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 November 13-19, 2023.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Clementine + Tourneforte, Barely Civil, Man Random, Courtesy @ X-Ray Arcade
Milwaukee has a thing for emo. Back in the ’90s, groups like The Promise Ring and Hey Mercedes put the city on the emo map; these days, Telethon, Bug Moment, Honey Creek and many more carry the big-guitars-and-impassioned-vocals torch. Add Clementine to that latter group. For the past few years, the Milwaukee four-piece (not to be confused with another Milwaukee band called Clementine, which was active in the mid-’00s) has been playing out on the strength of its excellent 2017 emo/pop-punk EP This Will Hurt, as well as a string of increasingly great singles. The band’s latest single, “Green,” was released in May.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Bert Kreischer @ Fiserv Forum
“‘A rare and incredible talent’ (Interrobang) whose ‘success isn’t a surprise’ (Variety), Bert Kreischer has become an award-winning entertainment juggernaut and a master of virtually every medium he tackles: standup comedy, TV, podcasts, a memoir and album, and soon his first feature film. He was Pollstar’s #1 2020 standup touring artist in the midst of a global pandemic, selling out arenas and the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and earning Pollstar’s Damn The Torpedoes: 2020-2021 Touring Artist award. Followed soon after by Variety’s 2021 Creative Impact in Comedy award.”
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16
Midweek Music: Ian Olvera @ Crafty Cow Tosa
Join us at Crafty Cow Tosa on select Wednesdays and Thursdays in October and November for a total of eight Midweek Music performances. Once again, there will be NO COVER for these all-ages shows, which will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If a free weeknight show isn’t already great enough on its own, Crafty Cow Tosa will offer $4 pints from Third Space Brewing during all Midweek Music concerts. They’ll also have a “Cheap Date” special, which includes two entrees, a starter, and a dessert for just $35. This week: the always-charming, always-fantastic Ian Olvera!
Stavros Halkias @ The Riverside Theater
“Stavros Halkias is a comedian, actor and writer. His debut special, Live At The Lodge Room reached a million views in the first four days of its release and has currently garnered over 3.3 million views. He’s a former co-host and founding member of the popular podcast Cum Town,” which ran from 2016-2022 and was a staff writer and regular performer on the MSG network’s late night show, People Talking Sports And Other Stuff. He’s appeared in Comedy Central’s Stand Up Featuring series and recently starred in the independent film Salesmen. He’s trying to get just famous enough to buy his mother a nice home and then quit show business to open a surf and turf restaurant in East Baltimore.”
Phillip-Michael Scales + BERMS @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Phillip-Michael was born in Michigan, forged in Chicago, and now lives in Nashville, TN. He grew up with B.B. King calling him ‘nephew’ and calls his music ‘Dive Bar Soul,’ a blend of Indie Rock storytelling and the passion of the blues. In February of 2022, his single ‘Find a Way’ attracted national radio attention and garnered an invite to perform on the Ellen Degeneres Show. His music has taken him all the way to the Middle East, as well as festivals across Europe and North America.”
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17
Better Than Ezra + Howie Day @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“The best songs, records, and bands transport you back to the first moment you heard them each and every time they play. Whether you caught a house party gig after Better Than Ezra formed in 1988 at Louisiana State University, heard ‘Good’ on the radio once it hit #1 in 1995, became a fan following Taylor Swift’s famous cover of ‘Breathless’ in 2010, or saw them headlining sheds in 2018, you most likely never forgot that initial introduction to the New Orleans quartet founded by Kevin Griffin [lead vocals, guitar, piano] and Tom Drummond [bass, backing vocals]. Those hummable melodies, unshakable guitar riffs, and confessional lyrics quietly cemented the group as an enduring force in rock music. How many acts can boast being the inspiration of a classic Saturday Night Live skit? Very few. Named one of the top ‘100 Greatest Alternative Artists of All Time’ by Billboard, Better Than Ezra released their last single ‘Grateful’ in 2018 and are currently in the studio working on new music.”
The R&B Cadets @ Shank Hall (also November 18)
“The R&B Cadets played their first gig shortly after New Year’s in 1980 and their last in the summer of 1986. In that time they got a lot of folks out on the dance floor, playing a distinctive mix of of deep soul cuts from Paul Cebar’s massive record collection and some sparkling originals, written by John Sieger, often in tandem with Michael Feldman, a friend and now longtime host of Public Radio’s Whad’ya Know? Splitting lead duties with Sieger and Cebar was the lovely chanteuse, Robin Pluer. Owner of one the lovelier voice heard in the midwest, Ms. Pluer was a dollop of sweetness at the top of the band’s deep range. Rounding out the lineup was Mike Sieger, John’s brother and vocal doppelganger, who played bass. Original drummer Cy Costabile, was later replaced by Bobby Schneider and the saxophonist Juli Wood was replaced by keyboard/sax man Bob Jennings.”
Adam Cayton-Holland @ The Laughing Tap (also November 18)
Author, actor, Those Who Can’t star/co-creator, and veteran stand-up comedian Adam Cayton-Holland returns to Milwaukee for a two-night, four-show headlining run at The Laughing Tap that runs November 17-18.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18
New Wave Fest 2023 @ The Cooperage
“Join The First Wave for New Wave dance favorites, featuring visuals by Subspace! See the legendary original New Wave Xposed 4Heads! Featuring Mixtape appearing as Blondie!”
Waldemar + Barley Civil, North Warren @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“Waldemar combines soaring vocals and poignant, confessional lyrics against a dense backdrop of sweeping guitar tapestries and synth textures to deliver a sonic freight train of an album. The new record Ruthless is a journeyman musician’s fixation, the renegade harmonies of a blue-collar poet. Formed 10 years ago in Wausau, Barely Civil’s sound encompasses emo, punk and post-rock. Their first single in three years ‘Coasting, Mostly’ is out now. North Warren, named after the street he lived on as he began releasing music, is the creative endeavor of Luke Esperes, a tenacious artist residing in Milwaukee. Luke’s influences come from bands such as Harvey Danger, Let’s Wrestle, and Built To Spill making indie/punk/alternative rock with an emotional weight.”
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Milwaukee Record Halftime Series: Barely Civil @ Cactus Club
Our Halftime Series is back! This season, we’ve assembled a stacked roster of 15 acts that will provide FREE all-ages entertainment during halftime of Green Bay’s games. Like previous seasons, the concert series will take place at Cactus Club. Also like previous seasons, Miller High Life will sponsor our football-focused festivities, meaning fans can enjoy “The Champagne Of Beers” and Miller Lite for $10 for a bucket of five beers all game long and “Record Recommended” High Life and Mystery Shot specials for $6. This year also brings two new sponsors into the mix. Our friends at Transfer Pizzeria Cafe will be coming by games (excluding Mondays and holidays) to drop off some pizza for everyone to share. Meanwhile, MKE Distilling Company’s new vodka will be featured in Bloody Marys and Cactus Bombs throughout the season. This week: Barely Civil!