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 9-15, 2023.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 9
Milwaukee Record Halftime Series: Shontrail @ 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: Shontrail!
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10
Juliana Hatfield (solo) + On Being An Angel @ Shank Hall
“Juliana Hatfield’s inimitable 35-year career has seen her an underground darling, a cultural emblem and a time-tested veteran whose tender singing and exemplary guitar playing is an iconic and enduring pinnacle of indie and alternative rock. Since her commercial peak, Hatfield has released 16 solo albums of stirring originals and imaginative covers, delving further into her love of melodic pop and rock frameworks, and fine-tuning her unmatched vision. She’s adorned magazine covers and played the country’s most celebrated rock clubs but at her core Hatfield is an artist and a technician—a skilled singer, songwriter and player whose influence and endurance is all but unmatched.”
Bonnie Raitt @ The Riverside Theater
“Bonnie Riatt is more than just a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, accomplished songwriter, and Rock N Roll Hall of Famer; she’s also an institution. With the release of her twenty-first album, Just Like That…, Riatt continues to draw on the range of influences that have shaped her legendary career, while creating something that speaks to the circumstances and challenges of these unprecedented times.”
Christopher Cross @ The Pabst Theater
“Take us away to see Christopher Cross this October at the Pabst Theater! Cross has been delighting fans with his carefully and expertly crafted tunes (like “Sailing” + “Ride Like The Wind”), richly crafted melodies and elegant guitar work for over 40 years and there are no signs of slowing down.”
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11
Bob Dylan @ The Riverside Theater (also October 12)
Bob Dylan! Two nights at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater! The last time we saw Dylan live (way back in 2015) he was pretty great! And hopefully he’ll be pretty great again when he plays these shows, which are part of his “Rough And Rowdy Ways” tour. (The album of the same name was released in 2020; it’s the one with the 17-minute song about JFK.) And yes, both shows will be “phone-free experiences,” which means you’ll have to lock your phone, camera, and other devices in one of those Yondr pouches.
The Dollop @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“The Dollop is a US history podcast with comedian hosts Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. History buff Dave decided to turn his hobby into a podcast. Each episode he reads one weird and disturbing story from the American past to Gareth, who has never heard the tale. Gareth’s hilarious reactions are why The Dollop is in the top 20 downloaded comedy podcasts in the US, Canada, and Australia.”
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12
Lucinda Williams And Her Band @ The Pabst Theater
With 17 outstanding albums, three Grammys, immeasurable artistic influence, and an ever-evolving sound she’s graciously shared with audiences all over the world throughout her 45-year career, it’s safe to say Lucinda Williams is nothing short of legendary. Don’t miss your opportunity to see the incomparable singer-songwriter when she comes to The Pabst Theater tonight.
Midweek Music: Chrissy Dzioba-Clobes @ 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: Chrissy Dzioba-Clobes!
Brief Candles + Cult of Lip, Dialogues @ Cactus Club
Let’s take a moment to recognize the longstanding greatness of Brief Candles. The Milwaukee-by-way-of-Peoria-Illinois shoegaze/dream-pop outfit has been a fixture in town for two decades, playing an untold number of shows and releasing an untold number of…well, okay, the band only has a handful of albums and EPs to its name. But that just makes each new Brief Candles release all the more exciting, all the more precious. The band’s latest is 2022’s It Doesn’t Lead to Anything : Part 1.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13
Milwaukee Paranormal Conference @ various locations (through October 15)
The Milwaukee Paranormal Conference has been celebrating ghosts, ghouls, aliens, cryptids, and the folks who love them since 2015. The 2023 MPC—sponsored by American Ghost Walks—is set for October 13-15. Friday night (Friday the 13th!) will be dedicated to a pre-party blowout at Falcon Bowl. (Yes, there will be music, costumes, and open bowling.) Saturday will be chock full of mainline MPC goodness at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. Sunday will be an MPC Activities Day, with a slew of events taking place throughout the city. Will there be a Witches Faire at Kochanski’s, and a three-hour Bigfoot Hike in a “forest location in SE Wisconsin disclosed only to ticket holders”? You have to ask?
Geese @ The Back Room @ Colectivo
“On a practical level, Geese are still the group we were introduced to in 2021: vocalist Cameron Winter, guitarist Gus Green, guitarist Foster Hudson, bassist Dom DiGesu, and drummer Max Bassin. But spiritually, Geese have returned as an entirely different prospect. Their new album 3D Country is the sound of a restless, adventurous band redefining themselves.”
Paula Poundstone @ The Pabst Theater
“Iconic comedian Paula Poundstone is known for her smart, observational humor and legendary spontaneous wit. Paula is the star of several HBO specials, including Cats, Cops and Stuff, and Paula Poundstone Goes to Harvard. Paula is heard weekly on her successful comedy podcast “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone.” Paula is also an author; her second book, The Totally Unscientific Study Of The Search For Human Happiness (Algonquin), was one of eight semi-finalists for The Thurber Prize for American Humor, the highest recognition of the art of humor writing in the United States.”
