5 things to do this weekend: Oct. 11-13

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Illuminate MKE

Friday 5-10 p.m. @ Veteran’s Park

Illuminate MKE is a celebration of a number of world-class local artists set along the shore of Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront. The festival is an environment where students and the community from across the Greater Milwaukee Area can come together to enjoy exceptional music performances and delicious food with Milwaukee’s most iconic view as the backdrop. Focused mostly on local talent, the Illuminate MKE festival features Bok Nero & Shizz Lo, WebsterX, Genesis Renji, DJay Mando, Galvanic, to name but a few…

4th Annual Beet Street Fall Harvest Festival

Saturday noon-6 p.m. @ Cactus Club

Bay View’s Cactus Club continues its fall tradition, offering a fresh take on the classic harvest festival theme. An event with a lot to do—from a pie contest from Palomino, seasonal food and drinks, pumpkins and farmer’s market booths, community organizations and family-friendly entertainment, as well as a dope lineup of music and new this year, films. The music lineup features Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, TRUE Skool alumni (featuring Melodic Prodigies, DJTheJenius, G-Gifted), Retoro, Congo Gospel, DJ Dave Arnevik and after the sun goes down, Browns Crew plan to make the afterparty memorable as well.

Theo Von

Photo credit: Theo Von

Saturday at 7 p.m. @ Pabst Theater

If you’re a fan of Joe Rogan’s podcast or Joey Diaz’s The Church of What’s Happening Now, then you’re probably already a fan. Maybe you saw Theo as the host of TBS’s hidden camera show Deal With It from EP Howie Mandel, which ran for three seasons. He also hosted Yahoo’s popular daily recap show Primetime in No Time – one of the most-watched shows on the web with nearly one million views per day. Theo also made appearances on Inside Amy Schumer, Why? with Hannibal Buress, Arsenio, Last Comic Standing, was the winner of Comedy Central’s Reality Bites Back, and Live at Gotham. Dang… now that you’ve seen his resume, why not see the comedy live this weekend?

City of the Sun

Photo credit: Victoria Cancel

Sunday at 7 p.m. @ The Back Room

The experiential music of City of the Sun is the sound you didn’t know you were missing. New York City’s powerhouse trio flip the perception of instrumental music, attracting a whole new generation to the genre. The band’s sound has an array of influences including indie rock, American folk, flamenco, and blue. It’s been called worldly and cinematic — a mix between Rodrigo y Gabriela and Explosions in the Sky. For me, this is exactly the kind of show you might check out on a lark.

Brady Street Pet Parade

Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. @ Brady Street

It’s easy to mistake this for a dog and cat affair but critters of all shapes and sizes will take to the streets for the U. S. Bank Brady Street Annual Pet Parade on Sunday. And though I have zero pets, I must say I’m intrigued by what looks like a real spectacle. Like: an animal costume contest, tail wagging contest, pet/owner look-alike contest, and best trick! Lots of prizes donated by Fromm Family Foods and more! And it’s for a good cause as all of registration fees benefit the Wisconsin Humane Society- registration is required in order to participate in the contests and qualify for prizes. There will also be sidewalk sales, raffles, prizes, vendors and pet photo ops await at this family-friendly event that just seems to get more popular every year.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Sept. 26-29

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Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird | Photo courtesy NPR

Thursday at 7 p.m. @ The Riverside Theater

Internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and  whistler Andrew Bird is in town tonight for what might just be the weekend’s hottest, low-key performance. Bird has been doing a lot over the years. Some of his recent highlights include recording and touring extensively, working with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, appearing as “Dr. Stringz” on “Jack’s Big Music Show,” and headlining concerts at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Walt Disney Concert Hall and festivals worldwide. He’s done TED talks, scored a role in “The Muppets Movie” and written op-eds for the New York Times. Really, it’s sweet of him to fly into town for a show at our humble Riverside theater.

