Milwaukee 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—brought to you by Lilliput Records—for January 8-14, 2024.


Shepherd Express Best Of Milwaukee 2023 @ Italian Community Center
“Want to find out who is Milwaukee’s Best? Come be the first to see who wins the Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee Awards! Enjoy the red carpet night with music, food samples, and more at the 2023 Best of Milwaukee! We are pleased to invite Milwaukee to the Best of Milwaukee Awards! This event will kick off 2024 with a bang as Mayor Cavalier Johnson will kickstart the night, music from WMSE’s very own John Goelze, and food samples from some of Milwaukee’s best eats!”

Moosecreek Park + Excuse Me Who Are You, Bug Moment, Garden Home, Courtesy @ X-Ray Arcade


John Mulaney @ Miller High Life Theatre
Hey, Milwaukee, it’s time to laugh! Raise up your smiles, lower those masks! You know what I mean, we all quarantined! We all went to rehab and we all got divorced! And now our reputation is different! Yes, less than 18 months removed from taking the stage at Fiserv Forum as part of his “From Scratch” comeback tour, prolific comedian John Mulaney returns to downtown Milwaukee for his “In Concert” tour.

Marguerite: A Solo Show By Maggie Winters + Parker Callahan @ Cactus Club
“Maggie Winters is a Chicago-fried comedian turned internet personality best known under the moniker @saggiesplinters. With training through both Second City and iO Chicago, Maggie quickly transitioned her talents from the stage to online where she immediately amassed thousands of followers through her unique online characters. In the live space, Maggie is credited with performing with the likes of Colin Jost, Hannah Einbinder, Matt Rogers, and Paul F Tompkins. Additionally, Maggie was named as a Content Creator to Watch at the 2022 New York Comedy Festival.”

Frank Gappa (record relase) + R.J. Ziebarth @ Company Brewing
“I’m an indie rocker. I have a style that sets me apart from the legendary Frank Zappa. Though I do appreciate his music, our names are the only real similarity.” That’s a helpful media-kit hint from Frank Gappa, a Wisconsin-born, former-Brooklynite, now-living-in-Milwaukee musician whose debut solo LP, Let Me Show You My Jean Jacket, is set for release on January 11. Indeed, the nine-track record contains precious little experimental jazz-fusion freak-outs; instead it’s brimming with moody and controlled indie-rock perfect for wandering through half-deserted city streets at twilight. Sorry, no “Valley Girl” here.


Something To Do (record release) + Devon Kay & The Solutions, Jinksie, Bellends @ X-Ray Arcade
Though the cold and unforgiving Midwestern conditions typically signal a slowdown in touring talent making its way to Milwaukee in January, that sets the stage for loaded local shows to fill those booking gaps. One such instance of this is this straight-up stacked X-Ray Arcade show. Wisconsin ska stalwarts Something To Do will celebrate the release of their new album Here Comes The Panic. They’ll be joined by Chicago ska-punkers Devon Kay & The Solutions, and Milwaukee-based support from Jinksie and Bellends.

Goblin King Masquerade Ball @ Turner Hall (also January 13)
Awkward Nerd Events once again transforms Turner Hall Ballroom into a magical world of fantasy! There will be themed cocktails and mocktails, performances from The Goblin King Players, a custom curated drag show, and more during this two-night event.

Midwinter Gaming Convention @ Hilton Milwaukee City Center (through January 15)
Since its start over 20 years ago, the Midwinter Gaming Convention has been a source of non-digital gaming fun during the dead of winter. Get ready for four days of family events, board games, creator-run tabletop role playing games, live action role playing events, miniatures, and more.

The Nile Club + The Present Age, Smoke Free Home, Farewell Moonlight @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
Somewhere on Highway 33, between the bustling Wisconsin towns of Horicon and Beaver Dam, stands a 40-foot pyramid. Sometimes known as The Pyramid, sometimes known as The Nile Club, it was built in 1961 and has been closed since 2009. Taking its name from the loony landmark is Milwaukee band The Nile Club. Like its namesake, the group is delightfully bizarre and unlikely—heavy and sludgy one minute, jammy and melodic the next. Want menacing shout-alongs AND groovy math-rock workouts? How about horns, organs, sea-shanty psychedelia, AND heart-on-its-sleeve emo? You can find it all on The Nile Club’s excellent, eclectic, and never-dull 2023 record Wake Up With A Sense Of Pride.

Sushi Cowboy (record release) + Violet Wilder @ Company Brewing

Curbsitter + Bloodletter, Ruin Dweller, It Is Dead @ Last Rites

Michael McDermott Band @ Shank Hall

Glitzy + North Warren, Static Palms @ Bremen Cafe

Friday Night Retro Dance Party: DJ Don Black @ Mad Planet


Brewers Winter Warm-Up @ Miller High Life Theatre
“Brewers players, management and top prospects will be onsite for this January event, with the Saturday activities taking place in downtown Milwaukee at the Miller High Life Theatre. Saturday will feature autograph sessions (10-11 a.m.) and main stage entertainment in the theater (noon).”

Whaler + Bed Maker, Wrong War, Canadian Rifle @ Cactus Club
When he isn’t making excellent prints for his Bureau Of Print Research And Design business or helping to release music from a vast roster of Midwest bands as co-owner of Triple Eye Industries, Francisco Ramirez is recording experimental and ambient material under the Whaler moniker. After his band Volunteer called it quits in late 2017, Ramirez revived the artistic endeavor he calls a “fluid musical research project” and has put out a steady diet of instrumental songs in both physical and digital formats in subsequent years.

Nurse Julie + Apollo Vermouth, The Naima, Alternative Birthing Center @ Jazz Gallery Center For The Arts

Zang! (record release) + Fake Twin, Rare Visions Light Show @ Cactus Club

Secret Menu (single release) + Well & Good, The Citrosonics, Dak DuBois @ Company Brewing

MKE Music Night LXV: Hip-Hop And R&B Night @ The Cooperage

House Your Body @ Mad Planet


Milwaukee Record Halftime Series: TBA @ Cactus Club
Playoffs? Playoffs? Yes, the Green Bay Packers are in the playoffs! Join us at the Cactus Club this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. as we watch the Pack take on the Dallas Cowboys! Halftime entertainment is TBA (as is pizza from Transfer), though we’ll still have High Life and Miller Lite buckets for $10, mystery shots, and more! Playoffs!

Big Head Todd And The Monsters + Martin Zeller @ The Pabst Theater
“Big Head Todd And The Monsters have quietly become an American institution following three and a half decades of writing, recording, and touring. After countless sold out shows in amphitheaters and on the high seas, beaming their tunes to outer space (literally), earning the endorsement of everyone from Robert Plant to The Denver Broncos, and tallying tens of millions of streams, Big Head Todd And The Monsters cite the friendships formed in the crowd among their proudest accomplishments. Fast forward to 2021 and the Colorado quartet—Todd Park Mohr [vocals, guitar, keys, sax, harmonica], Brian Nevin [drums, percussion], Rob Squires [bass, vocals], and Jeremy Lawton [guitar, keys, vocals, steel guitar]—continue to unite audiences.”

G. Love & Special Sauce @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“Grab a cold beverage and celebrate the 30th anniversary of G. Love & Special Sauce. They’re bringing the party with a live show that’s suitably riotous and rousing, with infectious call-and-response hooks and funky sing-along choruses at every turn. ”

Rebirth Brass Band @ The Cooperage

Tonic Tavern Sunday Matinee: The Hungry Williams @ Tonic Tavern

A Concert for Canines: Mulva + Oh Well Ok, Local Legends, Venturer @ Cactus Club

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