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 30 – February 5, 2023.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Music Night: Caley Conway @ Crafty Cow Tosa
Caley Conway is difficult to pin down. Over the course of nine years the ever-busy Milwaukee singer-songwriter has explored the spaces between folk, jazz, rock, and post-rock. Conway’s latest EP is similarly difficult to pin down. The three-track Only A Dark Cocoon is inspired by the classic Joni Mitchell song “The Last Time I Saw Richard” (from 1971’s Blue), but it’s not a tribute album. All three songs borrow liberally from Mitchell’s lyrics, but it’s not a cover album. Think of it more like a reimagining or an expansion, with Mitchell’s gorgeously rendered song of romantic disillusionment and the hope that lies beyond it serving as a beam of light, and Conway’s voice and sensibility serving as a prism. The colors that emerge are fascinating.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2
Midweek Music: Derek Pritzl @ Crafty Cow MKE
Instead of making you wait until spring before our Midweek Music series continues, Crafty Cow is warming up your winter by bringing the free concert series back for seven more shows spread throughout the months of January, February, and March.
This time around, the concerts will take place at Crafty Cow’s location in Bay View. Another major change is the shows will now happen on Thursday nights instead of Wednesdays. Thursday also happens to be Crafty Cow’s Burger Night, with discounts offered on build-your-own cheeseburgers. As usual, pints of Indeed Brewing Company beer will be available for only $4 during all Midweek Music shows. The series continues tonight with terrific singer-songwriter Derek Pritzl.
Wes Fest: A Wes Anderson Themed Pop Up & Art Show @ The Sugar Maple (through February 5)
Less than four months removed from its Studio Ghibli “immersive experience,” The Sugar Maple is prepping another ambitious transformation. From February 2-5, the Bay View bar will host Wes Fest, a “Wes Anderson Themed Pop Up & Art Show” that will feature local art honoring the work of the iconic director. In addition to the artistic aspect, The Sugar Maple will change up its decor and update its cocktail list for the four-day affair. There will also be a costume contest, a vendor fair, Wes-related food options, and much more.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3
Anime Milwaukee @ Wisconsin Center & Hilton Milwaukee City Center Hotel (through February 5)
What started as a college anime club meeting has exploded into a massive three-day convention that brings thousands of folks to the Wisconsin Center and the downtown Hilton to celebrate “anime, manga, Asian culture, music, and gaming.” Expect “guests, cosplay, 24-hour gaming, concerts, dances, panels, shopping, maid cafe, and more.” Buckle up, 3rd St. Market Hall!
Dulcé Sloan at The Laughing Tap (7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. shows)
When you have a chance to see rising stand-up star and Daily Show correspondent Dulcé Sloan in an intimate Walker’s Point comedy club, you take it. On Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4, you’ll actually have FOUR opportunities to see Sloan at The Laughing Tap.
Lake Drive + Jacob Slade, Ugly Cousin @ Shank Hall
Up-and-coming Milwaukee four-piece Lake Drive has a little something for everyone: alt-rock, emo, indie, a name that references a local street. (We salute your memories, Kane Place Record Club and Menlo.) Tonight’s show comes a week before the release of Lake Drive’s debut EP, LAKE.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Mitten Fest @ Burnhearts
For a period of nine years, Burnhearts’ Mitten Fest has offered a one-day escape from the seasonal doldrums that plague Wisconsinites in wintertime. The February festival brings people together in a two-block stretch on Bay View’s Potter Avenue (and part of Logan in recent years) with a wintry mix of live music, food, beverages, and charity. The 10th annual Mitten Fest takes place this Saturday, with music from Convert, Genesis Renji, Credentials, The Steph Lippert Project, and DJ Christreater. Find out everything else you need to know HERE.
Mitten Fest After Party: Honey Creek + Barely Civil, Excuse Me Who Are You?, Brave You, The Unitaskers, DJ set by Tyler Maas @ Cactus Club
Oh, and after Mitten Fest is over, the music-focused fun will move over the official Mitten Fest After Party at Cactus Club. There’s a ton of great bands performing, and Milwaukee Record’s own Tyler Maas DJing between acts.
Lady Cannon + The Namby Pamby, Julia Blair @ The Tonic Tavern
If you’re in the market for some non-Mitten Fest entertainment, this free show featuring Milwaukee’s own Lady Cannon, Wisconsin’s own Julia Blair, and Indiana’s own The Namby Pamby is a can’t-miss. Lady Cannon’s Martha Cannon released the fantastic Fortune’s Darling back in 2019; Blair released the equally fantastic Better Out Than In in 2022.
Spafford @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Want to see Arizona jam band Spafford in the cozy confines of The Back Room @ Colectivo? Good luck! Tonight’s show is sold out.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5
Buffalo Nichols + Stephen Hull @ Cactus Club (early and late shows)
Since mid-2021, Buffalo Nichols—the solo project of Milwaukee native and current Austin resident Carl Nichols—has been busy. Nichols released his debut album on Fat Possum Records, toured avidly, played a number of massive music festivals, shared the stage with some massive acts, and even appeared on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Through it all, he’s made sure to return to Milwaukee to perform on a semi-regular basis. Tonight, Nichols will play two shows at Cactus Club; he’ll be back next week for a live performance on WMSE’s Local/Live.
MKE Chili Bowl @ Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
After a few years away, the mighty MKE Chili Bowl is back to tickle tongues, clear sinuses, and bring a wide variety of Milwaukee-area culinary professionals together to compete for The Golden Ladle. Head to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino to sample traditional, spicy, and vegetarian chili varieties.
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