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 June 26 – July 2, 2023.
MONDAY, JUNE 26
John Mellencamp @ The Riverside Theater (also June 27)
For many folks under the age of 50, John Mellencamp occupies a hazy “Is he any good these days?” territory. Sure, the former Cougar has a garage-full of hits at his disposal, but what is he up to in 2023? Is he merely a nostalgia act? Plugging a new album? Do his videos still conjure up images of tractors and sleeveless T-shirts? Does he still play that “sucking on chili dog” song? More importantly, can the man still rock? All reviews of Mellencamp’s current tour point to YES on that last bit; you can find out for yourself this week as he plays not one, but two shows (originally schedule for April) at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater.
TUESDAY, JUNE 27
Chill On The Hill: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra @ Humboldt Park
Chill On The Hill’s 18th season features 13 weeks of free, family-friendly entertainment. The concert series continues tonight with crowd-pleasing music from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Like the past two years, Chill has expanded its footprint by designating the space between the band chalet and the Vine Beer Garden for show-goers. The park road is also closed between Howell Avenue and Idaho Street on Tuesdays to allow more space for food vendors and guests. Music begins at 6:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28
Kat And The Hurricane Presents: A Queer Variety Show! – Kat And The Hurricane + Police Create Hippies, Risk E Bismuth, Jaclyn Jill, Illman K Trinidad @ Cactus Club
“Queer rock band Kat And The Hurricane brings their variety show back to Cactus Club just in time for Pride Month! ‘Kat and the Hurricane Presents’ started in 2021 and introduces audiences to a variety of queer art, including music, drag, burlesque, dance, comedy, and more! On June 28, the show returns for a second year at Cactus Club, hosted by Amethyst Von Trollenberg and featuring live music from Kat and the Hurricane! Plus: DJ Police Create Hippies; Drag show featuring Jaclyn Jill, IIman K. Trinidad, and Risk E. Bismuth; Queer Vendor Market.”
THURSDAY, JUNE 29
Summerfest Weekend 2 @ Henry Maier Festival Park (through July 1)
Well, here it is! Again! The second of three consecutive “weekend” editions of Summerfest 2023! In addition to picnic table dancing and enough Saz’s sampler platters to reach the moon and back, folks attending this second three-day chunk of The Big Gig can expect the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Cypress Hill, Debbie Gibson, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, ODESZA, Yung Gravy, and, of course, Spin Doctors. Find the full schedule HERE.
FRIDAY, JUNE 30
Glare + Alien Boy, Sleepersound @ X-Ray Arcade
“Dreams and Queer Feeling. A slogan, a mission statement; maybe a bit of ‘don’t say we didn’t warn you’—spray-painted in white on black canvas and hung behind the band during a memorable series of 2018 shows, those four words distill the thrill of an Alien Boy set with a directness that perfectly mirrors their fearlessly sentimental guitar music. Though Sonia Weber is often singing about the insecurities and confusion of love and heartbreak, Alien Boy songs overflow with the confidence of a band that knows exactly what they’re going for, and knows that they’re nailing it. That embrace of both the miniscule and the massive perhaps best describes the emotional resonance that lodges Alien Boy songs in your brain for weeks on end. In advance of the record, Sleeping Lessons, a glowing profile in local alt rag The Portland Mercury noted how ‘Alien Boy fosters a radical intimacy with their audience.’ No one who’s seen the band live could disagree, and a year and a half on from Sleeping Lessons, Alien Boy seem poised to stretch that intimacy to universal proportions.”
SATURDAY, JULY 1
Past Is Prologue + Ignescent, Backhand Blue, EchoPoint @ Anodyne Walker’s Point
“Past Is Prologue is a five piece Post-Hardcore band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin formed in 2020. Past Is Prologue seeks to fuse together different genres and eras for a unique but classic take on the style. Past is Prologue consists of guitarists Adam Michael & Riley Hinners, vocalist Ryan Mischler, drummer Blake Marrari, and bassist/vocalist Joey Sylvester.”
SUNDAY, JULY 2
Dillinger Four + Off With Their Heads, Big Laugh, Bad Crime @ X-Ray Arcade (sold out)
“Dillinger Four is an American punk rock band formed in 1994 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have released four full-length studio albums. Since 1996, the band’s lineup has been Patrick Costello on bass guitar and vocals, Erik Funk and Bill Morrisette on guitars and vocals, and Lane Pederson on drums.”
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers + Dusk @ Cactus Club
“North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Always passionate, at times profane, Sarah stalks/walks the line between vulnerable and menacing, their voice strong and uneasy, country classic but with contemporary, earthy tension. You can hear in their voice what they’ve seen; world weary, lessons learned—or not—but always defiant. They level-steady mean what they say. Writing with a blunt urgency—so refreshing these days it’s almost startling—Sarah’s lyrics are in turn smart, funny, mean, and above all, uncompromising. The Disarmers hit all the sweet spots from Nashville’s Lower Broad to Bakersfield and take Sarah’s unflinching tales out for some late-night kicks. At times, it’s as simple and muscular as Luther Perkins’ boom-chicka-boom, or as downtown as Johnny Thunders. The Disarmers keep in the pocket, tight and tough. The Disarmers line-up is currently Jack Foster on drums, Blake Tallent on guitar, Andrew Lambie on bass, and Nick Larimore on pedal steel.”
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