The Growlers

The Growlers | Photo courtesy of the artist

Friday at 7 p.m. @ Turner Hall

From their first LP “Are You In or Out?” in 2009 to their latest LP “Casual Acquaintances” in 2018, The Growlers have forged their own twisted path on the global music scene. They’re the party band that grew into a traveling circus that spawned their own hit event, Beach Goth. Lead singer Brooks Nielsen draws a particular devotion amongst Growlers fans, as does chief cohort Matt Taylor, the band’s music director and lead guitarist. Their 2016 LP “City Club,” produced by Julian Casablancas, saw them expand their palette to include West African, dance and electronic influences. Grrr!

Ice Cube

Ice Cube | Photo courtesy of the artist

Friday at 8 p.m. @  The Rave

O’Shea Jackson, better known as Ice Cube, apparently thinks Friday’ll be a good day to play music in Milwaukee. And I’m sure that there’ll be plenty of people who’ll be out to catch the rap icon at The Rave. With nine studio and a handful of collaboration albums, countless film roles and television appearances, a clothing line, product endorsements and screenwriting credits, Ice Cube has more than earned the benefit of any of my doubts (which really were none anyway) as to what he can do. Expect a healthy mix of Ice Cube’s early-mid-’90s material and greatest hits and that signature, searing sense that he really don’t GAF anyway, that put the “A” in N.W.A.

Doors Open Milwaukee

Photo courtesy OnMilwaukee.com

Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

What is Doors Open Milwaukee? Well sometimes it is what lies behind the “Employees Only” sign and at other times it’s a look into a business or building that one doesn’t often get the chance to explore. If you’re a fan of history, architecture or the city of Milwaukee, this event is tailor-fit for you. Two days of free tours all around the city thanks to Historic Milwaukee. Actually 88Nine has just done a great story on Doors Open MKE and if you’re going to do it, Nate Imig and Bobby Tanzillo have some great ideas for you…

https://www.spreaker.com/user/radiomilwaukee/us-door-open-preview-lomg?utm_medium=widget&utm_source=user%3A10450774&utm_term=episode_title

Patricia Barber Trio

Patricia Barber Trio | Photo courtesy of the artist

Saturday at 7 p.m. @ The Back Room at Colectivo

A tireless performer who refused to conform to more conventional vocal jazz idioms, Patricia Barber worked her way up through the Chicago jazz scene slowly, almost reluctantly, after having spent several years in Iowa attending college and performing with local groups. She’s also what the L.A. Times has called “the coolest singer-songwriter around.” And you can’t not be cool if your ticket is playing jazz. Catch the unique style and unusual voice that’s made her a local jazz legend when she returns to The Back Room this weekend.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Sept. 19-22

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Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks | Courtesy of the artist

Thursday at 7 p.m. @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Amid all the changes since their 2010 debut, Twin Peaks have become one of Chicago’s most essential rock bands. With their fourth album “Lookout Low,” the sonic and creative leap the five-piece takes feels tangible. The 10-track effort was recorded and cut live over three weeks in Wales with legendary producer Ethan Johns, who has worked with legends like Paul McCartney and CS&N. Although it’s hard to match the magic of a live show in a recording, Twin Peaks seem to have done just that. Catch that magic tonight at Turner and get your weekend started right.

Radio Milwaukee Fall Ball

Friday at 5:30 p.m. @ Radio Milwaukee

In what has become an annual rite of passage from summer to autumn, we’re back with the Fall Ball this Friday at our Walker’s Point home. Now in its seventh year, the Fall Ball rocks a familiar-yet-fun blueprint for one of our signature shindigs. A rooftop party as the sun sets segues to our session space for live band karaoke before the evening turns up for a DJ-ed dance battle with an ’80s vs. ’90s theme. The simplicity of it all belies exactly how much fun it is; I really think they’ve all been a blast. Peppered with food and drink options, all the ingredients are there except for perhaps one—you! Get tickets at radiomilwaukee/fallball.

