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 6-12.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 7
WMSE Local/Live: Rexxx @ Club Garibaldi
What do you get when you mix members of some of the best bands in town (Sex Scenes, Surgeons In Heat, Saebra & Carlyle, more) with righteous riffs and glammed-up party vibes? The exxxcelent Rexxx, a group that somehow, incredibly, does not feature any members of fellow partiers Platinum Boys. The band has one recorded song to its name (the awesome “Lost Cause”), but expect to hear more from upcoming album Pure Pleasure II during this free, live WMSE broadcast.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8
Yacht + Juiceboxxx, Lauryl Sulfate @ X-Ray Arcade
Grammy-nominated dance pop project Yacht heads up a must-attend hump day show at X-Ray Arcade. Before Yacht performs, Milwaukee ex-pat Juiceboxxx will play a homecoming show, preceded by the great Lauryl Sulfate of Lauryl Sulfate And Her Ladies Of Leisure fame. Be prepared to dance, sweat, dance some more, sweat some more, etc.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 9
Amanda Huff + Yum Yum Cult @ Pabst Milwaukee Brewery & Taproom
On 2018’s Hemiptera, Amanda Huff wastes no time making her presence known by showing her amazing vocal range amid flamenco guitars in opening track “Neighboring Moons.” That’s followed by “Caroline’s,” which is a lounge-y, jazz-infused jaunt that employs a horn section to accompany Huff’s captivating voice. “Cherry Limeade” is a cool and refreshing splash of summer, highlighted by Strehlow’s bustling, beaming production touches. The pair also collaborates on an innovative electronic take on Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” near the end of the eight-song album, before SistaStrings joins in on “Slow Water.”
Colin Mochrie’s HYPROV @ Marcus Center For The Performing Arts
HYPROV combines the divergent—but equally entertaining—skillsets of improvisor Colin Mochrie (of Who’s Line Is It Anyway? fame) and hypnotist Asad Mecci to forge an incomparable and undeniably entertaining comedy experience. Volunteers from the audience are put under and asked to “yes, and” with Mochrie, which guarantees no two shows will be the same and offers what’s sure to be a great time. HYPROV will come to Uihlein Hall at Marcus Center For The Performing Arts on January 9.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 10
Dramatic Lovers + Extra Arms, Certain Stars, Soup Moat @ X-Ray Arcade
After bursting onto the scene in 2017, Dramatic Lovers—the Milwaukee supergroup consisting of current or former members of Decibully, The Promise Ring, Temper Temper, and Maritime—spent much of 2018 in the studio, writing new material for their debut full-length. With singer William Seidel’s unmistakable voice at the helm, that self-recorded effort, You Talk Loud, repeatedly shifts shape. Over the course of its approximately 35-minute runtime, it alternates between upbeat and self-assured efforts like “The Comedown” and “Hard To Hear,” and darkened, dour offerings like “Broken Nose” or destructive ’80s throwback “Danger To Myself.” By record’s end, it’s clear that Dramatic Lovers aren’t just established players killing time together. Instead, they’ve plied their decades of on-stage experience in some of the city’s best-known bands and forged something new, unfamiliar, and impressive.
The Laughing Tap Opening Weekend with Sam Tallent + AJ Grill, Dana Ehrmann @ The Laughing Tap
Last month, The Laughing Tap—a brand new Walker’s Point comedy club opened by the fine folks behind Milwaukee Comedy and the Milwaukee Comedy festival—hosted a pair of soft opening shows. On January 10, the city’s only comedy club will officially open its doors for a pair of performances. Denver-based comic Sam Tallent gets the honor of headlining the first official shows and, before the up-and-coming humorist takes the stage, local stand-up mainstays AJ Grill and Dana Ehrmann will take the stage.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 11
Abby Jeanne + Retoro @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Was there a late-2018/early-2019 record more long-awaited than Abby Jeanne’s Music Box Dancer? No, no there was not. Tracks like the scorching “Cosmic Beings” and the jazzy “Be In The Sun” had seemingly been kicking around forever before being collected on this nine-song album. (“Cosmic Beings” was featured in the Milwaukee Film Festival sponsor trailer—in 2017.) Happily, songs this timeless don’t have expiration dates. Ditto for the rest of the album: The title track is a dreamy take on ’50s soda-shop pop, “Pleasures Pain” is a chugging rocker, and “Die Easy” is a heartbreakingly dreamy take on a 2016 Devil Met Contention song. The fact that Jeanne has already moved on to a more new wave sound with recent single “Get You High” only proves that we haven’t heard the last from this restless and formidable talent.
Vinz Clortho + Devils Teeth, Kendra Amalie @ Company Brewing
On paper, Milwaukee super-group Vinz Clortho sounds like a goof. Here are a bunch of musicians from bands like Calliope, Mortgage Freeman, Castle Thunder, and Mouse Corn playing in a group named after the Keymaster of Gozer (a.k.a. Volguus Zildrohoar, Lord of the Seboullia). Time to break out the proton packs! But no, Vinz Clortho is not a goof. Instead, it’s a moody, sax-drenched roadhouse band more inspired by Chris Isaak and Twin Peaks than by Dr. Peter Venkman and Ghostbusters.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12
Milwaukee Record Halftime Show: Shle Berry @ Cactus Club
Just because the regular season is over doesn’t mean we’re about to stop Milwaukee Record Halftime Shows. As long as the Packers are playing, the series will continue. Now that we know when the Packers will be playing, we can also officially announce the next Milwaukee Record Halftime Show performer. On Sunday, January 12, the incomparable Shle Berry will take the stage at Cactus Club for a short 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). Go Pack Go!
Cloud Nothings + Flat Teeth @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
In early 2017, the prolific Cleveland post-punkers in Cloud Nothings released Life Without Sound, and performed cuts from that unflappable mini-masterpiece at Turner Hall. Two years and one album later, they return to Milwaukee to preside over an intimate evening of music at The Back Room @ Colectivo. Milwaukee’s own Flat Teeth will open.