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 October 16-22, 2023.


Mac Sabbath + Cybertronic Spree, Playboy Manbaby @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“Why do we care about a disturbed clown named Ronald Osborne? A clown who’s convinced he traveled through a wormhole in the time-space continuum from the 1970’s with a band of Monsanto mutants named Slayer MacCheeze, Grimalice and the Cat Burglar? Because they are here to save us from the disastrously decayed synthetic state of music and sustenance! THAT’S WHY! Mixing raucous comedy with borderline-horrific theatrics, the only thing more petrifying than the impending health problems resulting from years of overeating fast food is a Mac Sabbath show. The gruesome foursome was recently seen performing their song, ‘Sweet Beef,’ for the Prince Of Darkness™ himself, Ozzy Osbourne on the American idiot box. Mac Sabbath puts on a multimedia stage show complete with a smoking grill, laser-eyed clowns, bouncing burgers and many more magical surprises! Basically, everything a theatrical rock show consumer has been jonesing for.”

The Raging Nathans + Hospital Job, The Malones, Spruce Bringsteen, Coronary @ Promises


REYNA (record release) @ Radio Milwaukee
“When life hands you lemons, pour yourself some limonada.” That’s the animating affirmation behind Limonada, the new EP from long-running synth-pop act REYNA. The record finds sisters Vic and Gabby Banuelos (known as Vic And Gab pre-2016) not only embracing newfound love, but celebrating their own artistic independence. Free from major label ties, REYNA is releasing Limonda on the pay-what-you-want EVEN platform. Catch the duo this week at this intimate Radio Milwaukee release party and Saturday’s Flannel Fest blowout at The Cooperage/Boone & Crockett.

Bruce Hornsby + S. Carey @ The Pabst Theater
“Bruce Hornsby has built one of the most diverse, collaborative, and adventurous careers in contemporary music. Drawing from a vast wellspring of American musical traditions, the singer/pianist/composer/bandleader has created a large and accomplished body of work and employed a vast array of stylistic approaches. Throughout this period, Hornsby has maintained the integrity, virtuosity and artistic curiosity that have been hallmarks of his work from the start.”

Dave Chappelle @ Fiserv Forum
“Important Note: No cellphones, cameras, or recording devices will be allowed at this show. Upon arrival, all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show.”

Living Hour + The Ophelias, Large Print @ Cactus Club


Nation Of Language + Miss Grit @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“Brooklyn-based synth auteurs Nation of Language first arrived to most in 2020 as one of the most heralded new acts of recent memory, having only released a handful of singles but already earning high-praise. Inspired by the early new-wave and punk movements, the band quickly earned a reputation for delivering frenzied nights of unconventional bliss to rapt audiences, and established themselves as bright young stars emerging from a crowded NYC landscape prior to their release of one of the most critically acclaimed debut albums of the year, Introduction, Presence.

Bell Witch + Outer Graves, Spirit Possession @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“For more than a decade, the Pacific Northwestern doom metal band has sent tides surging over the seawalls of the song form, unraveling conventional expectations about the ways music stations itself in time to absorb a listener’s attention. Rather than seek catharsis, the duo’s songs heave themselves through time at a glacial pace, staving off resolution in favor of a trancelike capsule eternity. Invoking both boundlessness and claustrophobia in the same charged gesture, Bell Witch cultivates a sense of time outside of time, an oasis inside an increasingly frenetic media culture.”

Harm’s Way + Fleshwater, Ingrown, Jivebomb, World I Hate @ X-Ray Arcade (sold out)


Mudhoney + Hooveriii @ X-Ray Arcade (sold out)
“Mudhoney is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1988, following the demise of Green River. Its members are singer and rhythm guitarist Mark Arm, lead guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison and drummer Dan Peters.”

