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 for May 15-21, 2023.
MONDAY, MAY 15
Honey Creek + Troubled Minds, Kerosene Heights, FARSEEK, Tiny Voices, Excuse Me, Who Are You?, Clementine @ 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.”
TUESDAY, MAY 16
Lizzo + Latto @ Fiserv Forum
Let’s get right to it: Lizzo is playing Fiserv Forum tonight as part of the second North American leg of her “Special 2our”! The worldwide sensation is no stranger to Milwaukee, having last played here during Summerfest 2019. (Yes, there were issues.) It goes without saying that Lizzo has come a long way since opening for Sleater-Kinney at The Riverside in 2015—hell, she was even in the latest season of The Mandalorian! And if you’re somehow on the fence about attending this, an opening set from Latto should be enough to change your status from “Interested” to “Going.”
Mr. Nice Guy Presents Vol. 14: Midnight Hound + Cream City Players, Wolves With Virginia, The Rogue Electrics @ Cactus Club
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17
Me Nd Adam + The Whips, West Nile Crows @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Me Nd Adam is the depraved result of a relationship between a self-loathing egotist and a boisterous, red-headed emotional wreck. After meeting in New Orleans and hating each other, Adam & Vince parted ways. Unfortunately, there can be no despair without hope, no discord without union, no darkness without light. Thus, Adam & Vince came to realize they had no choice but to embrace their differences and craft the emotionally turbulent electro-americana duo Me Nd Adam. Now living the dream in a small apartment in their original hometown of Austin, they’re sharing their hope-tinged despair with the world.”
Milwaukee Record Presents: Sin City (2005) @ Times Cinema (also May 18)
Yeah, baby! Our “April Powers” film series comes to a close with two screenings of the original Sin City! Was is/was “April Powers”? A monthlong series featuring all three movies in the Austin Powers franchise, plus two titles featuring dearly departed character actor Powers Boothe, of course!
THURSDAY, MAY 18
Pete Holmes @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Pete Holmes has enjoyed quite the career. He’s starred in a loosely biographical HBO series called Crashing and a CBS sitcom called That’s How We Roll, hosted a late night TBS talk show bearing his name, voiced “The E*Trade Baby,” recorded hundreds of episodes of his popular You Made It Weird podcast, wrote a book Comedy Sex God, and guest wrote some episodes of The Simpsons. However, Holmes is a standup comedian first and foremost. Following many years away, the multi-talented comic—who started out in Chicago and was no stranger to Milwaukee mics—returns to the Midwest to treat Turner Hall to a night of laughs.
Narrow Head + Graham Hunt, DJ Cold Lunch @ Cactus Club
State Of Sound: Fellow Kinsman @ Radio Milwaukee
David Wax Museum + Jacob Slade @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
See You Next Tuesday + Meth, It Is Dead, Die, Triangulations @ X-Ray Arcade
Big Beat MKE 2023 @ Jackalope Lounj
FRIDAY, MAY 19
WMSE’s Friday Night Freak Show: The Fifth Element @ Times Cinema
Has there ever been a cinematic vision of the future as delightfully weird and strangely stylish as The Fifth Element? Probably not! One part DayGlo Blade Runner and two parts Jean-Paul Gaultier fever dream, the 1997 film is overflowing with ideas, images, and the color orange. The Fifth Element tells the timeless 23rd century story of a giant fireball headed straight toward Earth, and the grizzled military-major-turned-taxicab-driver (Bruce Willis) and bandage-clad humanoid/super-weapon named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) who try to stop it. As Joe Bob Briggs would say, sure we’ve seen it before, but have we seen it with a scenery-chewing Gary Oldman as the bad guy, a scenery-chewing Chris Tucker as a talk show host named Ruby Rhod, and on-again-off-again wrestler Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. as the President?
Laurie Kilmartin @ The Laughing Tap (also May 20)
Back in October, accomplished comedian, longtime Conan staff writer, and best-selling author Laurie Kilmartin headlined Milwaukee Comedy Festival’s 2022 finale, which took place at Shank Hall. This time around, the veteran comic sets up shop at The Laughing Tap for a total of four shows spread over two nights.
Beatallica + Avenues, Tigera @ Club Garibaldi
The Keystones + Bad Year, Doubter, Tiqmmy @ Shank Hall
Hozier @ The Rave / Eagles Club
KASE + Tiffany Miller (vinyl release) @ Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel
Graysea (EP release) + Reality Check, Excuse Me Who Are You?, Garden Home, Surefire @ X-Ray Arcade
Them Coulee Boys + Hurd & Galante @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
SATURDAY, MAY 20
Diet Lite + Scam Likely, North Warren @ Shank Hall
Everyone always says they’re busy, but Milwaukee garage-rock outfit Diet Lite has been really busy. Since releasing the delightful Seems To Be The Way It Tends To Go in 2021, the group has played more than 100 shows, gotten its gear stolen, made a video/short film about getting its gear stolen (“This God Damn City”), and released two EPs. Those EPs—plus 10 more songs!—make up Diet Lite’s latest record, Into The Pudding.
