaukee when three Chicago-based pop acts—Fraxiom, Folie, and Forget Basement—take the stage of the Cactus Club. Milwaukee’s own Flowers* opens.
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