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 September 18-24, 2023.


Califone + The Setting @ Shank Hall
“With 25 years of Califone in his catalog (not to mention a variety of other projects, including alt rock heroes Red Red Meat), the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based Tim Rutili knows well how to find that moment of awe and bliss even as things are falling apart. Part poet, part abstract painter, and always surrounded by a variety of hyper-talented collaborators (here including longtime cohorts Ben Massarella, Michael Krassner, Rachel Blumberg, and Brian Deck, as well as the likes of Nora O’Connor and Finom’s Macie Stewart), Rutili has always excelled at luring listeners through elusive lyrics, flashes of shadows and images coming together in disarming unity.”

Violent J + Esham, Ouija Macc, R.A. The Rugged Man @ The Rave/Eagles Club
“Juggalos brace yourselves, the ultimate hip-hop horror show RETURNS as Violent J, Esham, and OUija Macc reunite to unleash their Wicked Ways upon the 2ND LEG of the 3 Headed Monster Tour! Prepare yourselves as the 3 Headed Monster descends upon your city and obliterates its way through every venue bringing CHAOS & DESTRUCTION!”


Ex Fabula StorySlam: Awkward @ The Sugar Maple
“Ex Fabula StorySlams are live events where community members connect and share true, personal stories related to the night’s theme, told without props or notes. Come just to listen—or throw your name in the hat for a chance to share a true story related to the theme ‘Awkward.’ At the end of the night, the audience votes by secret ballot to crown an Audience Favorite. The audience can also be a part of the storytelling by submitting UltraShorts! These are ‘ultra-short’ stories on the night’s theme that will be read onstage by the emcee.”

Mest + Authority Zero, Avenues @ X-Ray Arcade
No, you didn’t fall into a portal that sent you back to 2002: Mest is BACK and they’re playing X-Ray Arcade. Hell yes! Put your top down, your seat back, and roll over to the Cudahy club in your Cadillac for what’s sure to be a great blast from the past. Ska-punk outfit Authority Zero and Milwaukee’s own Avenues will also perform.

Deshun Jetson + JJ Rocket, Ra’miae, Tracey Lynn, ZuesSOS @ Cactus Club


Milwaukee Record Presents: Drop Dead Gorgeous @ Avalon Theater
Get ready for pageant season by joining Milwaukee Record at Avalon Theater for a very special summer-ending screening of the incomparable 1999 dark comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous. Unless you didn’t get your tickets ahead of time: tonight’s screening is sold out!

Clem Snide @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
“‘The last ten years have been a rollercoaster of deep despair and amazing opportunities that somehow present themselves at the last possible second,’ says Eef Barzelay. ‘That this record even exists, as far as I’m concerned, is a genuine miracle.’ Indeed, the road to Forever Just Beyond, Barzelay’s stunning 2020 album under the Clem Snide moniker, was an unlikely one, to say the least. Produced by Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers, the record is a work of exquisite beauty and profound questioning, a reckoning with faith and reality that rushes headlong into the unknown and the unknowable. The songs here grapple with hope and depression, identity and perception, God and the afterlife, all captured through Barzelay’s uniquely off-kilter lens and rendered with an intimate, understated air that suggests the tender comfort of a late-night conversation between old friends.”

Argopelter + Caley Conway @ Boone & Crockett
Argopelter is an improvised experimental trio composed of Barry Paul Clark (bass), Devin Drobka (drums), and Christopher Porterfield (guitar). The group’s frequent residencies at Boone & Crockett are always appointment viewing/listening, especially when coupled with incomparable singer-songwriter Caley Conway. The musicians’ autumn residency kicks off tonight! Be there!

Peelander-Z + Dog Party @ Shank Hall

Malinda + Lizzie Weber @ The Back Room @ Colectivo


Maple Stave + Body Futures, Vile Bees @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
“Durham NC’s Maple Stave have been developing their dynamic, dense, restless style for 20 years. Heavy, tense, patient, and frantic, their take on melodic, complex music owes a debt to the sounds of 1990s Louisville KY, Chicago IL, and Olympia’s Unwound, but has become something very different from its roots. Described variously as ‘defined by precision’ (Grayson Haver Currin, Indyweek), ‘full of seething urgency and artful arrangements’ (Mike Breen, Cincinnati CityBeat), and ‘post-metal, in a hardcore vein’ (someone outside a club in Athens GA who was unaware they were standing next to the drummer), the band is releasing Arguments, their first recording in seven years and proof that they have not mellowed with age.”

