5 things to do this weekend: June 20-23

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Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

Friday at 7 p.m. @ Turner Hall Ballroom

For me, Karl Denson is the kind of musician who I discovered after discovering I'd already discovered long ago. I had been an indirect fan through his work in Lenny Kravitzs' band, with The Stones as well, leading the Greyboy All-Stars, plus collabs with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Blackalicious and Switchfoot but really didn't know that this longtime saxophonist and session cat had a project bearing his given name. My a-ha moment came years ago, and I'm stoked he's in town this Friday for what will definitely be an extra funky jam session. The kind of session that brings a crazy diverse cross-section of music lovers and the kind of performance that brings superlatives.

MAM After Dark: Lakefront Festival of Art

Friday @ Milwaukee Art Museum

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like MAM After Dark is a pool I like to dip into at least once a year; it makes me feel cool. This Friday's version, which comes in tandem with the Lakefront Festival of Art, looks like a good one to be at. I mean you could make a day out of it and see the music, shop artist booths, nosh at food trucks and chill in the wine garden during the day. And you might as well stick around because a ticket also gets you into the After Dark part. You might need a wardrobe change, but this might be worth it.

mmmmm.....

Taco Fest

Saturday at noon @ Henry Maier Festival Grounds

For real though, I have no idea how, I mean how I didn't know Milwaukee has a taco fest. Let alone one heading into its sixth year(!). Oh dios mio, that's a flaw in my program, a critical failure of discernment that I can only forgive in myself by going to this one. The Taco is a perfect food, one of those foods that I consider timeless and awesome in so many forms that I could probably eat one every day for the rest of my life. A food I sometimes wake up craving. A food I find myself missing the most when I travel to countries that don't have them (like why would you still live and be unaware of their awesomeness)? Taco Fest is happening this Saturday on the Summerfest Grounds and I bet they beat last year's record of nearly 10,000 tacos consumed. Plus they'll have live music, Mondo Lucha wrestlers, margaritas and even Chihuahuas, which I presume are not for consumption.

Summer Soulstice

Saturday noon-11:59 pm @ North Avenue (at Oakland Ave)

Summer Soulstice Music Festival can brag all they want. Being Milwaukee's largest local music and arts event every year has its merit with me. Plus I can say for certain that I'll be there with the other 88Niners as we're the media sponsor and will be handling introductions for the music there all day. With FOUR stages, 21 acts, BMX demos, a rock climbing wall and family activities. Weather permitting, this is a great festival to be at; stage to stage to food truck to beverage tent to artisan stall to shop, drink, eat and be merry in the sun. I love how local it is, yet big enough to be the only thing you might get into on the day. Also, the music lineup is stacked and highlighted by performances from B~Free, Lex Allen, Chicken Wire Empire, Luxi, Surgeons in Heat, Telethon and Zach Pietrini.

Cuban Street Fest 2019

Sunday at noon @ Drexel Town Square

Bet you didn't even know that Milwaukee not only has a Cuban festival let alone one that's been swinging for about 14 years. That's probably because until now it's had such a small footprint, being a simple block party in front of Cubanitas in the heart of Downtown. With their second location opening recently in Drexel Town Square, they now have a much bigger plot to play with and my gut says this festival will continue to get bigger and better. Once again, the music is on point, with Latin music from some of the city's best players; Salsa Power, Clave y Afinque and hard salsa veterans Nabori all taking the stage to keep the dance floor hot. The food should be on point as well.

 

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5 things to do this weekend: June 13-16

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Chris Haise Band

Cool guitar man

Friday at 7 p.m. @ Anodyne Coffee Roasters (Walker's Point)

Chris Haise of Chris Haise Band may have slipped me up a time or two but the music he makes with his band has nonetheless continued to impress. Haise (pronounced Hi-zee) writes catchy stuff from personal experiences. I'm as curious as you should be to hear what's evolved on their 2nd album, Suburban View. You might want to catch their album release this Friday at the Walker's Point Anodyne Coffee. Zach Pietrini (solo) and Cullah & The Comrades make the show more of a full deal; both open and are also pretty dope.

David Gray

David Gray in gray...

Friday at 7 p.m. @ The Riverside Theater

Full disclosure, Grammy nominated artist David Gray's show this Friday is being presented by 88Nine. We also have a live session with him at noon on Friday and that makes me pretty partial to remind you to check out the show. He's on tour with his 11th record, "Gold in a Brass Age," an album that's like his others for me in the sense that it takes a real listen to simmer but earns real respect. He can play. I know tickets are running low so I'd definitely chance this if you're feeling fresh on Friday.

TV Girl

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

TV Girl has this sunny, throwback '60s French pop and California soul sort of vibe fit for today's textural types; a sort of girl-group pop that dallies in hip-hop. Think old school vocal harmonics over sampled beats with vintage rhythms with pop hooks. For me, it's no surprise they've been noticed by fans and tastemakers as they stay steady with new EPs and mixtapes between tours. These cats are risers, worth checking out, and Negative Gemini opens.

