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 5-11, 2023.
MONDAY, JUNE 5
Jess Williamson + Ladybird @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Endless prairies and ocean waves; long drives and highway expanse; dancing, smoke, sex, and physical desire—the core images of Jess Williamson’s new album Time Ain’t Accidental revel in the earthly and the carnal. A daringly personal but inevitable evolution for the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Time Ain’t Accidental is evocative of iconic Western landscapes, tear-in-beer anthems, and a wholly modern take on country music that is completely her own. Above everything, sonically and thematically, this album is about Williamson’s voice, crystalline and acrobatic in its range, standing front and center.”
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers + Dex Romweber, Viva Le Vox @ Shank Hall
“After twenty-five years into their worldwide crusade, it’s clear those Legendary Shack Shakers have become the leaders in the underground music scene’s “Southern Gothic” sound. Led by their charismatic front man, Col. JD Wilkes, the band continues to wow crowds with their explosive interpretations of swamp blues, rock n’ roll and hillbilly music, making fans, critics, and now, an entire new generation into true believers. Despite Wilkes’ extracurricular writing and solo projects, the Shakers’ reputation for intense entertainment endures.”
TUESDAY, JUNE 6
Shea Day: Field Report + Dramatic Lovers, Long Mama, DJ Caleb Westphal @ Cactus Club
Tonight, an amazing lineup of local musicians will take the stage at Cactus Club to show their appreciation for Milwaukee music super-supporter Shea Frevele (and also celebrate her birthday) during a “Shea Day” concert. This display of Shea-centric gratitude will be headlined by Field Report, who will treat Milwaukee to a rare full-band performance in a club setting. In addition to Field Report’s presence, Dramatic Lovers will play one of its final concerts of 2023, and Long Mama will open things up with a trio set featuring its founding members. DJ Caleb Westphal will also spin 45s before the show, after the show, and between bands.
Chill On The Hill: Collections Of Colonies Of Bees + Shamewave
Chill On The Hill’s 18th season will feature 13 weeks of free, family-friendly entertainment. The concert series kicks off tonight with a headlining set by the might Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, and will run through August 29. Like the past two years, Chill will expand its footprint by designating the space between the band chalet and the Vine Beer Garden for show-goers. The park road will also be 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.
Death Cab For Cutie + Lomelda @ Riverside Theater
“Death Cab for Cutie is an American alternative rock band formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band is composed of Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer, Jason McGerr, Dave Depper, and Zac Rae. Death Cab for Cutie rose from being a side project to becoming one of the most exciting groups to emerge from the indie rock scene of the ’00s. They have been nominated for eight Grammy Awards. The band’s tenth studio album Asphalt Meadows out now.”
WMSE’s Local/Live: Piles @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
“Join Sid and Milwaukee Record’s Matt Wild for another amazing edition of Local/Live from Anodyne on Bruce with Piles! The post-punk band has marked its return by releasing 5:53, an album that’s more than six years in the making. This live show is free and all-ages. If you can’t make it in-person you can stream it from wmse.org, YouTube and Facebook.”
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7
Barenaked Ladies + Semisonic, Del Amitri @ BMO Pavilion
“Barenaked Ladies launched their Last Summer on Earth tours in 2012, the year the ancient Mayan calendar had predicted Earth would cease to be. Naturally, BNL seized the opportunity to have a little fun with the idea, and they wound up having so much fun that they’ve repeated the tour seven of the last 12 summers. And now, in the summer of 2023, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees, the band who taught us the value of a million dollars, who explained The Big Bang in under two minutes, and who made us say “underwear”, will bring their show full of hits and fan favorites to American audiences.”
The Bad Plus @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Now in their 21st year, The Bad Plus continues to push boundaries as the members embark on a new piano-less incarnation of the band—instigating a new wave of excitement and anticipation within the band that is re-energizing their sound and inspiration. The Bad Plus have constantly searched to bridge genres and techniques while exploring the infinite possibilities of exceptional musicians working in perfect sync.”
THURSDAY, JUNE 8
Jerome’s Dream + Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Snag, Virgin Mother, Senesce @ X-Ray Arcade
“Jeromes Dream is a hardcore band based in San Francisco, sharing a history with bands like Orchid, Saetia, Reversal of Man, and pageninetynine. After existing between 1997 and 2001, then reforming in 2018, JD will release their third full-length, The Gray In Between, in 2023. The album introduces Sean Leary (Loma Prieta) on guitar and was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Quicksand, Joyce Manor).”
FRIDAY, JUNE 9
Polish Fest @ Henry Maier Festival Park (through June 11)
Milwaukee has the fourth-largest Polish population in the U.S., so it’s no surprise that the annual Polish Fest bills itself as America’s largest. Traditional Polish cuisine and culture are on the menu for the 2023 edition, along with polka, perogies, more polka, somehow more polka, NEWSKI, and beer. Oh, and the “Big Boomski” fireworks display Saturday night.
Immortal Girlfriend + Lila Realm, MATTHÚ @ Cactus Club
Immortal Girlfriend doesn’t play out too much these days, so when you have a chance to see the outstanding Milwaukee sibling synth duo perform, you shouldn’t miss it. Add in Lila Realm (a side project of Amanda Huff) and MATTHÚ (a side project of Immortal Girlfriend’s Kevin Bush), and this Friday-night Cactus Club bill is a certified can’t-miss affair.