Bay View Bash

Bay View Bash | bayviewbash.org

Saturday noon-11 p.m. @ Kinnickinnic Avenue

If you check this blog regularly, you’ve probably heard me profess my love for a good street party — and the city has plenty of them. This weekend has one of my absolute favorites, Bay View Bash. As street fests go, this one feels like it stretches on for a mile (it doesn’t actually, but still!) and it seems like all of Bay View turns out for it as well as pulling in people from all over the city. There really is nothing like the spectacle of people partying, it’s like a post modern Hieronymous Bosch triptych of people on the move, partying, eating and making music on the street’s many stages. With too many great bands and DJs to mention here in full, I’d still recommend going to see artists like Yum Yum Cult, Telethon, Immortal Girlfriend, Flat Teeth, Fox Face and CENTAVRVS. CENTAVRVS in particular, who’ll do the headlining set at Rush-Mor Records North Stage at 9:15 p.m., are out of Mexico and have a phenomenal sound built from equal parts cumbia, rock and dub and even that description doesn’t seem to capture their great vibe. See you there.

Holy Hill Arts & Craft Fair

Holy Hill Arts & Craft Fair | http://holyhillartsandcraftsfair.com/

Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. @ Holy Hill (1525 Carmel Rd.)

How, for the 30-plus years I’ve lived in SE Wisconsin have I never heard of a thing that’s been going on for longer than I’ve lived? I guess I gotta blame myself. Held on the holy crap this is really beautiful grounds of the historic Holy Hill Basilica, the fair features hundreds of artists and crafters offering pottery, paintings, woodcarving, textiles, metalwork, jewelry, stained glass, photography, sculpture, mixed media and much more.

Imagine a picturesque autumn stroll winding through wooded landscapes while watching the works of truly talented artists and crafters. Plus, there’s also live entertainment, refreshments, door prizes and a silent auction. Maybe I’m just getting old enough to appreciate something like this that it has finally shown me its magic window into a different Wisconsin world…

Oktoberfest

Courtesy Milwaukee Brewing Company

Friday-Sunday @ Milwaukee Brewing Company

Even though I recommended Bavarian Brewhaus’ Oktoberfest just last week, I’m going to go on ahead and suggest this one as well. Of course, there’s the beer, which is going to be flowing in abundant abundance, but looking the other plans on tap, it’s clear Milwaukee Brewing Company’s first Oktoberfest has more than that on tap. Special beer tappings, stein holding competitions, dancers, all you can drink specials and live music aplenty. A spectacle worthy of any Oktoberfest from Munich to Munster to Milwaukee.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Sept. 12-15

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Dead Horses

Saturday at 7 p.m. @ Pabst Theater

I still remember the first time I caught Dead Horses live, at a bluegrass jam on the humble stage at Riverwest’s Bremen Café. It was intimate by virtue of being packed and a legit sweaty good time. In the years that have followed that electric night I’ve been unsurprised by Dead Horses’ continued ascent that perhaps reached a new peak this summer after the band shared the stage with the legendary rockers The Who at Alpine Valley. And as the band continues to grace stages far larger than the one I discovered them on, I find myself intrigued by their latest, happening this Saturday at The Pabst Theater — especially considering I get to interview them for a session at 88Nine this Friday at noon. Catch the session tomorrow or the show this Saturday; I doubt you’ll be disappointed with their take on American folk and bluegrass.

Junkyard Samurai + Gensis Renji + Will Rose

Friday at 9 p.m. @ Cautus Club

If you’re one of the millions that counts Chance the Rapper or Hoodie Allen as musical favorites, you might wanna peep this little show happening at Cactus Club this Friday. That’s because the latest Chicago hip-hop sensations Junkyard Samurai are coming to town for a cool-kids show with Milwaukee’s Genesis Renji and Will Rose also sharing the bill. Junkyard Samurai is a bit supergroup-ish, a collab between Chicago’s The Palmer Squares and ProbCause chopping hip-hop, glitch hop, R&B and boom-bap in clever ways. Who knows? They might be the next big thing. Cactus Club has a way of clicking like that and with locals Genesis Renji in the mix, this is my local(ish) show of the week.

China Lights

Friday-Sunday 5:30-10 p.m. @ Boerner Botanical Gardens

If you’re looking to do something that’s a little different and kid-friendly, you might want to try The China Lights lantern festival at Boerner Botanical Gardens this weekend (show runs through Oct. 30). If you think it’ll be the same as last year’s, think again, it’s 95% new this year. It’s also the fourth year they’ve collaborated on the show with artisans from Tianyu Arts and Culture Inc. of Zigong City in Sichuan. The hand-painted exhibits are illuminated with LED lights to create a spectacular visual experience after sundown. Catch it any evening this weekend.

