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 6-12, 2021.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7
WMSE Local/Live Holiday Show: Caley Conway @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
Tireless Milwaukee musician Caley Conway is fresh off the release of her excellent Bliss Or Bust EP. For this show, however, expect some holiday classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” and “Silver Bells,” all from her 2020 holiday album Heart Be Light. WMSE will broadcast Conway’s show as part of its weekly Local/Live series.
Movie Night: ‘Die Hard’ @ Lakefront Brewery
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Does that question grow exponentially more annoying every time it’s asked? (Answers: sure, YES.) Anyway, Die Hard rules. See it for free at Lakefront, where it’ll be paired with a new vanilla porter, Baltic Fire. Yippee Ki-Yay, shoot the glass, etc.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8
Chris Isaak Holiday Tour @ Miller High Life Theatre
Is Chris Isaak a Christmas artist? Does that question grow exponentially more confusing when you consider this is the guy behind such hot-and-heavy songs/videos as “Wicked Game” and “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing”? (Answers: sure, YES.) Anyway, Chris Isaak rules. See his Holiday Tour at the Miller High Life Theatre.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9
A John Waters Christmas…It’s A Yuletide Massacre @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Sometimes it’s best to let a press release do the talking. Take it away, John Waters! “Merry Fistmas! Season’s Beatings! Happy Hole-A-Day. Like a nutcase, St. Nick for Christmas crazies, John Waters, ‘gutter’ filmmaker (Mondo Trasho, Cecil B. Demented, A Dirty Shame), tawdry stand-up comedian (This Filthy World) and author of many appalling books (Role Models, Carsick, Mr. Know-It-All) is on tour again with a whole new bag of holiday filth for bad little boys and girls everywhere. Both Santa and Jesus will send their regrets when this ho-ho-homo lets loose about reindeer virgin births, the illegally squatting Christ-child and chubby-chasing Mrs. Clause. There’ll be no silent nights here! No, this rapid-fire monologue for adult delinquents asks the holiday questions, ‘Was Joseph a virgin, too?’, ‘Is Santa now an incel?’, ‘Is Rudolph a bossy bottom?’, ‘Prancer a no-fats-or-femmes top?’ And Vixen, well, ‘Did she make love with Russ Meyer?'”
Emily Wolfe + Kiss The Tiger @ Cactus Club
If you don’t know the name Emily Wolfe yet, you will soon. The Austin-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist is a few months removed from the release of Outlier, her excellent sophomore album that’s earned acclaim from listeners and critics alike. Epiphone now produces a signature model guitar that bears her name, and she’ll have that guitar in tow for this intimate Cactus Club show.
Kings Of Leon + Wilderado @ The Rave / Eagles Ballroom
It’s the first half of FM 102/1’s 2021 Big Snow Show! With Kings Of Leon and Wilderado! Stay tuned for next week’s second half with The Lumineers and Cold War Kids! Ho! Hey!
FRIDAY DECEMBER 10
Genau + Blue Unit, The Cult Of Lip, Apollo Vermouth @ X-Ray Arcade
For all its sunny reinvention and chipper boosterism, Milwaukee can be a cold and gloomy place. Maybe that’s why so many Brew City bands take inspiration from the dreamy-but-dreary shoegaze sound of the ’80s and early ’90s. Genau and Blue Unit (the latter an offshoot of longtime shoegaze outfit Brief Candles) are just two examples of local bands currently channeling that My Bloody Valentine/4AD vibe. Genau’s latest release is last year’s Cthonic Use EP.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11
The Verve Pipe @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
For the life of us, we cannot remember what made us think that a song about abortion and suicide was a good time. Oh, the ’90s.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12
Milwaukee Record Halftime Show: Garden Home @ Cactus Club
After a season away, the Milwaukee Record Halftime Show series has returned! This season, we’ve assembled a stacked roster of 17 performers that will provide FREE all-ages entertainment during halftime of Green Bay football games. Like previous seasons, our friends at Miller High Life are sponsoring our football-focused festivities, meaning fans can enjoy “The Champagne Of Beers” and Miller Lite for $2.50 a bottle or $10 for a bucket of five beers all game long. Milwaukee’s own Garden Home will serve as the mid-game entertainment for this week’s Border Battle game.
WMSE’s Big Band Grandstand @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Beloved WMSE DJ Dewey Gill’s annual Big Band Grandstand returns (after a COVID-year off in 2020) to Turner Hall Ballroom! The live event will kick off with Gill welcoming guests with a hand-selected DJ set. The Chicago Jazz Orchestra will take it from there, and the group’s set will include a salute to local jazz legend Woody Herman. And there’s more! A silent online auction will go live two weeks prior to the event. Items will include a Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings package, and money raised from the auction will support “the upkeep of WMSE’s studios, and the digitization and streaming of the station’s jazz library, allowing music fans everywhere the ability to hear jazz 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Fancy dress is encouraged!