HOSTS (record release) + Driveway Thriftdwellers, Derek Pritzl @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
“HOSTS is an Indie-Americana band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their upcoming 4th full length album, Wade Low (June 2023) was recorded and produced by Andrew Long (Judah & The Lion, Houndmouth) and mastered by Edsel Holden (Hovvdy, Katy Kirby). Having originally formed in Nashville in 2014, HOSTS has re-emerged in Milwaukee with founding member Miles Patzer, guitarist Tyson Allison, bassist Brian Tapola, & drummer Aaron Reinke. Their music pairs well with too much whiskey.”
Bobcat Goldthwait @ The Laughing Tap (also June 10)
Bobcat Goldthwait is back at The Laughing Tap! This weekend, the legendary comedian, actor, director, and documentarian returns to the cozy Walker’s Point comedy club for two nights of stand-up. If you want to see Bobcat perform in an intimate Milwaukee venue, we highly recommend you act soon, because tickets to these three shows are moving fast.
SATURDAY, JUNE 10
Escape From Wiscansin Fest: T-Pain + Chance The Rapper, Chlöe, Afroman, and more @ The Rave/Eagles Club
After headlining the inaugural Wiscansin Fest at The Rave last June, T-Pain is returning to the same Milwaukee venue almost exactly a year later for another one-day spectacle. Yes, on Saturday, June 10, “Escape From Wiscansin Fest” will find world-renowned singer, rapper, and producer taking the The Rave/Eagles Club stage again. This time around, he’ll be joined by Chance The Rapper, Chlöe, Afroman, DJ Paul (of Three 6 Mafia fame) and a wealth of other rappers and DJs.
Chicken Shack Rye Release & Bluegrass Bonanza @ Great Lakes Distillery
Great Lakes Distillery and WMSE are joining forces for the second consecutive year to release Chicken Shack Rye. This bottle release event will double as a full-fledged Bluegrass Bonanza, as Horseshoes & Hand Grenades and Chicken Wire Empire will perform in the distillery’s parking lot. There will also be food, Central Waters beer, and a wide range of craft cocktails on hand during this outdoor affair.
Tim Dillon @ The Pabst Theater
“Tim Dillon is a Stand up comedian, writer, and actor. He was a new face at the Montreal Comedy Festival in 2016. He won the title of New York’s Funniest 2016 at Carolines NY Comedy Festival. In 2017, he was named of the top ten comics you need to know by Rolling Stone magazine. He had two specials premiere in 2018, a Comedy Central Half Hour and a Netflix Quarter hour. He created and hosts Tim Dillon’s Real NY Tour which takes the audience on a double decker bus through Manhattan. He has performed at the Oddball Comedy Festival, the Glasgow Comedy Festival, SXSW, among others. He has been on the Christ Gethard show on Fusion, Gotham Comedy Live on AXS tv, Fox’s Red Eye, Tru Tv’s Comedy Knockout, and season two of WYFD with Big Jay Oakerson on Seeso. He hosts a Podcast called The Tim Dillon Show.”
The Get Down @ Mad Planet
“After 14 years of bringing the heaviest Funk and Soul dance music to MKE, The Get Down will be hosting its last event at Mad Planet. Stay tuned for our future plans which include four rooftop parties at Central Standards Distillery across the summer. We look forward to seeing you for one last hurrah on Saturday June 10th. Thanks for supporting us!”
Alkaline Quartet + Mari Mari, DJ Tyler Maas @ X-Ray Arcade
“Alkaline Quartet is an Alkaline Trio tribute band (with a focus on early material), except there are four members instead of three.”
SUNDAY, JUNE 11
Locust Street Festival of Music and Art @ Locust Street
“The long-running Locust Street Festival of Music and Art has been (officially) absent from Milwaukee’s summer festival calendar since 2019. The 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 edition was canceled a month before showtime, though a number of alternate fests ensured that the neighborhood was still alive with food, music, and fun. Happily, Locust Street Festival make its official return to Riverwest today! Live music, oodles of vendors, and, yes, the 1.6-mile Beer Run will all be featured in the 44th installment, which will run from noon to 8 p.m. (The Beer Run kicks off at 11:30 a.m.) Want to know who’s playing? Of course you. Here’s the musical lineup!
Brewtown Rumble @ Boone & Crockett
“On Sunday June 11, 2023 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. we will all gather to celebrate vintage motorcycles and support the BUILD Moto Mentor Program. The Rumble has raised over $50,000 for BUILD. The 7th annual Brewtown Rumble will be hosted by Boone & Crockett. The Brewtown Rumble is a ride-in vintage motorcycle show. It doesn’t matter the make, model or condition of the bike. It just matters that you ride it! Everyone is welcome—riders and motorcycle enthusiasts alike.”
Piles (record release) + FakeTwin, Red Stuff, HazeFader @ Cactus Club
Piles’ comeback album, 5:53, finds the Milwaukee dream-punk band building on the distinct sound of predecessors Planet Skin (2015) and Expeller (2017). Between two ambitious, double-stuffed bookends and the five other offerings, 5:53 showcases Piles’ musical growth, its artistic evolution, and an interesting perspective shift. “Ice Age” and “Be The Way” manage to exude warmth and optimism through catchy melodies and upbeat lyrics that soar above driving and raw instrumentation. “Paris” and “In The Morning” are straightforward material that’s among the most relaxed songs in the band’s catalog to this point. “Soltero” breaks the mid-album trance with jagged guitars, shouted lyrics, and a hastened tempo that nods confidently to Piles of yore.
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