Harvest Day!

Saturday noon-4 p.m. @ Walnut Way

Walnut Way is a community organization on Milwaukee’s Northside in the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood. Each year, they wrap up their growing season by celebrating the abundant harvest from their urban farm with festivities at Harvest Day. What started out as a community block party has now grown into one of Lindsay Heights’ largest gatherings. Now in its 19th year, this year’s theme is Art of Community which will be on display at Fondy Park with live music from 88Nine Radio Milwaukee DJ Kima Hamilton, Marcya Daneille & Band, Adekola Adedapo & Friends and
Faithful Praise Choir. Also, youth gymnastics by the Milwaukee Flyers, local artists, food and retail vendors, and many activities for youth and families.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest in Milwaukee makes all the sense

Friday (5 p.m.) & Saturday (noon-midnight) @ Bavarian Bierhaus

A little known secret about Germany’s most famed Oktoberfest is that it is celebrated in September despite its namesake tradition. Now I’m not much of a betting man, but my guess is that you not only like beer, but also haven’t done Oktoberfest a solid yet this year. Well it looks like the weekend’s weather will hold steady, so the last of my suggestions is seasonal and it seems like the Bavarian Bierhaus’ annual Oktoberfest in Heidelberg Park tries its very best to bring this quintessential German tradition to life in Milwaukee. Shared tables laden with sausage, schnitzel, pork chops and potatoes plus copious amounts of the good golden doesn’t sound half bad at all. Plus they have music: Alpine Blast on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m., and Alte Kameraden (3:30 p.m.) and Austrian Express (7:30 p.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 14. Plus if you miss this week, you still have the rest of the month.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Aug. 22-25

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Friday at 7 p.m. @ Riverside

Melbourne seven-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard return to town this weekend to melt faces clean off.  Their fifteenth studio album, “Infest The Rats Nest” is by far The Gizz’s hardest and heaviest album to date released just six months after the uplifting blues-rock boogie and deep electro explorations of their last release “Fishing For Fishes” that drew on the mid/late 1980s golden period of thrash metal. The Gizz is a band that doesn’t release albums as much as they proliferate music. Definitely a wild ride and a great start to a weekend.

Black Flag

Friday at 7 p.m. @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Black Flag has been around for a bit, having formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, Calif., by guitarist, primary songwriter, and sole continuous member Greg Ginn. Their discography includes seven studio albums and two live albums. The band has released all of their material on Ginn’s independent label, SST Records beginning with 1981’s Damaged. Vocalist Mike Vallely first sang with the band as a guest vocalist in 2003, before becoming the band’s fifth vocalist and touring with the band in 2014. A legendary band that pioneered West Coast hardcore punk and rep that DIY aesthetic of early punk as well as any other.

Fiesta Mexicana

Friday-Sunday @ Henry Maier

This weekend’s best ethnic fest is shaking off its year-long slumber as Mexican Fiesta brings the sounds, culture and tastes of Mexico to Milwaukee. Three days of fun, food, Mariachi and Fiesta on the lakefront. There will also be a cultural pavilion showcasing Mexican arts and crafts, folkloric dancers and craft workshops. Musically, expect a ton of Mexican pop and regional Mexican sounds.

Chords & Curds

Saturday @ The Deer District (at Fiserv Forum)

The Chords & Curds Festival featuring Milwaukee-based musicians, local artisans and food trucks will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24, on the plaza at Fiserv Forum. Hosted and produced by Fiserv Forum and Deer District, the all-day event beginning at noon will include gospel, blues, funk and soul acts among other genres. Proceeds will benefit the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and the music is an all local affair with Grace Weber, Angie Swan, Misha Siegfried and His Band, Christopher’s Project, De La Buena, New Age Narcissim, Armstrong Ransome and the MPS Choir.

