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 January 13-19.
MONDAY, JANUARY 13
Argopelter @ Boone & Crockett
With Barry Clark on upright bass, Devin Drobka on drums, and Christopher Porterfield on guitar and vocals, the improvisational Argopelter travels to a myriad of places. It culls from Porterfield’s folk and Americana roots, Clark’s electronic background and symphony experience, and Drobka’s extensive jazz and experimental acumen. “The basis of improvisation is communication, and every time we play together as Argopelter, we learn more about how to communicate with one another,” Clark says. “There’s no ego and everybody is just listening to each other. It’s really malleable in the sense that if it goes one direction, everybody is going there.”
TUESDAY, JANUARY 14
Neil Davis And Steve Peplin Duo @ The Jazz Estate
It’s the middle of winter. It’s cold. It’s miserable. It’s Tuesday. Why not spend the night in the cozy confines of The Jazz Estate and enjoy the musical stylings of longtime collaborators Neil Davis and Steve Peplin? The venue is gorgeous, the players are top-notch, and the show is free.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15
Paisley Fields + Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Nickel&Rose @ Cactus Club
Heads up, Milwaukee, Nickel&Rose have something to say: “This Wednesday at Cactus Club is going to be our last show in MKE for a long long while, so let’s make it a good one! We will be joining dear friends Paisley Fields (NYC) and The Sapsuckers (Soldiers Grove, WI) for this guaranteed night of AMAZING music! You may remember them from the Lavender Country show we played at cactus last summer. We are so fortunate to be from this city and to have been so supported over the last four years, Thank you and Love you MKE!”
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16
Milwaukee Record Presents: Doughboys Podcast @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Tonight’s Doughboys Podcast show has been an event shrouded in mystery. When the popular chain restaurant podcast’s first Wisconsin show—which was originally slated to happen last October at The Back Room @ Colectivo—sold out in less than an hour, people were left to wonder if it would be bumped up to Turner Hall Ballroom to accommodate the demand. Shortly after it was eventually promoted to the far more spacious ballroom, co-host Mike “The Spoonman” Mitchell was cast in a movie alongside Chris Pratt—leading to speculation the Milwaukee show would be canceled. It was for a brief time…until it was thankfully rescheduled for its current January 16 date, where—weather permitting—it will remain.
Lakefront Brewery Extravabandza @ Cactus Club
On top of being one of Milwaukee’s first and finest craft breweries, Lakefront Brewery also holds the distinction of employing a ton of local musicians. The brewery’s strong musical connection will be celebrated in January during a multi-act extravaganza (or “Extravabandza”). Join Lakefront at Cactus Club to see a potent seven-pack of brewery-affiliated outfits, including: Audible Kink, Gold Steps (acoustic set), Deep Femme, Pete Freeman And The Fritos, Resurrectionists, Mortgage Freeman, Garden Home, Holy Shit!, and Fuzz Summit. As if seeing the bands you love with members who have a hand in making and distributing the beer you love isn’t already sweet enough, your entire $5 cover will be donated to Sojourner Family Peace Center.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17
Black Pumas + Seratones @ Pabst Theater
Black Pumas have been described as “Wu-Tang Clan meets James Brown.” If that doesn’t get you out to this Friday night show, we don’t know what will.
CRLSS (acoustic) + Deep Femme, Cabin Essence @ Circle-A Cafe
Ryan King has been relatively outspoken about his personal struggles with addiction; his latest album as CRLSS, Heroine Swoon, continues along the lines of 2018’s Heartstrings, exploring similar dark, glitchy electronic territory steeped in themes of recovery. His heavily treated vocals occasionally crack through with snatches of discernible words; “Mimpathy” showcases how effective a singer he can be when he wants to, evoking a somewhat more morose Liars vibe. There are shades of shoegaze, industrial, and even melodic pop on the album, although it never breaks through the haze into anything resembling joy. King has spoken of his music as necessary self-help; therein lies the positivity.
Chastity Washington @ The Laughing Tap
Chastity Washington has earned her fair share of attention and accolades from some pretty impressive places. The 25-year stand-up comedy veteran earns a living touring the country, and she’s appeared on HBO Def Jam, BET’s Comic View, and was a finalist for the “Stand Up NBC” comedy diversity showcase. In 2015, Washington earned another credit to her undeniable comedy career, as she beat out three other finalists to win the 2015 American Black Film Festival’s Comedy Wings Competition.
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, he’s achieved worldwide acclaim, and he’s toured the planet a few times over. In January, the local success story will return to his native Milwaukee for a night to perform favorites from his sprawling catalog.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 18
The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening With Cary Elwes @ The Riverside Theater
The Princess Bride is one of those movies that isn’t just beloved by countless fans, it’s internalized. The absurdist quotes (“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,”) the plethora of left-field 1987-era cameos, the absurdist quotes (“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,”) and the absurdist quotes (“STOP SAYING THAT!”) have all become a shared pop-culture touchstone and shorthand for an entire generation. Plus, Andre the Giant is in it.
Lion’s Tooth January Pop-up Extravaganza @ Sugar Maple
Milwaukee has a long and storied history with alternative comic books. But even in a city blessed with numerous comic book shops and independent bookstores, there’s no place that deals exclusively in alternative comics and graphic novels. Happily, that’s changing. Enter Lion’s Tooth, a new subscription service available right this very second, and a brick-and-mortar store debuting soon. The brainchild of Shelly McClone-Carriere and Cris Siqueira, Lion’s Tooth aims to spread the good word of alt-comics and graphic novels (think artists like Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, and Robert Crumb) to adults and young adults alike.
Brat Sounds + Man Random @ Circle-A Cafe
“I don’t want to see 30 / I don’t want to get married / I just want to stay hungry / I just want to stay bold.” That’s Brat Sounds singer Scott Cary in the opening seconds of “See Thirty,” a standout track from the new Bad Luck. But lest you think Cary is full of nothing but youthful bravado, he immediately pivots to this: “When I think of the time spent / Getting drunk in the basement / You could be the replacement / For the years I’ve been wasting.” That snarky-but-sentimental streak is par for the course on Bad Luck, Brat Sounds’ first full-length record in four years. Opener “Systematically Broken” is a frantic and fuzzed-out rocker that lives up to its title; “Motortrend” changes gears and delivers a gorgeous meditation on “the precious little time that we have”; and “Soil” equates settling down with dying and returning to the earth. (But in a good way!) Elsewhere, Carey and company channel their former Dinny Bulca quirks on hilarious songs like “Mona Lisa Frank” and closer “Algae.” There’s even time for a rowdy run-through of “Sloop John B.”
SUNDAY, JANUARY 19
Milwaukee Record Halftime Show: Nasty Boys
Now that we know the Packers will be playing the 49ers for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIV, we can also officially announce the next Milwaukee Record Halftime Show performer. On Sunday, January 19, none other than Nasty Boys MKE will take the stage at Cactus Club for a short and scantily-clad set between the second and third quarter of that evening’s Packers playoff game. The game starts at 5:40 p.m. As always, the (21+) show is free to attend. Also as usual, bottles of High Life will be on special for just $2.50 (or $10 for a bucket of five bottles).