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 September 13-19, 2021.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
Marc Rebillet + Immortal Girlfriend @ Pabst Theater
YouTube/Twitch sensation (and wickedly talented musical improv artist) Marc Rebillet brings his “Third Dose” tour to the Pabst Theater. If the words “YouTube/Twitch sensation” make you feel 8,000 years old, Milwaukee’s excellent Immortal Girlfriend will help ease you into things with an opening set of neon-drenched synth.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
Chill On The Hill: Testa Rosa + The Mike Benign Compulsion @ Humboldt Park
This is it! Your last chance to chill on the (Humboldt Park) hill! Well, in 2021, anyway. Tonight’s season-closing show is a great one, featuring a set by veteran Milwaukee pop purveyors Testa Rosa. Has any Milwaukee group written a more perfect pop ditty than Testa Rosa’s 2007 pop ditty “Ollie & Delilah”? Maybe, but have they written an alternate version…in German?
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Dave Matthews Band @ American Family Insurance Amphitheater
Hey! It’s the Dave Matthews Band! For Summerfest’s final not-quite-Summerfest “Wednesday Kick-Off” show at American Family Insurance Amphitheater! Be there!
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
Summerfest (Weekend #3) @ Henry Maier Festival Park (through September 18)
Hey! It’s the final weekend of Summerfest 2021! Find the full schedule for every day and every stage HERE! (And remember: you’ll need to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter.)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
Japanese Breakfast + Luna Li @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Michelle Zauner is having a year. On top of releasing Crying In H Mart, her incredible best-selling memoir (we know: we’re currently reading it), Zauner released another Japanese Breakfast album earlier this summer. That record, Jubilee, takes the indie rock project all across the board stylistically and has earned every bit of the praise it’s getting from listeners and critics alike.
WMSE’s 5th Annual Art & Music @ Pritzlaff Building
After going virtual last year, WMSE’s annual Art & Music returns to being an in-person event that aims to raise funds for the listener-supported station through auctioning off more than 200 works from local artists. This year’s installment will feature live painters, multimedia artists, refreshments, and other surprises. Support our friends at WMSE on September 17 (a.k.a “917 Day”) and take home some art in the process.
The LOL + CHNNLL, Seasaw @ Cactus Club
In case you missed it, Lauryl Sulfate + Her Ladies Of Leisure are now simply The LOL. In a new single and video called “Laguna,” the Milwaukee dance pop outfit show off an updated sound to go with that name change. The group’s glittering disco strings of yore (see: 2019’s fantastic Dance Music Saves Lives) have been replaced with a darker, ’80s-tinged synth vibe. Sulfate tells us “Laguna” is the first single from a new album—tentatively titled Pretend This Is An Album—set for release this fall or winter. Like the darker LUXI collab “Basement Show” before it, we dig the hell out of it.
Carmen Morales @ The Laughing Tap
Carmen Morales is no stranger to Milwaukee. After opening for South Milwaukee native Jackie Kashian during her 2019 stop at the Underground Collaborative (R.I.P.!), the up-and-coming comic served as the host of the very first show in the history of The Laughing Tap. Morales returns to the Walker’s Point-based comedy club to headline a pair of shows, where she’s sure to delight an intimate audience with her hilarious and ever-evolving material, including her A+ impersonation of a Wisconsin accent.
Jay Mohr @ Milwaukee Improv (7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. shows)
Accomplished actor, comedian, and Saturday Night Live alum Jay Mohr brings his decades of on-stage experience and top-notch impersonations to the newly opened Milwaukee Improv in nearby Brookfield for a total of five performances spread over three nights.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Diet Lite + Shoobie, Social Cig, Marble Teeth @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
The world is out of control. Up is down, left is right, dogs and cats living together, etc. About the only thing one can depend on these days is dependable bands putting out dependable music to help ease the dependable pain. Enter the Milwaukee-Chicago trio Diet Lite, whose latest album, Seems To Be The Way It Tends To Go, is a 10-track slab of dependable indie rock if there ever was one. The record includes touches of harmonica-driven blues (“Flatlander Blues”), crunchy ’90s alt-rock (“The Down Low”), and mile-a-minute punk (“Man Ray”). The perfectly poppy “Queen” deserves a spot on any and all summer playlists, and an aggro cover of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House” (re-titled here as “BDTH”) is simply a hoot. Is the final track, “(To You) Goodbye Blues,” an acoustic closing-time country ballad? Depend on it.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
Algiers + Zen Mother @ Cactus Club
“What I wanted to do is create a negative space wherein I can exist and engage but at the same time not be so exposed.” That’s Algiers’ multi-instrumentalist lead vocalist Franklin James Fisher, speaking about his group’s excellent 2020 album There Is No Year. Negative space. Engaging without exposing. No more years. A Southern Gothic/Lynchian/gospel-tinged sound that has only crystalized over the past six years. Algiers is the right band for the right time (if, indeed, these times can be called “right”).