Taste of The Islands

Saturday 2-10 p.m. @ Marcus Center

Taste of The Islands is another Saturday option; a day long celebration with music, dance, food and culture of the Caribbean. Salsabrosa Dance Company Hermanitos Ayala (Milwaukee musicians paying tribute to the classic salsa artists of Puerto Rico) and Urban Empress and the Urbanites bringing the reggae flavor. In addition to the music there will also be some kids activities, art displays and a makers market.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Aug. 15-18

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Irish Fest 

Thursday – Sunday @ Henry Meier Festival Grounds

Milwaukee Irish Fest, the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, is holding it down as the city’s main ethnic festival this weekend. For many, Irish Fest holds a very special place in the pantheon of Milwaukee’s festivals and I tend to agree. Irish Fest seems to have a musical lineup that just has something a little special about it. This year they’ve got several intriguing acts; Hermitage Green, an indie folk rock outfit out of Limerick has a sound similar to Arctic Monkeys, and they’ll be a major draw. Elephant Sessions, from Scotland, work neo-traditional sounds and are a good bet. Afrocelt Soundsystem, the High Kings and Gaelic Storm are some other  higher profile bands performing throughout the Festival and I’ve heard singer-songwriter Susan O’Niell, who’s got a lil Amy Winehouse to her, is also worth catching. If the music on the grounds isn’t enough, maybe you’ll catch wind of one of the many impromptu sessions that happen throughout the city after the festival ends.

Ben Harper & Trombone Shorty

Friday at 7 p.m. @ Riverside Theater

Talk about an interesting double bill. Ben Harper and Trombone Shorty are currently on a co-headlining tour this summer and it makes its Milwaukee stop this Friday with a show at the Riverside Theater. It’s funny how not-strange this show seems. The two artists are different enough and yet similar enough to just sort of “fit.” Not sure who starts the show, but I’d have to think that at some point they play together and blow your mind in the process. Even if they don’t, this is definitely in the two shows for the price of one spectrum.

Celso Piña

Saturday at 9 p.m. @ VIP Lounge (828 S. 1st St.)

Celso Piña is an accordion player and singer who has risen to be one of the freshest figures in cumbia music. Cumbia has its origins in Colombia’s African and indigenous populations, but it has spread to be one of the most universal Latin American genres. Celso Piña is a pioneer in mixing or blending sounds of tropical base, combined with all kind of popular genres from norteño to sonidero, ska, reggae, rap, hip-hop or R&B, just to mention some. For this reason he’s considered one of the best musicians from Mexico and Latin America. I saw him last winter in Chicago and he was pretty amazing, so I’m gonna personally vouch for this rare Milwaukee appearance. Heck, you’ll probably see me there when you go.

India Fest

Saturday at 11 a.m. @ Humboldt Park

Although not as big as Irish Fest, India Fest still makes its mark with hundreds of cultural program participants, 10+ hours of non-stop cultural extravaganza (committed to  showcasing and promoting best talents), concerts (instruments, Bollywood beats & music) by internationally renowned artists; various activities, authentic food, music, dance, traditional Indian attire and children’s activities in the heart of Bay View.

Shakey Graves + Dr Dog + Caroline Rose

Sunday at 7 p.m. @ Riverside Theater

This Sunday’s Shakey Graves, Dr Dog and Caroline Rose show at the Riverside Theater is the weekend’s best bet. A triple play of artists we love to plat at 88Nine and in fact, Shakey Graves’ll be in for a session before the show on Sunday. All three acts are worth seeing and not only because of their quality. Shakey Graves is working from a whole new vibe as they’ve taken their sound in a different direction on their new album, Can’t Wake Up. Dr. Dog sort of molted as well, outgrown the baby fat, with stronger work of late. Caroline Rose is the up-and-comer on the bill, so get there early and stay late.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Aug. 8-11

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Under One Moon

Friday-Sunday @ Catalano Square

A full moon will rise over Catalano Square in the Historic Third Ward Aug. 9 – 11, 2019, in the shape of a stunning artwork depicting a hyperreal view of the lunar surface. Museum of the Moon, which has been touring the world since 2016, is a 23-foot diameter, inflatable art installation by Luke Jerram using NASA photography. The Moon is the centerpiece of Under One Moon, a pop-up festival created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing in 1969 and all things lunar. Featuring moon songs, lunar chalk art, original dance, theater and poetry performances, lectures from leading space experts and more, the Under One Moon festival is a weekend to come and be entertained and inspired by the magic of the universe.

