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It's the final countdown for The Back Room. Here's why you should go.


The biggest music news of the week came courtesy of our friends at the Pabst Theater Group (PTG), which unveiled the name of (and a first look at) its new East Side music venue — Vivarium — slated to open early next year.

But perhaps lost in all the hubbub was a more quiet announcement that PTG has seemingly locked in its final dates at the venue Vivarium will replace — The Back Room @ Colectivo.

Labeled the "Colectivo Closers," PTG shared that there will only be 10 more shows at The Back Room. The first of those is Rat Bath's album release show Friday night, and it will culminate Dec. 15 with Bitchin Bajas — for now anyway. More on that in a minute.

The replacement for the soon-to-close Back Room will be an eco-forward performance venue called Vivarium.

If you've never been to a show at The Back Room or even if you've been there 100 times, I suggest you go for one last hurrah. As a non-native Milwaukeean, I often hear about the many music venues of the city's past. The Globe East. The Palms. Humpin' Hannas. I'm always fascinated to learn about the artists that played these small clubs. And while these places are all long gone, their importance in Milwaukee music history lives on. The Back Room will soon join their ranks.

I can't help but think about the many artists who played that small stage in the back of a coffee shop and have since gone on to stardom — Mitski, Tyler Childers, Kevin Morby and Margaret Glaspy, to name a few. Small venues like The Back Room (and, soon, Vivarium) lay the groundwork for up-and-comers to get discovered. The curious space at the back of Colectivo on Prospect has achieved that since 2015 and deserves a proper send-off from the music community.

For now, you can mark Dec. 15 on your calendar as The Back Room's finale. But keep your ears open. At Vivarium's unveiling earlier this week, PTG CEO and president Gary Witt was asked point blank whether the Bitchin Bajas show would be the last. His response, with a slight smile, "Possibly."

The Back Room's final 10 shows

  • Nov. 10: Rat Bath, Gold Steps, Kat and the Hurricane
  • Nov. 11: Ocie Elliott
  • Nov. 16: Phillip-Michael Scales, Berm.
  • Nov. 17: Rene Vaca
  • Nov. 18: Waldemar, Barely Civil, North Warren
  • Nov. 24: Ryan Necci and the Buffalo Gospel, Chris Porterfield, Matthú
  • Dec. 1: The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, The Hooten Hallers
  • Dec. 2: Smoking Popes, Sludgeworth, Teenage Halloween, Devon Kay and the Solutions
  • Dec. 8: Kyle Hollingsworth
  • Dec. 15: Bitchin Bajas
88Nine Social Media Manager | Radio Milwaukee