Our fat-free, dolphin-safe Milwaukee events calendar 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 November 1-7, 2021.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Shawn Mullins + Brian Ritchie & John Sparrow @ Shank Hall
Singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins found fame with his 1998 single “Lullaby”; since then, he’s released a slew of albums and even formed a supergroup, The Thorns, with Matthew Sweet and Pete Droge. Opening Mullins’ Shank Hall show will be two-thirds of the Violent Femmes, bassist Brian Ritchie and drummer John Sparrow.
Sloppy Seconds + The DUIs, Aces, Drew @ X-Ray Arcade
Indianapolis punk band Sloppy Seconds have been keeping it super sloppy since 1984, and god bless them. “The band’s unusual and controversial lyrics,” explains Wikipedia, “encompass pornography, classic horror movies, classic television shows, comic books, alcohol, being fat, and getting drunk.” Perfect.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Bob Dylan @ Riverside Theater
It’s telling that when it comes to Bob Dylan—arguably the greatest singer-songwriter of all time—one needs to practically apologize for wanting to see him play live. Dylan, ever the confounding contrarian, does not put on casual fan-friendly shows, often reworking beloved classics to the point of absurdity and croaking his way through sets of obscure material. He has long shirked the “voice of a generation” tag and simply considers himself as a song-and-dance man. His so-called “Never Ending Tour” has been ongoing for 30-plus years. He’s 80. He probably won’t play your favorite song, and even if he does, you probably won’t recognize it. Why would you want to see that live? Eh, whatever. Dylan is a legend and his latest album, 2020’s Rough And Rowdy Ways, is really good. See him while you still can.
Local H + Radkey @ Shank Hall
Illinois duo Local H—of “Bound For The Floor” fame—play Milwaukee so often that they could be considered adopted sons. For further proof, consider that the band is playing Shank Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that the Wednesday show is sold out. Far from one-hit wonders, Local H has never stopped releasing music; Lifers, from 2020, is the band’s latest (and appropriately titled) release.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Midweek Music: Jay Matthes @ Crafty Cow Tosa
This fall, Milwaukee Record is bringing live music to the new Crafty Cow Tosa (6519 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa). The weekly concert series, called “Midweek Music,” features a total of eight Wednesday night performances from an eclectic array of local artists. There is no cover for these all-ages shows, which run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. And if a free weeknight show isn’t already great enough on its own, Crafty Cow Tosa is offering $2 Indeed Brewing Company pints. Crafty Cow will also have a “Cheap Date” special, which includes two entrees, an appetizer, and two drinks for just $29. Tonight’s installment features a solo set from Milwaukee troubadour Jay Matthes.
Harry Styles + Jenny Lewis @ Fiserv Forum
After being postponed due to COVID-19, Harry Styles and his Love On Tour, er, tour finally lands in Milwaukee. Styles will be performing hits from his 2019 sophomore album Fine Line. And if the breakout One Direction superstar wasn’t enough, the incomparable Jenny Lewis will open the show.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Gwar + Napalm Death, Eyehategod @ The Rave/Eagles Ballroom
Isn’t it great that over-the-top heavy metal/gore-rock band Gwar continues to get mainstream press four decades into their ridiculous career? The latest round of attention comes courtesy of Dave Grohl, who, in his memoir, revealed that he came close to joining the costumed interplanetary warriors before joining Nirvana. The mind reels. Anyway, Gwar may have no founding members in their ranks (lead singer Dave Brockie died in 2014), but they’re still loads of gross-out fun.
Whitney Cummings @ The Pabst Theater
From early appearances on Chelsea Lately, co-creating 2 Broke Girls, and creating and starring in her own titular sitcom, to releasing four stand-up specials and hosting her own podcast (Good For You), Whitney Cummings has seemingly done it all. On Thursday, the comedian-writer-actor-host will bring her Touch Me tour to Milwaukee.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Midwest Gaming Classic @ Wisconsin Center (through November 7)
Since its humble roots as a way to “celebrate the Atari Jaguar,” the Midwest Gaming Classic has ballooned in popularity, becoming a can’t-miss celebration of video games old and new, pinball old and new, and all other things delightfully geeky. The 2020 MGC was understandably canceled due to COVID-19; thankfully, the pandemic didn’t mean “Game Over” for the event. For its 20th anniversary in 2021, the Midwest Gaming Classic returns to the Wisconsin Center for three days of game play and special guests.
Trapper Schoepp @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
Throughout the years, Milwaukee singer-songwriter Trapper Schoepp has released five excellent albums, played hundreds of shows all over the U.S. and Europe, shared the stage with some of music’s most noted names, had songs on television, and has established himself as one of Wisconsin’s premier performers. Oh, and with “On Wisconsin,” he also has a co-writing credit with Bob Dylan! Schoepp’s latest record is the winning May Day.
Silversun Pickups + Zella Day @ The Rave/Eagles Ballroom
Following a pandemic-related tour cancellation last year, veteran Los Angeles alternative rock outfit Silversun Pickups will, at long last, make their way to The Rave to play a show in belated support of their excellent 2019 album Widow’s Weeds.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6
The Monkees @ Riverside Theater
Back in 1966, the world was given the gift of The Monkees. The so-called “Pre-Fab Four” (Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork) were assembled by a pair of producers for a wacky NBC television sitcom, though in time they became a functioning real-life band. The Monkees sang “I’m A Believer,” “Daydream Believer,” and many other songs that didn’t involve the word “believer.” Davy Jones did that little shimmy dance. Nez co-wrote “Sweet Young Thing” and generally ruled. Micky had a great voice and a great head of hair. Peter was funny. The Monkees would go on to become a beloved and enduring bit of ’60s pop culture. Five decades later, only Dolenz and Nesmith remain; the two are giving fans a chance to say goodbye with a well-earned farewell tour.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7
Milwaukee Record Halftime Show: Mertles Acres @ Cactus Club
After a season away, the Milwaukee Record Halftime Show series has returned! This season, we’ve assembled a stacked roster of 17 performers that will provide FREE all-ages entertainment during halftime of Green Bay football games. Like previous seasons, our friends at Miller High Life will sponsor our football-focused festivities, meaning fans can enjoy “The Champagne Of Beers” and Miller Lite for $2.50 a bottle or $10 for a bucket of five beers all game long. This week, halftime entertainment will be provided by Milwaukee pop-punk duo Mertles Acres.
Iron & Wine @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
Sam Beam has been performing under the name Iron & Wine since 2002. A cover of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” garnered Beam early attention (and an inclusion in the film Garden State), but the artist’s own songs have gotten plenty of exposure, too (“Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” “Naked As We Came,” more). If you have tickets to this intimate Back Room @ Colectivo show, congratulations, because it’s currently sold out.
Mike Birbiglia @ The Pabst Theater
Accomplished comedian and storyteller, best-selling author, actor, and NPR regular Mike Birbiglia brings his unique perspective and decades of experience to Pabst Theater for what’s sure to be a comedic performance befitting of Broadway.