There really is a ton to experience all weekend; too much for me to list here. Be sure to check out the event post to figure out which day works for you, this truly is a unique event and not to be missed.

Center Street Daze

Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. @ Center Street (between Holton & Humboldt)

If you’ve followed this blog for long enough, you should know I got it bad for all things Riverwest. My trefecta is Locust Street Festival, Riverwest 24 and this weekend’s Center Street Daze. Every year Center Street Daze grows larger and it’s community-oriented emphasis keeps it cool. This year is no exception; there’s still a Pushcart Race and Classic Car Show but my whole thing with this one is to do the circuit and wander the blocks and try to take it all in. From the food and food trucks to the music at it’s many stages, all local and always interesting. The music is on point with Saebra & Carlyle, Arstrong Ransome, Twan Mack at the Company Brewing Stage. Dope DJ’s in front of High Dive, an all punk lineup at the Quarter’s Stage and some other interesting acts holding it down by the Jazz Gallery.

WI State Fair: Isley Brothers + The Commodores

7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. @ Main Stage

If you don’t know our State Fair I’m not sure I know what to tell ya. I’ll tell you though, no matter what your feelings are about it, Saturday night is the night to go. That’s because funky and soul legends The Isley Brothers and The Commodores will be performing at the State Fair Main Stage. C’mon, who doesn’t love The Isley Brothers’ “Shout” or “It’s Your Thing?” Between The Sheets?” Classic! And The Commodores? Same thing; jams like “Easy,” “Three Times a Lady” and “Brick House,” got them Grammies for a good reason.

Roseneau & Sanborn

Is that who I think it is?

Friday at 7 p.m. @ The Back Room

Born out of a collaboration at the inaugural 2015 Eaux Claires music festival, Nick Sanborn (of Sylvan Esso) and Chris Rosenau (of Volcano Choir), both also previously members of Milwaukee’s Collections of Colonies of Bees, looked at each other after the final note of their impromptu set, knowing they were onto something special. After collaborating annually at each subsequent Eaux Claires festival, the duo took to a cabin in North Carolina to record their first album as Rosenau & Sanborn, “Bluebird.”

Fiesta Dominicana

Saturday 3 p.m.-2:30 a.m. @ Points View Boite

This Saturday, Fiesta Dominicana aims to show that  Bachata is better under a hot buttered late summer sun. Milwaukee’s ethnic festival scene just keeps getting better as I keep discovering cool festivals like this one. If you go, expect to shake it, bachata is one of the world’s most sensual dance styles and the music should deliver as international dance and singing artist ATACA y La Alemana, Kewin Cosmos and DJ El Tiguere Del Mambo will be performing. In addition to the live show, live dance performances, delicious food and of course BACHATA a la BACANA!!!!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Aug. 1-4

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Milwaukee Comedy Festival

Thursday-Sunday

Now in its fourteenth year, Milwaukee Comedy Festival is Milwaukee’s biggest and best. This year the festival has more than a dozen different shows and events at multiple venues including (but not limited to) Lakefront Brewery, The Underground Collaborative, Shank Hall, Turner Hall Ballroom and more. This weekend is your best chance to catch national and regional comedy acts including stand up, improvisation and sketch comedy live on stage in one big event. In fact, if you’re finding out about it through this post, you’ve already missed the better part of a week’s worth of events.

Fret not, however, as the weekend has the best of the rest. Todd Berry headlines at Shank Hall tonight with an afterparty at Vanguard. Tomorrow, Judah Friedlander of “30 Rock” fame is running two shows at Shank Hall and there’s a late-night option at the Underground Collaborative. Saturday features more acts throughout the day at the Underground Collaborative with Beth Stelling on the big stage at Shank Hall. Sunday sees no let up as more comics throughout the day at The UC and very funny man Ari Shaffir headlining at Turner hall. Dang, that’s a lot of comedy!