Bartendo @ The Sugar Maple (through October 22)
Grab your controllers and blow in your cartridges, because Milwaukee craft beer bar The Sugar Maple is staging a Nintendo-themed pop-up dubbed “Bartendo.” The four-day celebration will feature “a themed, curated art show featuring local artists who have created works specifically for this event; a themed vendor fair featuring local vendors; a variety of food trucks; four separate gaming stations, two of which are Mario Kart and Smash Bros. with four player set ups; a Mario-inspired photo booth; a Gameboy Photo Booth; a live Nintendo Jazz Score by Mechanical Life Vein; Tatiana’s Tiny Zoo with real reptiles; a costume contest, a gaming competition; and all sorts of decorations to immerse the viewer in the Nintendo world.” Oh, and there’ll also be Nintendo-themed cocktails (and N/A cocktails) with names like “Master Sword: It’s Dangerous to Drink Alone-Take This.”

Midweek Music: As Oak @ 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 excellent As Oak!

Pumpkin Pavilion @ Humboldt Park (through October 23)
“This four-day, family-friendly event brings over 2,000 Bay View residents and Milwaukee neighbors to Humboldt Park Pavilion. Guests come to carve pumpkins, admire the display of 1,000 lit pumpkins, enjoy live music, eat local food, and embrace the fun that is Halloween.” This year’s theme? CREATURE FROM THE HUMBOLDT LAGOON!

GWAR + Negative Approach, X-Cops, Cancer Christ @ The Rave/Eagles Club
“GWAR will embark on the “Age Of Imbeciles” tour of U.S. and Canada this fall. The trek, featuring support from NEGATIVE APPROACH, X-COPS and CANCER CHRIST. GWAR lead singer Blöthar The Berserker had this to say about the impending battle: ‘Attention People of Earth! Halloween is coming, and your world is up in flames. You’re a bunch of hairless apes with the smoothest of all brains. We see you there, groping in the chaos of maddening darkness. GWAR is coming to end your suffering, to bring a close to the Age Of Imbeciles.'”

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult + ADULT. and KANGA @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“Hailing from Chicago’s renowned Wax Trax! Records stable of recording artists, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult have been conjuring up sonic tales of sex, blasphemy and kitschy horror since 1987. Along with label mates such as Front 242 and Ministry, TKK (as often abbreviated), helped develop the industrial music genre, yet have consistently evolved their sound, creating one of the most diverse repertoires in modern day music. They can be described as electronic rock, heavily influenced by both disco and punk, with the distinctive use of spoken-word samples lifted from B-movies laced throughout their songs. The band has released 14 studio albums, a slew of compilations and singles, and has appeared on a variety of soundtracks.”

Boo At The Zoo @ Milwaukee County Zoo (through October 22)
This “merry not scary” event brings after hours fun to Milwaukee County Zoo. Enjoy a “trick-or-treat trail,” pumpkin carving demonstrations, light shows, and (of course) lots of animals. All who attend are encouraged to come wearing a costume.

Nineteen Thirteen + The Quilz @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery

Haunted Mini Golf @ Nine Below (through October 22)

Jackie Venson + The Midnight Purchase @ Shank Hall


Widespread Panic @ The Riverside Theater (through October 22)
In a world of chaos and confusion, you can always depend on a few things: death, taxes, and legendary Athens jam band Widespread Panic selling out Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater over multiple dates. If you can manage to score tickets to this three-day stint (only Saturday’s show is currently sold out), you can catch the group at the Riverside October 21-23. And don’t forget the official afterparty shows at Mo’s Irish Pub: Sicard Hollow will play Friday night, The Big Wu will play Saturday night, and Eggy will finish things up Sunday night.

Twisted Dreams Film Festival @ Times Cinema (through October 22)
“With surrounding cities like Madison, Chicago and Oshkosh hosting their own festivals dedicated to horror, co-directors Christopher House and Stephen Milek decided it was time Milwaukee had one to call its own. Thus, the Twisted Dream Film Festival was born in all its bloody glory. The TDFF is dedicated to showcasing celluloid terror with its willing audience, providing a haven for like-minded souls.”

TV Girl + Monster Rally @ The Pabst Theater
“On the surface, TV Girl is a sunny, throwback splash of ’60s French pop and southern California soul. Yet, under that shiny veneer lays a dark heart, beating with sharp wit and cynical alienation, and the music is all the more alluring for it. TV Girl, comprised of Brad Petering, Jason Wyman, and Wyatt Harmon, was formed in 2010 by Petering as an outlet to blend the love of Spector-esque girl-group pop with an emerging interest in hip-hop. Featuring shimmering vocals and sampled beats, the self-titled debut EP of the same year turned heads online immediately; the group’s lush vintage rhythms and timeless pop hooks were even making waves on the BBC. They continued to release increasingly popular EPs and mixtapes between tours.”

