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 4-10, 2023.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Claud + Clementine, Barely Civil @ X-Ray Arcade
“Claud makes the kind of pop that goes well with any late nite snack.”
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
Washington Park Wednesdays: Venus Rising: You Win !!! + Dora Diamond, Drag Queen Story Hour @ Washington Park
“Bloodsport,” the latest single from Milwaukee dark pop duo You Win !!!, finds Amanda Huff and William Gardiner delving into new territory and sounding better than ever before in the process. Huff’s smooth vocals and compelling lyrics echo the project’s overarching themes of pain and processing. Gardiner meets her moody and downcast vibe with dour and mysterious production, before vaulting the criminally catchy single to the realm of “radio-ready” with a veritable wall of guitars that build on the sturdy foundation You Win !!! puts into place. See the duo—and more!—at this rescheduled Washington Park Wednesday.
WMSE’s Local/Live: Vincent Van Great @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Roastery
It’s been quite a month for Vincent Van Great. Last month, the ever-busy Milwaukee singer, rapper, and producer had the distinct honor of taking the mound at American Family Field and throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a Brewers home game. Two weeks later, Van Great followed up his wonderful 2021 Troublemakers EP with the release a brand new solo album. That record, entitled Ladies Please, finds the multifaceted musician making a concerted shift to contemporary R&B with definite pop undertones. Over the course of 35-minutes, Van Great—who also produced the album—dazzles with his smooth voice, memorable hooks, and an uptempo and high-energy sound that permeates all 11 songs.
It’s Alive On The RiverWalk @ various locations
Downtown’s “It’s Alive On The RiverWalk” series has been terrific all summer, dropping Milwaukee musicians at various spots along the 20-block path and letting them busk their hearts out. But this week sports a particularly strong lineup. On Wednesday alone, Brian Drow will be playing outside the Milwaukee Public Market (11 a.m.), Long Mama’s Kat Wodtke will be cozying up to the Bronze Fonz (4 p.m.), Next Paperback Hero will be outside The Riverside Theater (11 a.m.), Shell Bells will be at The Riverside later in the afternoon (4 p.m.), and Ellie Jackson will be playing outside Blue Bat (4 p.m.).
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
Tigera (EP release) + Clementine, Secret Menu, Horace Green @ Cactus Club
Milwaukee alt-rock/power-pop group Tigera describes its new EP, Be My Light, as “the artistic culmination of a year of non-stop performing, writing, and rehearsing over the backdrop of a complicated period for the band. The autobiographical content of the lyrics read almost like journal entries of someone lost in a living void.” Fun? Yes, fun, because Tigera shows are never not fun. See the band tonight at this EP release show, which will also feature a Tigera-inspired beer (“Your Local Handsome Beer”) from New Barons Brewing Cooperative.
Iliza @ The Riverside Theater
“Iliza Shlesinger is an award-winning comedian, actor, writer, producer and author, selling out theaters around the globe with a devoted fan base who are known for creating their own Iliza-inspired swag to wear to her shows. liza coined the term ‘Elder Millennial’ in her eponymous 2018’s Elder Millennial. Her other specials are Unveiled (2019), Confirmed Kills (2016), Freezing Hot (2015) and War Paint (2013), Hot Forever (2022).
Third Space Presents: Ben Mulwana @ Third Space Brewing
Last year, Third Space Brewing graciously added even more entertainment to Milwaukee’s well-stocked summer concert calendar by debuting its “Third Space Presents” music series on its gorgeous new outdoor deck stage. This year’s series has been bringing a wide range of outstanding Wisconsin acts to the brewery every Thursday night, and continues tonight with a set from Ben Mulwana. Only one week left!
James Adomian @ The Laughing Tap
Though there’s a chance you don’t know who James Adomian is, you’ve almost certainty been exposed to his work in some way, shape or form. The prolific impressionist has amassed an incredible body of voiceover work and has likely made you laugh on a variety of podcasts with his A+ impersonations of public figures like Jesse Ventura and Bernie Sanders. On top of his success in those mediums, Adomian is also an excellent comedian. You can see him do his thing tonight at The Laughing Tap for a one-night-only engagement.