Brewsails

I did not photoshop this... this is real

Saturday 6-8 p.m. @ Discovery World

Taking a trip on the water with what made Milwaukee famous is as famously Milwaukee as a fish fry or State Fair. We've probably all taken a jaunt downstream to see the city from the other side and I'm surprised I haven't tried it on the S/V Dennis Sullivan, Milwaukee's iconic and fully vintage tall sail ship. This happens throughout the summer and features a different microbrewery each time. On this one, they're sailing with City Lights Brewing. I guess an old trick can learn a new dog.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit + Father John Misty + Jade Bird

Image aside, this show is a musical menage a trois

Sunday at 7 p.m. @ BMO Harris Pavilion

And here I thought Father John Misty was the one that would headline here... But really, this show is stocked like a Memorial Day mini-fridge; every artist on this bill has headlined their own shows here over the past few years. I just saw FJM at the Riverside last year! So yeah, any day of the week I'd suggest this show. It happens to happen this Sunday if that's your funday.

Alma De Cultura

Friday at 9 p.m. @ The Cooperage

A new monthly event that celebrates Latinx culture through music, food, dance and, most importantly, community. The series highlights different local artists, musicians, performers and more in Milwaukee's Latinx community. Every month, proceeds from the festivities will benefit a different nonprofit, charity or organization that works directly with Latinx communities in Milwaukee. This month will feature Cuatro Uno Cuartro, La Finca Coffeehouse, Adelitas Closet, Coriagraphicarts and more and proceeds will benefit Latino Arts, Inc. A fun way to support while having fun!

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5 things to do this weekend: June 6-9

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PrideFest
Thursday, June 6 - Sunday, June 9 @ Henry Meier Festival Grounds

As far as volunteer operated LBGTQ festivals go, Milwaukee's may be the biggest and the best. Call me biased, but that's worth bragging about. It is also the first big festival of the season and from year to year boasts a dope lineup of performers and an inviting entry to the summer festival season. From Thursday to Sunday on the Summerfest Grounds, PrideFest hosts live music on several stages, lifestyle seminars and workshops and much more. Check out the PrideFest's website for details and get the season started with Milwaukee's first big fest.

Violent Femmes
Thursday, June 6 @ The Riverside Theater, 6:30 p.m.

What's better than a free show from a powerhouse band that happens to call Milwaukee home? I don't have an answer either... Well the deal is thus, Miller Brewing is kinda celebrating its 160 year history in Milwaukee with "thank you" to the city with a Cheers to Milwaukee concert at The Riverside Theater and got the Femmes in for the gig. Definitely a decent summer kickoff; tickets are first come-first served and if you get in you'll also get a free ticket to Summerfest. Deal!

Vampire Weekend + Chicano Batman
Saturday, June 8 @ BMO Harris Pavilion, 8 p.m.

Vampire Weekend have mapped out an expansive North American tour in support of their new double album, "Father of the Bride." The 35-date outing features some of the band's biggest shows to date, including Madison Square Garden in NYC, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado and of course, the BMO Harris Pavilion in Milwaukee this weekend. I joke. But really, Vampire Weekend are killing it on their new album and my favorite "better-than-the-headliner" band Chicano Batman, is opening. This is a proper pre-Summerfest primer right here; if you're the type that sees all the good stuff, this is your concert right here.

Locust Street Festival
Sunday, June 9 @ Locust Street at Humboldt, 11 a.m.

I've never made much of a secret of the fact that Locust Street Festival is my absolute favorite of the street fests. Living in Riverwest'll do that to you. I like the diversity and the informal freshness of this street party. Lots of friendly folks, good food and local music without a corporate feel. Personally, there's nothing I love more than walking Locust Street from end to end, over and over again; shopping, stopping, dancing and drinking in the sun. Check out the Facebook event page for details on bands performing or just trust me and go...

Craig Finn
Sunday, June 9 @ The Back Room at Colectivo, 8 p.m.

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn is in town this Sunday for a show at the Back Room and a live session on our airwaves earlier on that day. Combining literary influences like Jack Kerouac and John Berryman with the musical influences of Bruce Springsteen and fellow Minnesotan Paul Westerberg, Finn's highly descriptive lyrical style has a focus on narrative, crafting whole worlds for people in his songs to exist within.

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5 things to do this weekend: May 24-26

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: May 17-19

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Marcus Doucette's 5 things to do this weekend: May 10-12

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 Things To Do This Weekend: A Cuban musical legend, Derby Day and more

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Whether you're a Bucks fan or a music buff, you've got options this weekend

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

5 things to do this weekend: Apr. 18 - 21

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Five things to do this weekend in Milwaukee

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#1

ZED KENZO backline milwaukee

ZED KENZO performs at the 2018 Backline Showcase

Midwest Music Exchange feat. Zed Kenzo

One of the more interesting events this weekend features the fruit of a project called Midwest Music Exchange; a collaboration and music exchange project with  our sister station like The Current in Minny and Manitoba Music up nort'. The deal is that three bands—one from Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Winnipeg—do a show on each others' turf. That said, Milwaukee is up for this Friday's leg as Zed Kenzo headlines in our hometown. Minneapolis' Lady Lark has a shiny, vigorous disco and R&B sound that you shouldn't sleep on while Winnepag's Silence Kit hits with catchy hooks and melodic guitar riffs. If you haven't heard Zed Kenzo, you should. Alien baby rap is her self-description and I think she's a bizarre lady in the flyest way possible. This show should be lit.

Friday at 10 p.m. @ Company Brewing 

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