Helmet + Bad Nerves, Soul Blind @ The Rave/Eagles Club
“Helmet is an American alternative rock band from New York City formed in 1989 by vocalist and lead guitarist Page Hamilton. Since 2010, the band has consisted of Hamilton, drummer Kyle Stevenson, guitarist Dan Beeman and bassist Dave Case. Helmet has released eight studio albums and two compilation albums. After releasing their debut album, Strap It On (1990), on Amphetamine Reptile, Helmet signed to Interscope Records and released three albums for the label, including the highly successful Meantime (1992), Betty (1994) and Aftertaste (1997). Helmet broke up in 1998, but reformed in 2004, and has since released four more albums ― Size Matters (2004), Monochrome (2006), Seeing Eye Dog (2010) and Dead to the World (2016).”

Speedy Ortiz + Poolblood, Scam Likely @ X-Ray Arcade
“Speedy Ortiz has established itself as one of this decade’s most vibrant bands since their 2012 debut EP Sports. That EP introduced listeners to the band’s constant study of contrasts, with vocalist and guitarist Sadie Dupuis’ gnarled riffs acting as both counterpoint to and bolsterer of her acerbic, conversational poetry. 2013’s Major Arcana went further, the members’ reflexive chemistry inspiring them to push the limits of their sound; their first full-length chugged along with a swaggering gusto that could command a sweaty Boston basement as easily as a festival stage, leading to touring with legends of the “alternative” boom like The Breeders, Mary Timony (Ex Hex, Helium) and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. 2015’s Foil Deer added headphone-ready detailing to the already clamorous mix, with worldwide headlining dates on which they were supported by modern-day best-new-music makers like Mitski, Alex G, and Downtown Boys. Their no-nonsense approach to progress, as evidenced by initiatives like their first of its kind in-concert ‘help hotline,’ and Dupuis’ tackling of issues like bystander intervention and inclusivity in the music industry—in her lyrics, and as a frequent panelist and speaker—makes the band poised to surge into the future. Twerp Verse, Speedy’s third album and first with Philadelphian Andy Molholt (Laser Background) on second guitar, is urgent and taut, adding surprising textures like Linn drums and whirled guitar processing to their off-kilter hooks.”

Madison McFerrin + Clayton @ Cactus Club

Daisychain + Tigera, Atheists And Airplanes @ The Cooperage


Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head @ The Riverside Theater
“Hasan Minhaj is set to entertain audiences once again with his brand new show, “Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head.” As one of the most vital voices in comedy today, Minhaj continues to take on challenging themes like politics, parenting, and therapy with irreverent wit and insight.”

Gus Dapperton + Sarah Kinsley @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“Gus Dapperton has always been obsessed with building new worlds. It’s been part of his passion since he started making songs in Garageband, a creator’s mindset that eventually shaped two independent albums of defiantly original alt-pop. Now signed to Warner Records, Dapperton goes even further on his new project, “Henge,” immersing himself in bold details and immersive songwriting to conjure a twilight world that permanently hovers between sunset and sunrise throughout 11 mercurial songs.”

The Disco Biscuits + Steez @ The Pabst Theater
“The Disco Biscuits are an entirely different band today than they were when they first broke out of Philadelphia in the mid-’90s. That’s not to say that they’ve abandoned their foundation, switched gears or set sail for distant shores. The Disco Biscuits are still very much the pioneers of ‘trancefusion,’ bridging the gap between electronic music and jam bands. They still remain rock pioneers whose soul belongs as much to marathon dance parties as it does to live improvisational journeys. They still employ emerging technologies to help them create music that is 100 percent human although, perhaps, not entirely of this earth.”

Craig Robinson @ Milwaukee Improv
Beloved Office cast member, star of the great Killing It series on Peacock, and gifted musician/comedian Craig Robinson is coming to Brookfield for a total of four Milwaukee Improv performances. What a way to end your summer and/or begin fall!

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats + Senora May @ BMO Pavilion

Tim Schweiger & The Middle Men + Trolley @ Circle-A Cafe

Quarters Of Change + Never Ending Fall, The Keystones @ X-Ray Arcade

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys featuring Westside Andy @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery

Unlawful Assembly Vol.3: Day One @ Cactus Club

Friday Night Retro Dance Party: DJ Don Black @ Mad Planet


Doors Open Milwaukee @ various locations (through September 24)
“Historic Milwaukee’s annual Doors Open Milwaukee program will take place on September 23 and 24 this year. The event, which began in 2011, will showcase 130 locations including theaters, art galleries, museums, municipal buildings, gardens, and more throughout downtown and Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. Doors Open will welcome the return of favorite sites including We Energies’ Public Service Building, MGIC, and the Federal Courthouse. New sites include GRAEF, Mitchell Street Arts, The Garage at The Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum Research Center in the historic Judge Jason Downer Mansion, Shechem at Hope Street, and many more.”