Crush Crush Crush + Alkaline Quartet @ Promises
Start the Halloween cover concert fun a weekend early with a potent pair of tribute bands at Promises. Crush Crush Crush will play a set of Paramore songs (and maybe a few other covers as well). Before that, Alkaline Quartet will do its best impersonation of early Alkaline Trio.

Flannel Fest Pre-Party: The Keystones + Alley Eyes, Social Cig, Tigera @ The Cooperage

Beats, Bars & Brews: Twan Mack + Kia Rap Princess, Spaidez, Swadetrackz, GetMoses @ Company Brewing

Owl City + Augustana @ The Rave/Eagles Club

Gallery Night MKE @ various locations (through October 21)

Friday Night Retro Dance Party: Mosh Wah + Sage Schwarm @ Mad Planet


Flannel Fest @ Boone & Crockett + The Cooperage
Boone & Crockett’s Flannel Fest returns! Enjoy live music, food vendors, and local retailers in the Boone/Cooperage lot during this free, family-friendly festival. The stacked musical lineup includes Sunflower Bean, REYNA, NilexNile, Shoobie, and Twan Mack And Swadetracks on the Main Stage; and The Hallelujah Ward, Ben Mulwana, Arum Rae, Next Paperback Hero on the folk stage. The fun begins at noon and runs until 10 p.m.

Totally Rad Vintage Fest @ Wisconsin State Fair Park
“Step back to a time before Wi-Fi at Totally Rad Vintage Fest, a traveling vintage festival dedicated to the ’80s, ’90s & Y2K. Feel the nostalgia as you shop from over 80 vintage vendors, challenge a friend at the vintage arcade, show off your fit at the throwback photo ops or jam to the tunes being spun by the vinyl DJ. There is a little something for everyone inside TRVF. Vendors primarily focus on vintage clothing but you’ll also find toys, video games, home goods, memorabilia and more! Whether you’re hunting for a gem hiding in a bargain bin or searching for the collectible piece of your dreams you are sure to find it at Totally Rad Vintage Fest.”

Mike Viola + Dusk @ Cactus Club
“Mike Viola is a producer, musician, songwriter and singer. Viola may be best known for his work with Panic! at the Disco, Andrew Bird, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, Fall Out Boy and Mandy Moore, but his solo career stands on its own starting with a number of acclaimed records as the leader of New York based cult favorite Candy Butchers and 7 critically adored Mike Viola records. His original music has been featured on soundtracks for movies such as That Thing You Do!, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Get Him To The Greek. Decades into his career, his music continues to resonate with and inspire new generations of musicians and music lovers. Viola is cranking out more music than ever, notably the recent fan- favorites, 2019’s The American Egypt and 2021’s Godmuffin. A new Mike Viola album, Paul McCarthy, was released on April 14, 2023.”

Rod Wave + Ari Lennox, Toosii, Eelmatic @ Fiserv Forum

Psycho-Spook-A-Thon: Rainbow Cobra + Stone Theory, Nectarous @ Company Brewing

Prince vs. Michael Jackson @ Mad Planet


Milwaukee Record Halftime Series: Spidora @ 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: the fantastic Spidora!

Carmen Christopher + Raegan Niemela @ Cactus Club
Following the game, actor, writer, and comedian Carmen Christopher will stop by Cactus Club for what’s sure to be a hilarious evening of off-kilter comedy. If Christopher’s name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you probably recognize him from his appearances on shows like The Bear, I Think You Should Leave, Killing It, Shrill, and Joe Pera Talks With You. Speaking of Pera, some of you probably remember Christopher as the opener for Joe Pera’s pair of shows at The Back Room @ Colectivo in April 2022. Milwaukee’s own Raegan Niemela will open things up.

Andy Grammer + Patrick Martin @ The Pabst Theater

Soft Machine @ Shank Hall

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