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 31 – August 6, 2023.
MONDAY, JULY 31
Pantera + Lamb Of God @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater
“Pantera, one of the most successful and influential bands in heavy metal history, have announced their long awaited return to the stage. One of the most anticipated tours of 2023, this celebration tour includes original members Philip Anselmo and Rex Brown joined by Zakk Wylde (guitar) and Charlie Benante (drums). In December 2022, they kicked off the highly anticipated return in Mexico City to incredible reviews.”
Scam Likely + Shoobie, OK Cool, The Dreaded Laramie @ Club Garibaldi
At the time of its release in 2022, the fantastic (and fantastically titled) “Jesus Christ Stop Yelling I’m Right Here” was the only song available from self-described gothic-punk four-piece Scam Likely; a year later, the song is just one highlight in an album stuffed with them. The 10-track Getting Worse opens with the occasionally jagged, occasionally soaring “Sushi At Gunpoint.” Singer Charlee Grider is terrific here, spitting out lines like “I changed everything you asked me to” and “Spare me that stupid fucking smile.” Even better is instant-classic single “Domestic Bliss.” Featuring a woozy goth-romantic vibe and a guitar line that channels New Order’s “Age Of Consent,” it’s the track that has us most excited for the future of the young Scam Likely—and the future of Milwaukee music in general.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 1
Paramore + Foals, The Linda Lindas @ Fiserv Forum
“When Paramore revealed they were recording together in January 2022 the response from music fans around the world was immediate and celebratory. In the time since the Grammy-winning, RIAA-certified multi-Platinum band released their last album, After Laughter—and Hayley Williams unveiled two lauded solo albums—Paramore have become more popular than ever. Over the last few years Paramore’s influence and popularity has snowballed, as the age of streaming organically propelled them into a position as one of the world’s biggest, most culturally compelling rock bands. For the band, who formed as teenagers in Tennessee, their 20-year trajectory has seen them grow from youthful outsiders to bone-fide pop culture icons, permeating the musical landscape by inspiring a new generation of musical talent. Their sixth album, This Is Why—released on Atlantic Records on February 10—is preceded by the title track, the most immediate radio hit of the band’s career to date.”
WMSE Local/Live: Diet Lite @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
Since releasing the delightful Seems To Be The Way It Tends To Go in 2021, Diet Lite has played more than 100 shows, gotten its gear stolen, made a video/short film about getting its gear stolen, and released two EPs. Those EPs—plus 10 more songs!—make up the group’s excellent 2023 record Into To Pudding. Breezy and jangly lead single “Debora” perfectly shows off Diet Lite’s newly fleshed-out sound, with Dylan-esque organ flourishes and mile-a-minute lyrical runs. “Tom Tom Club” is a beefy slab of punk rock, “Flying Cars & New Fronts” is a jittery jam filled with spacey interludes and herky-jerky riffs, and both “An Iron + The Sun” and “K.O.” wouldn’t feel out of place on an indie-leaning “drinkin’ with the boys” playlist. The head-bopping and surf-y “Madison City Parking Ticket Groove,” meanwhile, is an undeniable album highlight.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2
It’s Alive At The RiverWalk: Long Mama @ Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria
Chilling in the woods and living simply: that’s the back-to-basics sentiment behind the gentle and soothing “Corduroy Road,” the latest single from Milwaukee indie-folk/Americana group Long Mama.”Corduroy Road” finds singer-songwriter-guitarist Kat Wodtke reflecting on her time spent living in Alaska; at the age of 22, Wodtke took a job building scenery for the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre, and lived in a small trailer six miles from town. For this free summertime “busker” show, Wodtke will play on the RiverWalk behind Blue Bat beginning at 4 p.m. Tip your busker!
Sunny War + Marielle Allschwang, Pay Dirt @ Cactus Club
“Sunny War is more than just an artist; she is a force of nature that is tough to pin down. What exactly is her style? Blues or punk? Yes, she may be a Robert Johnson with a shot of Bad Brains, but even this description falls short. The only way to really know Sunny is to immerse oneself in the music. Easy enough, right?”
RuPaul’s Drag Race Live: Werq The World Tour 2023 @ The Riverside Theater
“Perception is not reality…Asia O’Hara, Daya Betty, Kandy Muse, Lady Camden, Naomi Smalls, Rosé, and Mistress Isabelle Brooks from Season 15 are unknowingly trapped in the Netwerq…Free your mind this summer at the world’s largest drag production. Uploaded by Voss Events in collaboration with World of Wonder and MTV. Line-up subject to change.”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 3
Wisconsin State Fair @ Wisconsin State Fair Park (through August 13)
One doesn’t hit up the Wisconsin State Fair to eat organic small plate cuisine and witness evocative performance art. People go to the fair to eat cream puffs and weird stuff on a stick, watch pig races and dog diving demos, compete in livestock competitions, and catch performances from acts like Shaggy, Salt-N-Pepa, Alabama, Lindsey Stirling, and, of course, REO Speedwagon. Oh, and don’t forget local troubadour Pat McCurdy, who’s about to walk away with our 2023 Wisconsin Fair Bracket. The State Fair is weird, it’s wonderful, and it’s back. WE CAN’T WAIT.