Fromm Petfest @ Henry Maier Festival Park
“Fromm Petfest is back, celebrating its 10th year of four-legged fun at Henry Maier Festival Park. Created for animal lovers of all ages, the all-day event features festivities for the entire family to enjoy. From pet-centric activities including Dock Diving, Lure and Agility Courses, Dog Park and a Doggie Dash speed trial to family-focused fun in the carnival-themed Crunch Zone, live music and entertainment, shopping, food and more, it’s a day that’s gone to the dogs. And cats. And kids. And especially anyone who loves animals!”

Seven Year Anniversary Party @ Third Space Brewing
This weekend, Third Space Brewing will celebrate its seventh birthday—while simultaneously sending summer off in style—with a full day of beer releases, food trucks, philanthropy, and live entertainment. The Seven Year Anniversary Party will feature two new beer releases to enjoy, an eclectic mix of local food trucks serving up tasty eats and treats, and opportunities to donate to YMCA Camp Minikani (where Third Space’s founders first met). Best yet, the brewery’s outdoor deck will host 10 hours worth of live music from great acts in Milwaukee and elsewhere in the state. And there’s no cover!

Jones Island Fest @ Kaszube’s Park
For more than 55 years, Milwaukee has been the home of “The World’s Largest Music Festival.” Since last September, the city has also been the site of “The World’s Smallest Beer Festival (Probably).” The latter event is actually called Jones Island Fest, a lighthearted happening hosted by Torzala Brewing Company that will return to Milwaukee’s smallest and most secluded park for a second installment this Saturday. From noon to 6 p.m., the young and very good Bay View brewery will take over all 0.15 acres (or 610 square meters) of Kaszube’s Park for a day of beer, food, fun, and the promise of “shenanigans.”

The Nile Club + North Warren, Friendly Spectres, Oh Well OK @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
Somewhere on Highway 33, between the bustling Wisconsin towns of Horicon and Beaver Dam, stands a 40-foot pyramid. Sometimes known as The Pyramid, sometimes known as The Nile Club, it was built in 1961 and has been closed since 2009. Taking its name from the loony landmark is Milwaukee band The Nile Club. Like its namesake, the group is delightfully bizarre and unlikely—heavy and sludgy one minute, jammy and melodic the next. Want menacing shout-alongs AND groovy math-rock workouts? How about horns, organs, sea-shanty psychedelia, AND heart-on-its-sleeve emo? You can find it all on The Nile Club’s excellent, eclectic, and never-dull 2023 record Wake Up With A Sense Of Pride.

Harbor Fest @ Harbor District

Oktoberfest @ Black Husky Brewing

Jetty Boys + Haddonfields, Resist Her Transistor @ Circle-A Cafe

Unlawful Assembly Vol.3: Day Two @ Cactus Club

Y2K! Music From 2000-2010 @ Mad Planet


Milwaukee Record Halftime Series: Green Day Packers @ 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 RETURN OF THE GREEN DAY PACKERS!

Girls Rock MKE’s Battle Of The Bands Fundraiser @ X-Ray Arcade
“Organizers for Girls Rock MKE have asked local musicians to help raise $5,000 of its total goal via a digital peer-to-peer campaign and in-person Battle of the Bands fundraiser. The five artists who raised the most money during the digital campaign will each be here to play a 20-minute set during the all-ages fundraiser event, and attendees will be able to vote for their favorite artist. The Girls Rock MKE community as well as the general public are highly encouraged to attend!”

Dethklok + BABYMETAL, Jason Richardson @ The Rave/Eagles Club
“Japanese metal band BABYMETAL has announced a co-headline tour with DETHKLOK, the on-screen heavy metal band and stars of Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse, and support from virtuoso guitarist Jason Richardson. BABYMETAL’s first time back to the U.S. since before the pandemic, the 29-date Live Nation-produced “Babyklok” trek will kick off August 30 in Houston, Texas, hitting Milwaukee on September 24, efore wrapping October 11 at Los Angeles’s YouTube Theater. The tour will support BABYMETAL’s recent, first-ever concept album The Other One.”

$uicideboy$ + Ghostemane, City Morgue, SEMATARY GRAVE MAN, Draco the Drago @ Fiserv Forum

Dead, Dead Swans + Lucas Powell, Dusty Pockets, Peter Hair @ Company Brewing

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