Urban Island Beach Party

Friday 5-11 p.m. @ Lakeshore State Park

Ever been to Summefest and seen that parkland peninsula across the lagoon and thought that would be pretty cool place to visit? So did Newaukee as they have settled in for an annual beach party styled event held every August under a late summer sunset. Whether you kayak, bike or drive down, there’s plenty to do at this super chill mini festival. They’ll have Hawaiian dancers teaching steps, henna tattoos, hula hooping, face painting, a rock wall to climb and the ubiquitous beer tent. Of course there’s also music; this year featuring Unity The Band, Ocean Rush, Kojo and DJ Ronco wrapping the event with a dance party. Trust me, this event is a sneaky-good time.

Wisconsin State Fair

Now-Aug. 11 @ State Fair Grounds

If you don’t know our State Fair I’m not sure I know what to tell ya. I’ll tell you though, no matter what your feelings are about it, Friday night is the night to go. That’s because indie pop sensations Fitz and the Tantrums will have the Main Stage crowd dancing on Friday night. The band formed in 2008 and quickly found themselves on tour with arena acts and building a reputation as a must-see band at music festivals around the country. In 2013, Fitz and the Tantrums released their breakthrough major label debut More Than Just A Dream, which featured No. 1 Alternative Radio singles “The Walker” and “Out Of My League.” Their current album Fitz and the Tantrums­ includes their biggest hit to date, “HandClap.” Don’t sleep on K. Flay either, they open for F&TT and are pretty dope too.

Wu-Tang Clan (w/ DJ Madhatter & Bizzon)

Saturday at 7 p.m. @ The Riverside Theater

It’s safe to say that some 25 years ago Staten Island rap crew the Wu-Tang Clan changed hip-hop forever. With the release of their seminal statement album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),” the group changed the rap game with the dopest beats over even more wicked flows, introducing a cast of now legendary personalities. The Wu Tang Clan has released seven gold and platinum studio albums with worldwide sales of more than 40 million albums. With the release of their debut album in 1993 songs like “C.R.E.A.M and “Protect Ya Neck” introduced hip-hop pioneer, The RZA, as a groundbreaking hip hop craftsman that he is. With lyrics that combine the reality of 1990s New York and the world of martial arts, the Wu-Tang Clan has created a unique mythology that captures the hearts of fans worldwide. They don’t come to Milwaukee often, so you might want to check ’em out.

7th Annual Puerto Rican Festival

Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. @ Humboldt Park

Man, how have I never been to this festival? That’s what I thought to myself when I discovered it this year and learned that it’s in it’s seventh year! No time like the present to find out what’s up with Milwaukee’s Puerto Rican community and the only Latino festival in the state that recognizes Puerto Rican culture and community. In some ways the event is a kind of family picnic, so bring a big blanket or some folding chairs. I couldn’t locate a lineup, but they will have live music and, of course, Puerto Rican food.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: July 18-21

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Música del Lago: Golpe Tierra

Thursday at 7 p.m. @ Colectivo at the Lakefront

Start the weekend a little earlier than usual as Golpe Tierra heads into town from Madison bringing their contagious Afro-Peruvian music with them. Musica del Lago is an ongoing music series celebrating some of the dopest Latin music from the region and is a great, kid-friendly way to kick it lakeside.

Gipsy Kings

Thursday at 7 p.m. @ The Pabst Theater

The Grammy-winning band behind “Bamboléo” celebrate 25+ years of flamenco, salsa, and pop fusion perfection in the party-starting spirit of the south of France. Now bringing the party back to the United States this Thursday, The Gipsy Kings will raise the roof with dance-ready furor, returning to their groundbreaking eponymous album and the nomadic spirit that has led them to their latest work, Grammy Award-winning album “Savor Flamenco.”

Snail Mail

Friday at 7 p.m. @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Lindsey Jordan is on the brink of something huge, and it’s crazy to think she’s only just graduated high school. Her voice rises and falls with electricity throughout “Lush,” her aptly titled debut album as Snail Mail. Jordan’s strength starts with her powerful voice that puts power in her pacing, allowing her wry wit to shine in unexpected ways. Though she sings on subjects perhaps predictably precocious, how she gets to where she’s going shows an artist who knows where she’s going. You might want to get to this one.