Third Space Presents: Genesis Renji @ Third Space Brewing
Last year, Third Space Brewing graciously added even more entertainment to Milwaukee’s well-stocked summer concert calendar by debuting its “Third Space Presents” music series on its gorgeous new outdoor deck stage. This year’s series has been bringing a wide range of outstanding Wisconsin acts to the brewery every Thursday night, and continues tonight with a set from the always-great Genesis Renji.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 4
The Nile Club + The Present Age, Mail, Oh Well OK @ 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.
Drake + 21 Savage @ Fiserv Forum (rescheduled from August 3)
“‘It’s All A Blur’ marks Drake’s return to touring since headlining Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour in 2018. The title, a celebration of the last decade, sums up Drake’s sentiment of the unprecedented run as he gets ready to hit the road. In the last five years, Drake has released four albums, including his most recent studio album, Her Loss, in collaboration with 21 Savage, which reached number one on the Billboard’s 200 chart and had all 16 songs debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 list.”
The Sonder Bombs + Girl K, Barely Civil @ Cactus Club
“Like moonlight bouncing through the leaves of an old oak, the newest piece in The Sonder Bombs ever transforming portfolio shimmers through the fog to reveal a new era for the band. In making peace with mortality, The Star reflects and embraces the power of losing control. Through navigating an industry built to suppress and exploit artists, songwriter/vocalist Willow Hawks croons the question, ‘will you see me for who I am? Not for what you bought.’ Mixed by Sarah Tudzin (of Illuminati Hotties) The Star highlights everything we already cherish about TSB while giving us so much more to obsess over. Self-funded & self-released, The Sonder Bombs are only interested in carving their own way through the woods, straight to center stage.”
SATURDAY, AUGUST 5
Soberfest @ Pere Marquette Park
The third annual Soberfest—brought to you by nonprofit sobriety organization The Phoenixa—returns to Pere Marquette Park with live music from Vincent Van Great, Bad Year, B.u., and Jorge Vallentine, as well as emceeing from local radio personality Promise. There will also be food and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase. Unlike many of its festival counterparts, Soberfest will feature guest speakers, including motivation speaker Ed Hennings, and a variety of recovery groups will be-site to distribute information and resources to those who are interested.
Wisconsin IPA Fest @ Third Space Brewing
“Join us for our 7th annual Wisconsin IPA Fest! This year’s fest on Saturday, August 5th will feature IPAs from 40+ breweries from around the state, hundreds of beers to sample, food trucks, a DJ, and a few fun surprises along the way.”
Honey Creek (EP release) + Glitch Gum, WHY NOT, Cyrus Chrome / Skymall @ Cactus Club
“Honey Creek is an Alt-Pop/Pop Punk band from Milwaukee, WI. They love Fall Out Boy, Kid Dynamite, and 100 Gecs and constantly argue about how to blend each of those influences into their songs. If you see them live make sure you have insurance. The band lives together in the same house and their kitchen sink doesn’t work. Honey Creek’s median age is currently 25.8 and they are interested in taking over the world.”
Josh Rank: The Present Is Past reading and signing @ Lion’s Tooth
“Mary Weber is losing her grasp on the difference between the past, present, and future. And after her husband suffers a heart attack, they need to figure out how to move forward. Something seems to be calling to her—but can they figure out what it is before it’s too late? Josh Rank graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before moving to various cities around the country only to return to his hometown. His fiction has appeared in The Emerson Review, The Feathertale Review, Hypertext Magazine, and elsewhere. He keeps himself busy putting together ugly woodworking projects, cooking for his wife, and wishing his dogs were better behaved.”
SUNDAY, AUGUST 6
The Grovelers + Palm Ghosts @ X-Ray Arcade
The Grovelers don’t mess with the formula. For the past decade, the Milwaukee group has delivered album after album of greasy, grimy rock ‘n’ roll, all shot through with dashes of rockabilly, garage, and punk. For the band’s 2015 debut, Derelicts And Screw-Ups, we wrote: “If you’re looking for subtlety in your music—poetic and tender lyrics, intricate and feather-light instrumentation—The Grovelers are not the band for you.” But The Grovelers remain a band for us, and their latest record, 2022’s Misplaced Cars And Blackouts (recorded in Silver City and mixed by Shane Olivo), may be their best yet.
RAY-borhood Barbecue Bash @ Ray’s Wine & Spirits
“This is our 5th year grilling out with Central Waters and we can’t wait to go bigger than ever before! Talking about Anniversaries, LET’S CELEBRATE 25 YEARS OF CENTRAL WATERS. Checkout an entire bar dedicated to serving the 25th Anniversary Series Beers. Throughout the grounds over 20 Central Waters Brewing Company Rotating Taps from both Central Waters’ Amherst and MKE Breweries. Debut of the first ever Central Waters’ Tiki Hut with Barrel-Aged Tiki themed beers and boozy slushie. Some of our favorite Food Trucks, including Flour Girl & Flame, Sweet Smoke BBQ, K&L’s BBQ & Trouble Maker’s Cocina! Kelly’s Greens CBD Bakery bringing her sweet treats. Highlands Honey selling Tosa made honey and live beehive exhibit. Get the family immortalized with a booty portrait by RAD Illustrates. Craft activities for the kids and yard games for all ages. Rush Mor Records DJs!”
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