Live Film Scoring: The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari ft. Barry Paul Clark @ Cactus Club
“Live film scoring of The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene) by Barry Paul Clark and a full ensemble featuring Nicholas Elert, Warren Enstrom, Steve Gallam, Pedro Gutierrez, and Pat Reinholz. Produced, composed and curated by audio visual artist Barry Paul Clark, a winner of Cactus Club Independent Film Festival in 2022. TWO SHOWTIMES: Early show at 7pm & Late show at 10pm. 10pm show is 18+. Each show runs approximately 1hr.”
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14
La Fleaesta Art And Music Flea Market @ Club Garibaldi (also October 15)
“Arts and Music Festival featuring a variety of artist vendors. 7 bands per day! Flea Market Noon to 4pm (FREE) Vendors and DJs! Bands 6PM to Close! Bands (October 14): Hunting Lions, Get Rad, ZOR, Fastplants, Splatter Pattern, Death In Custody, Murder Generation; (October 15): Oxblood, Assault & Battery, Court St Scrappers, Severed, Bad Assets, Old Salt, Shitbag.”
Social Caterpillar (record release) + snag, Caley Conway @ Cactus Club
“Self-described as a psychedelic chamber ensemble for the disobedient and melancholic youth, Milwaukee’s Social Caterpillar—a four-piece collective composed of vocalist and guitarist Kyle Smith, bassist Eli Smith, violinist and guitarist Eric Ash, and drummer Whisper Crystal—have been playing and recording a unique style of music that defies simple categorization together since 2016. The band, which which features current and former members of Midwest DIY staples like Cairns, Swells, Gauss, Scowler, and Alta, have sought to traverse diverse sonic territories accented with an expansive instrumentation and a punk ethos that gives Social Caterpillar their inimitable sound. Deeply personal lyrics with an ethic towards protest layered over acoustic and distorted guitars and a pounding rhythm section mixed with sprawling string and horn arrangements, Social Caterpillar embodies a method of experimentation that creates uniquely unparalleled and haunting soundscapes for their listeners.”
Diet Lite + Chapped Lips, Basketball Divorce, Zippo Man @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
Milwaukee indie-rock band Diet Lite never half-asses it. The group’s albums, videos, and live shows are all dialed to the max, full of life and energy and occasional crowd surfing. So when the time came to release a DIY tour documentary, did Diet Lite slap 20 minutes of footage together and put it on YouTube? No, Diet Lite did not. Enter Stumble Out The Gate, a new 90-minute documentary on Diet Lite’s first regional tour, which the band undertook in July 2022. The film, directed by Bridger Flory, premiered last month at No Studios.
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals @ The Riverside Theater
“Ben Harper was born in 1969 and his music and career embodies the sonic bravery, brilliance, lyrical honesty and abiding social activism of that pivotal time. Ben Harper was raised in a hub of activists, poets, artists and of course great musicians. By the time he was 21, he was touring with international music legend Taj Mahal. In the ensuing years he would record sixteen albums, amass a worldwide following selling over 15 million records worldwide and win three Grammy Awards. He would also produce works for Mavis Staples, Rickie Lee Jones, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Natalie Maines, and others, and he has recorded with a diverse roster of artists ranging from John Lee Hooker, Solomon Burke and Jack Johnson to Ringo Starr, Keith Richards and Harry Styles.”
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15
Wolski’s 115th Anniversary Block Party @ Wolski’s Tavern
Wolski’s Tavern is a Milwaukee institution. Since opening in 1908, the East Side establishment has served as a trusty and timeless place to grab a drink, enjoy some free popcorn, and shoot darts. Through the years, the bar became best-known for its “I Closed Wolski’s” bumper stickers, which can be seen throughout Milwaukee, as well as places all over the world. On Sunday, you’re cordially invited to celebrate the 115th anniversary of Wolski’s when the iconic bar hosts a free block party. From noon to 6 p.m., a parcel of Pulaski Street will be abuzz with activity. Festivities will include food from Hidden Kitchen, Jandy’s Base Camp, and Hué, live music courtesy of Thriftones and HOSTS, and more.
National Cheese Curd Day @ Lakefront Brewery
“National Cheese Curd Day is upon us. It’s our chance to give back to the cheese curd gods, who have bestowed upon us such great responsibility to continue providing the world with some of the greatest curds on the planet. Join us Sunday, October 15th from 11AM to 5PM for our 6th annual celebration of our award-winning cheesy delights featuring more than just the curds you’ve grown to love.”
WMS Fungi Fair @ Polish Center Of Wisconsin (Franklin)
Calling all fungi fans! WMS Fungi Fair is coming back to nearby Franklin on October 15. According to the description: “Get great gifts for the holidays for your friends who love fungi. Listen to lectures and eat great food, and then go on a foray with the experts. It will be just as spectacular as last year! NO Fee to enter.”