91.7 WMSE Presents: The Posies

Saturday at 7 p.m. @ The Back Room at Colectivo

The Posies are in town to test some new songs in front of a live audience in between studio sessions in Seattle as they prep for a new album sometime soon. Smartly done soulful rock ‘n’ roll is what you should expect from these veterans as they hit the stage this Saturday.

Los Coast

Sunday at 7 p.m. @ The Back Room at Colectivo

Every once in a while, while writing this blog, I discover a band that I’d never heard of that is performing in town that has something special. This weekend, it’s the band Los Coast. This Austin-based band delivers some crazy-cool amalgamation of psychedelic, pop and soul with the kind of energy that from what I understand, is on full blast at their live shows. They’re touring in support of their newest release “Samsara” and I have a feeling this young band is one that we’ve not heard the last of. Catch ’em before they get great… and come early to see Milwaukee band The Young Revelators who open the show.

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5 things to do this weekend: July 11-14

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Bastille Days

Thursday – Sunday @ Cathedral Square Park

If you’ve seen the mini Eiffel Tower in the heart of downtown Milwaukee then you already know what fest has next. Of course I’m talking about Milwaukee’s own (and one of the biggest French fests outside of France) Bastille Days Festival which will bring the crowds to the streets of Milwaukee. Live music, an international marketplace, chef and wine demos, French and Cajun cuisine, roaming busker entertainment and a signature 43-foot Eiffel Tower replica offering hourly light shows. If it sounds fun, that’s because it often is and it’s kicking off tonight with the Storm The Bastille Run. Music is a huge part of the fun and some notable performers include: Jay Matthes Band, Extra Krispy Brass Band, WhiskeyBelles and Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie to name a few…

Milwaukee Record: Ha Ha Tonka, Rx Drugs and Dramatic Lovers

Friday at 8 p.m. @ Pabst Milwaukee Brewery & Taproom

“Indie-Americana, where Alabama meets Arcade Fire” is how I’ve heard critically acclaimed band (not to be confused with the state park) Ha Ha Tonka described and I’m not inclined to disagree. Through the course of the four album career together they’ve managed a balanced sound perfect for radio, it’s a shame we’ve overlooked them on our own. RX Drugs share the bill and they are a local band we love, with an all-star lineup of cats who cut their teeth in some of the best local bands. Same praise for Dramatic Lovers for that matter, who have a great new record by the way… good local show to see so please go, enjoy yourself okay.  

Sessa

Friday 7:30-9:30 p.m. @ URSA (Bay View)

Muito bom Milwaukee! Brazilian music is kissing the scene this weekend as Sao Paolo artist Sessa rolls into Bay View this Friday. A Sound Travels fave, Sessa sings his songs in Portuguese, with visceral, sensual lyrics like tropicalia legend Caetano Veloso. He’s also our download of the week, so get a taste HERE. His music feels like green, growing things that flower in beautiful and strange ways. Apropos perhaps that the show is happening at a new brick and mortar spot in Bay View called URSA, that by day sells cool clothes, essential oils, jewelry and plants. Kudos to them for keeping it cool with the music too. Space is probably a little limited so maybe get tickets in advance before you hear your friends bragging about the cool Brazilian band they saw this weekend.

I’m With Her: Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan + Yola

Saturday at 7 p.m. @ The Pabst Theater

I’m With Her is alchemical; three celebrated songwriters awesome on their own and even better together. Formed 2014, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan lyrical, graceful and mesmerizing within their intentional, harmonious sonic relationship.

Definitely go to see them. But do not, I repeat, do not skip Yola as the opener! She’s coming in for a Saturday session with us so you can get a sneak peek. Yola is from the UK and is an artist you need to know. Her latest album was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and she doing some of the most exciting roots rock around. Again don’t sleep on Yola, who might just steal the show.

Diana Ross

Sunday at 7 p.m. @ The Riverside Theater

Are you kidding me? Of course I’d recommend seeing the grand dame of soul and disco! From her landmark solo career to the early days as the leader of The Supremes, Diana Ross helped shape the sound of popular music, changing the landscape and paving the way for so much of contemporary pop music. You should do yourself a favor and see a legend this weekend.

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