Theo Von: Return Of The Rat @ Miller High Life Theatre + The Riverside Theater (through September 9)
“Theo Von grew up in the stray animal belt of southern Louisiana. He was a child there and became an adult slowly there. He can be seen and heard weekly on his widely popular podcasts that garner millions of listens/views a month This Past Weekend, and King And The Sting. Theo’s new comedy special Regular People was filmed at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee and is now streaming on Netflix. In the Spring of 2020 Theo completed his two year Dark Arts Trou, which took him across America, Australia, and Europe, and another country. He’s currently on the road with his Return Of The Rat. If you want to know how Theo is doing he is probably doing the best he can; which varies. He currently resides in Nashville and Los Angeles. Gang.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Mondo Lucha @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Since starting in 2008, Mondo Lucha has brought high-flying wrestling action, burlesque dancers, and live music to its annual Turner Hall showcase. Along the way, the variety show has managed to work with renowned pro wrestlers, sell out numerous shows, and become a must-attend Milwaukee event. Don’t miss the party!
Festa Italiana @ Italian Community Center (through September 10)
“The Italian Community Center is thrilled to announce Festa Italiana 2023 will take place Friday, September 8th, Saturday September 9th, and Sunday September 10th. After intensive consideration, including feedback on last year’s event, Festa Italiana will again grace our own ICC grounds with a celebration of Italian culture and heritage. We are planning all the Festa favorites including Bocce, Tradizione Vivente (Italian Dance Group), the Cucina, Italian food, Italian Idol, the Mass and Procession, and more! Food, family, and tradizione in our own backyard with the charm and intimacy of an ethnic street festival. This is the Festa Italiana experience.”
Iron Pizza + Full Nude @ Circle-A Cafe
For 22 years, Circle-A Cafe has served as an intimate and quirky venue for an untold number of Milwaukee bands, musicians, and DJs. A “packed” show at Circle-A might feature only a few dozen people, but the impact of the club has always been far greater than its modest size. But now, sadly, Circle-A has announced it will close its doors for good the weekend of October 6-7. Before that happens, be sure to check out a slew of great Friday- and Saturday-night shows, including this Iron Pizza/Full Nude bill.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
Rose Of The West (record release listening party) + DJ Katie Rose @ The Estate
It’s been a minute (or two) since we heard from Rose Of The West, a moody Milwaukee dream-pop project led by singer Gina Marie Barrington. The group released its eponymous debut record in 2019; that same year, one of the songs from that record, “Roads,” found its way onto the Netflix series Impulse. (A previous single, “Hunter’s Will,” was featured in the Netflix series You.) Now, a full four years later, Rose Of The West is back with a new record, No Things Permanent. Lead singles “Come And Find Me” and “Feast Or Famine” are simply fantastic. Hear them—and the rest of the record—at this Estate listening party.
Silver City InterNational Festival @ Silver City
“Be part of VIA’s 12th annual Silver City InterNational Festival presented by Ethnic and Diverse Business Coalition (EDBC) on Saturday, September 9th from 12pm – 5pm on W National Avenue between 33rd & 35th St. The Silver City InterNational Festival is a vibrant and lively event that celebrates the diversity and culture of our communities. Enjoy and experience Milwaukee’s local business, music, dance, food and art scene at this annual event. Don’t miss this FREE opportunity to embrace the unique flavors and traditions that make our community so special!”
Shorewood Feast @ Oakland Avenue (Shorewood)
On Saturday, a stretch of Oakland Avenue will be closed down to serve as the site of the 4th annual Shorewood Feast. The “family-friendly foodie event”—which is put on by the Shorewood Business Improvement District—offers attendees of all ages an abundance of food options and nine hours of fun (noon to 9 p.m.) between the 4200 block and the 4400 block of Oakland Ave. In terms of entertainment offerings, there will be stunts from Division BMX, face painting, a caricature artist, balloon creations, and an Adventure Rock climbing wall. Oh, and there’s also going to be two stages worth of music, featuring an eclectic local lineup. Find the lineup and schedule HERE!
Milwaukee Polka Riot @ Last Rites
“Get ready for Milwaukee’s Alt. Polka fest known simply as the MILWAUKEE POLKA RIOT! 1 p.m. Forró Fo Sho; 2 p.m. Yid Vicious; 3 p.m. Sgt Sauerkraut’s Polka Band; 4 p.m. Dead Freddie; 5 p.m. November Criminals; 6 p.m. Le Grande Fromage; 7 p.m. Preomnor. DJ sets by DJ Brümeister and, from WFMU, special guest DJ Stashu! Plus a special guest appearance by Milwaukee’s poet laureate, Mario The Poet!”
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
Milwaukee Record Halftime Series: Emmitt James @ 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.
Diana Ross @ Miller High Life Theatre
What’s there to say? Diana Ross is a legend!