Milwaukee is chock full of things to do, but only a handful of Milwaukee events are worthy of the lofty honor of “Record Recommended” (patent pending). Here are our recommendations—brought to you by Lilliput Records—for January 22-28, 2024.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24
Milwaukee Record Presents: Wild At Heart (1990) @ Avalon Atmospheric Theater
Even with films like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive under his belt (not to mention the third season of Twin Peaks), David Lynch’s Wild At Heart is the director’s most wonderfully garish creation. The 1990 crime/romance/road movie is grotesque, hyper-violent, and hyper-sexual. It’s big and bold with its references: Nicolas Cage as Elvis, Laura Dern as Marilyn, the whole Wizard Of Oz thing. It was largely reviled upon its release (despite winning the Palme d’Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival), and it narrowly avoided an X/NC-17 rating. But hell, Peanut, Wild At Heart absolutely rules. And we’re screening it Avalon Atmospheric Theater tonight! Reserved-seating tickets to the 7 p.m. show (sponsored by Lakefront Brewery and Gruber Law Offices) are $11, and are on sale NOW.
William Tyler & The Impossible Truth + Chris DeMay & Red Stuff @ Cactus Club
“Tennessee-born guitarist, songwriter, and producer William Tyler began his career in the early 2000s touring and recording with acts as diverse as Lambchop, Wooden Wand, the Silver Jews, Bonnie Prince Billy, Candi Staton, Charlie Louvin, and Rhys Chatham. Having established his reputation as a versatile and supremely inventive guitar ace, he then launched a solo career that focused on instrumental, often experimental compositions that pulled from a variety of styles, from sparse American Primitive to pastoral country-driven rock and folk.”
THURSDAY, JANUARY 25
Midweek Music: Maximiano @ Crafty Cow (Bay View)
Back in November, we wrapped up another autumn installment of our Midweek Music concert series at Crafty Cow’s Wauwatosa location. For winter, the concerts will take place at Crafty Cow’s location in Bay View on select Wednesday and Thursday nights. Once again, there will be NO COVER for these all-ages shows, which will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If a free weeknight show isn’t already great enough on its own, Crafty Cow will offer $4 pints from Third Space Brewing during all Midweek Music concerts. They’ll also have a “Cheap Date” special, which includes two entrees, a starter, and a dessert for just $37. This week: ever-busy Milwaukee singer-songwriter Maximiano!
Cosmic Country Showcase: Thair + CRUD, Jason Balla (Dehd), Case Oats, Dandy Freling @ Cactus Club
“The Cosmic Country Showcase returns to Cactus Club early in 2024! It’s the only show where you can find budding talent singing a duet two-person horse costume while a Sasquatch steals the spotlight with an unexpected country twist on Bob Seger’s ‘Night Moves.'”
FRIDAY, JANUARY 26
Gold Steps + MKNLY, High Wire, Definitely Maybe @ X-Ray Arcade
Milwaukee alt/pop/rock band Gold Steps can’t stop, won’t stop. In the last year alone the group has released an EP on Revival Recordings, toured the U.S., played a ton of local shows (including a sweet Summerfest gig), racked up one million streams on Spotify, released an ear-worm single called “Undercover,” and released a pitch-perfect pop-punk cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” Oh, and just released a collaboration single with North Carolina band MKNLY called “The Terminal.” Both groups will be on hand for this can’t-miss release show.
Joseph Huber + Long Mama @ Third Space Brewing
Speaking of can’t-miss shows, this Joseph Huber and Long Mama show is, well, can’t-miss. The free gig will celebrate the release of the fifth issue of DAYBREAK Magazine, a “print publication celebrating creatives in the outdoors.”
Strangelander @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
“Strangelander returns to Linneman’s with Mitchell Shiner joining in on the fray on vibes and percussion. There is no opener. Strangelander hits at 8 p.m. and will be playing two different sets with a short intermission. We will be performing repertoire from our albums as well as works by Amanda Huff, Bjork, and more.”
Tesla (Milwaukee Admirals Postgame Concert) @ UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
Hell yeah. Tesla!
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27
The Championship + Christopher Porterfield @ The Cooperage
Following a reunion performance during a benefit concert for the great Lee Olson in November, The Championship is back at it again! Catch the seminal Milwaukee indie-folk outfit as it heads up this Cooperage concert that also features Christopher Porterfield.
Music Go Round x Volta Records Present: Tollbooth + Cult Of Lip, Bad Crime, Winona Driver @ Cactus Club
“Music Go Round and Volta Records have teamed up for a brand new all ages show series that focuses on showcasing newer and lesser known acts. With a secondary goal of bridging the gap and fostering relationships between Milwaukee and scenes in other midwestern cities, the third show in the series touts a geographically more eclectic lineup than the first two, with two acts from Milwaukee, one act from Madison and one act from Chicago.”
Shane Gillis @ Riverside Theater (7 p.m.); Miller High Life Theatre (9:30 p.m.)
“Shane Gillis is a stand-up comic, actor, and writer from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. After winning Philly’s Funniest at Helium Comedy Club in 2016 Shane was named an ‘Up-Next’ Comic at Comedy Central’s 2019 Clusterfest in San Francisco and a ‘New Face’ at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. Gillis is one-half of the comedy fan favorite Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast. He’s a regular guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, Spotify’s The Joe Rogan Experience, and Barstool Sports KFC Radio.”
3rd Annual Bluegrass Winter Heater @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
Though it’s happening in the dead of winter, the Bluegrass Winter Heater will make Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery warm and toasty with tunes from a phenomenal foursome of great bluegrass bands. The third annual affair will feature performances by The Spooklights (formerly MK Ultra), Dig Deep, Valley Fox, and a headlining set from The MilBillies from—you guessed it!—Milwaukee.
Ice Bear Fest @ Third Space Brewing
Third Space Brewing’s Ice Bear Fest returns! From noon to 5 p.m., the Menomonee Valley brewery will host “an epic ’80s Après ski party” in its beer garden to celebrate its tasty seasonal Baltic porter. In addition to the abundance of Ice Bear on hand, the winter affair will feature DJs and a live band playing ’80s jams, food trucks, shotskis, and various other Third Space brews.
Lynden Winter Carnival @ Lynden Sculpture Garden
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lynden Sculpture Garden will host a day of outdoor activities for the whole family. Lynden Winter Carnival will include “art-making, scavenger hunts, tree-walks, workshops, and whatever other winter activities—ice skating, painting the pond, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing—the weather permits.”
SUNDAY, JANUARY 28
NEMS x Mac Lethal: Don’t Ever Disrespect Me Tour + NilexNile @ The Cooperage
“The self-proclaimed Coney Island Mayor, Gorilla NEMS has become the blueprint to follow for indie rappers, be it his vicious pen game or business savvy. Both his music career and FYL brand have flourished over the years, undoubtedly due to his consistent work ethic and no-nonsense approach to business. Mac Lethal is a rapper signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment. This Kansas City, Kansas native and 2001 Scribble Jam finalist is best known for his battle rhymes. However, from philosophical pontifications to societal statements to X-Rated sex raps, Mac covers all of the bases on his professional debut, with help from super-producer Blockhead on two of the album’s thirteen tracks.”