10 Year Anniversary Block Party @ Enlightened Brewing Company
From noon until 10 p.m., Enlightened’s 10 Year Anniversary Block Party will take over the brewery’s spacious taproom (2020 S. Allis St.), as well as a portion of South Allis Street. Enlightened will mark a decade in business with a live broadcast by WMSE’s The Boogie Bang starting at noon, which will give way to live music by Deadelijk and Sleepy Gaucho from 5-10 p.m. In addition to the beer and live entertainment, the block party will feature food from Sweet Smoke BBQ, Creme de Liqueur, and Awe-Sauce Hot Sauce. The family-friendly event is free to attend.
Company Brewing’s 8th Year Anniversary Party @ Company Brewing
Meanwhile, Company Brewing will host an 8th Year Anniversary Party at its Riverwest brewery/restaurant/taproom/venue (735 E. Center St.) This particular party also kicks off at noon and will go “til late.” Over the course of the day, Company Brewing—both inside and out on the brewery’s spacious side patio—will host a family-friendly celebration featuring specialty beer releases, approximately 40 goats on-site to hang out with (!), an interactive and challenging inflatable game called Toxic Meltdown, live tattooing by Yasmeen Dee, free Liquid Death water, local vendors, and live music/DJs.
Combustor (record release) + The Swivels @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
“Combustor is a Milwaukee-based combo formed in 2022, made up of veteran indie/punk/alternative musicians Clancy Carroll (guitars, vocals), Marc Graves (drums, percussion) and Bobby Mitchell (bass, vocals). The members’ past endeavors include: The Haskels (Taking The City By Storm EP), The Ones (Tightrope 45), Dominoes (Lies EP), 3 On Fire (How Many, How Long 45), Clancy Carroll Band (Honesty EP) and a very long list of others. With influences as varied as Ramones, Prince, Stooges, James Brown, Buzzcocks, Miles Davis and Grand Funk Railroad, Combustor’s focus on songwriting and heady mix of old skool rock, melodic punk, powerful pop and funk is certain to engage.”
Patti LaBelle + Jeff Bradshaw @ The Riverside Theater
Roughly six months after some piece(s) of shit called in a bomb threat that forced Patti LaBelle to be escorted off the Riverside Theater stage partway through her holiday performance, the absolute legend returns to the downtown Milwaukee venue to finish what she started.
All Butts Are Good Butts Book Release Party @ Lion’s Tooth
An Evening With Natalie Merchant @ The Pabst Theater
Future Islands + Deeper @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Hemlock Chaser + The Tragedies, Secondhand Souls @ Bremen Cafe
SUNDAY, MAY 21
Klassik + Jordan Hamilton @ Cactus Club
The opening moments of the latest song from tireless Milwaukee artist Klassik, “All Comes Back,” get straight to the point. “Well it all comes back you know,” Klassik croons over an urgent metronome beat. “You can run, you can hide, but in time your hand will show.” Less than 30 seconds in, it’s clear what’s on Klassik’s mind. The video for “All Comes Back,” however, reveals that things maybe aren’t as clear as they seem. Crisp black and white footage of Klassik sitting on a beach and staring off into the magic-hour distance is interspersed with (and sometimes combined with) hazy footage of the artist barely illuminated by a bonfire. Directed by Klassik and Rakim Wil, and edited by Samer Ghani, the four-minute clip is a study in “make-it-look-easy” efficiency and delicious ambiguity.
Maifest 2023 @ Lakefront Brewery
“Join us as we embrace the warm weather with an outdoor celebration featuring a variety of vendors dishing out food, beverages, art, crafts, and other local flair. The entire area to the east side of our building will be transformed into a makers market that will keep your hands full! Take in views of the Milwaukee River and skyline as you sip and nosh on the best gluten-free goodies Milwaukee has to offer. This event is meant to accommodate those with a gluten-intolerance and will feature all gluten-free food and beverages (with the exception of some of our beers). Maifest is also kid friendly! Don a flower May-crown, get a kids glitter tattoo, and enjoy live entertainment as you frolic to your heart’s desire.”
41st WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Awards Show @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Kepi Ghoulie + dREW, Mulva, A Total Wreck @ X-Ray Arcade
I Should Know This… with special guest Mark Baden @ The Cooperage
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