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 July 3-9, 2023.


Milwaukee County Lakefront Fireworks @ Veterans Park
Do you like fireworks? Good, because Milwaukee County Parks will be putting on its annual fireworks show on Milwaukee’s lakefront at about 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a roped-off section of Veterans Park, though you should be able to see the things if you’re near the lake. No overnight camping, folks!

Wire & Nail + The Love-In, Maximiano @ Cactus Club


City Fireworks @ various locations
Do you like fireworks? Good, because the City of Milwaukee will be putting on a bunch of fireworks shows at various parks throughout the city. Click HERE for more info.


Pardoner + Diet Lite, Spoy @ X-Ray Arcade
“Pardoner is a force to be reckoned with; melding slacker rock attitude with pummeling hardcore for a visceral sound not unlike a trip to the dentist’s office and a novacaine high.”


Summerfest Weekend 3 @ Henry Maier Festival Park (through July 8)
This is it! The final “weekend” of Summerfest 2023! In addition to picnic table dancing and enough Saz’s sampler platters to reach the moon and back, folks attending this final three-day chunk of The Big Gig can expect the likes of Yung Gravy, Zach Bryan, Imagine Dragons, Dinosaur Jr., The War On Drugs, Jenny Lewis, Japanese Breakfast, Built To Spill, Collective Soul, Soul Asylum, The Mountain Goats, Fleet Foxes, Smokey Robinson, and more. Find the full schedule HERE.

Sparks @ Pabst Theater
Legendary pop-rock duo Sparks are playing Milwaukee! The Sparks brothers (Ron and Russell Mael) were subjects of a recent all-star documentary by Edgar Wright, and the group has been delighting and confounding fans since the early 1970s. A new album, The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte, came out May 26 on Island Records. This show is part of a world tour that kicked off May 23 in the UK, and will wrap up July 25 in Japan. Milwaukee Record contributor and local Sparks expert Rick Katschke says this will be Sparks’ first Milwaukee show in 40 years, and we believe him.

Third Space Presents: Wire & Nail @ Third Space Brewing

Jazz In The Park: CNJ Latin Jazz @ Cathedral Square Park

Charmer + Equipment, Snow Ellet, Barely Civil, Buena Cara @ X-Ray Arcade


Lou Barlow @ URSA
Tonight, Lou Barlow, the legendary musician whom you surely know from his work in Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, will treat URSA to an intimate performance. This will actually be the second time Barlow will play the store, as he treated a small crowd at the Bay View home goods store to a memorable performance back in 2018. It’s also worth mentioning Barlow will be performing with Dinosaur Jr. at Summerfest the night before this solo set.

Body Farm + Snuffed, Curbsitter, Severed @ Promises

Near Miss: Rob Magill, Bill Harris, Gerrit Hatcher @ The Sugar Maple


Bristol Renaissance Faire @ off I-94 at the IL/WI border (weekends, through September 4)
The Bristol Renaissance Faire is located in the village of Bristol in Kenosha County, just shy of the Wisconsin-Illinois border. It was founded in 1973 by Richard and Bonnie Shapiro, and was then known as “King Richard’s Faire.” It moved to its current site in 1976. These days, it’s known as the “Bristol Renaissance Faire,” and it seeks to recreate a summer day in 1574 when Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to the port city of Bristol, England. There’s jousting and fire juggling. There’s a “mud show” and a “vegetable justice” guy you can pelt with tomatoes as he insults you. There’s outdoor mass. There’s axe throwing and a rope ladder game that’s absolutely impossible. There’s a rat and cat show! There’s beer! There are turkey legs and costumes and cosplay and music and rides and, yes, bosoms. And it’s all back, on Saturdays and Sunday and Labor Day, through September 4! Huzzah!

Keep For Cheap + Biitchseat, Rainbow Cobra, Handmade Wolves @ Cactus Club


Pool Kids + Sydney Sprague, Chase Petra @ X-Ray Arcade
Mere days removed from the surprise release of their new split with POOL, Florida pop-punks Pool Kids will come to X-Ray Arcade for show that should serve as a nice comedown the night after Summerfest ends.

LustSickPuppy + JOHNNASCUS, Flowers* @ Cactus Club

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