April is another great month for indie-rock shows in Milwaukee

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

On this week’s episode, we’re previewing another big month for Milwaukee concerts. Some of the most respected names in indie rock are coming through town, including Spoon (April 23 at the Rave) and Big Thief (April 26 at the Pabst Theater), both of whom have acclaimed new albums out.

Big Thief | Photo credit: Alexa Viscius

That’s on top of shows from Soccer Mommy (April 8 at Turner Hall Ballroom), Cat Power (April 22 at Turner Hall Ballroom), Anais Mitchell (April 29 at Shank Hall), Adia Victoria (April 12 at The Back Room at Colectivo) and Cloud Nothings (April 4 at X-Ray Arcade).

This month also sees the return of Bon Jovi (April 5 at Fiserv Forum) and Elton John (April 2 at Fiserv Forum), who swears that this really will be his final time playing Milwaukee. And, of course, rising star Olivia Rodrigo plays The Rave on April 19, which is likely to be the smallest Milwaukee venue she ever headliners. That’s going to be a memorable one.

Hear us talk about all those shows and many, many more on this week’s episode below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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This year’s Wisconsin Grammy nominees are impossible not to root for

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

Every year on this show, we do an episode where Piet runs down the year’s Grammy nominees either from or living in Wisconsin. And almost every year, I’m surprised by how many there are. With so many Grammy categories and so many credited musicians eligible for awards, there are almost always more local nominees than you might think. Last year there were about a half dozen nominated artists from the Milwaukee area, one of whom took home an award: producer Michael “CameOne” Cerda, who was honored for producing the Kanye West’s track “On God” in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album category.

Sylvan Esso | Photo credit: Kendall Bailey Atwater

This year there aren’t as many local nominees as usual. Piet flags just three Wisconsin nominees, but they’re all near and dear to our hearts. Perennial Grammy favorite Justin Vernon, of Bon Iver, is up for an award as a contributor to Taylor Swift’s Album of the Year candidate “Evermore.” Vernon contributed to five songs on that album, including the title track, which he co-wrote and sang on.

Two other nominees have Milwaukee ties. The electronic pop duo Sylvan Esso (whose members met at Cactus Club while band member and local music veteran Nick Sanborn was still living in the city) is up for a well-deserved Best Dance/Electronic Album nomination for their 2020 album “Free Love.”

Milwaukee guitarist Angie Swan, meanwhile, is represented with a nomination for Spike Lee’s concert film “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” which is up for Best Music Film.

Hear us talk about those nominees — and their chances of winning their respective categories — on this week’s episode below. The Grammys air Sunday, April 3.

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Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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Milwaukee’s rap scene is heating up, but structural barriers remain

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

This week on Tap’d In, we’re talking about some exciting new talent in Milwaukee’s hip-hop scene, including rapper Huey V, who’s been growing an audience both in and outside of the city since signing to Memphis Bleek’s Warehouse Music label, and Cam Will, whose sticky new single “Dance With Me” both Piet and I have had in heavy rotation these last few weeks.

Both of those rappers are exciting, in part, because they break from the usual sounds that have been dominating Milwaukee rap for the last half-decade. In a recent interview, Huey V explained to me that he’s opted for a more cinematic sound with potentially wider appeal than most Milwaukee rap, in hopes of growing an audience that could help shine a light on the city. That’s an approach that historically hasn’t worked for local rappers, but Huey V argues that he really is positioned to break out on a bigger level — and that he can do it without leaving Milwaukee behind for a bigger music hub like Atlanta.

Also on this episode, we praise recent projects from Milwaukee native Donno (whose new album “Kid on Firee” is another exercise in deeply personal writing) and veteran local rapper Blax, who has a lot of fun twisting classic hip-hop traditions on his new project “Angeline.”

We spend the second half of the episode having a “state of Milwaukee rap” conversation. The city’s rap scene has had some big wins over the last couple of years, namely the success of Lakeyah, but it’s also had some big set backs, including the death of one of its most promising young artists, Big Wan.

What’s frustrating, Piet and I agree, is that for all the traction Milwaukee rap has garnered over the last half decade, the city is still missing some key support systems to lift up emerging rappers — including venues and festivals that book Milwaukee rap. Milwaukee rappers have done their part, raising their game and presenting a product that’s ready for a global audience. Now it’s time for the city to step up.

Hear us discuss all that and more on this week’s episode below.

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Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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Alpine Valley is preparing for a bounce back summer

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

We’ve talked a lot on this podcast about how the outdoor concert industry is booming right now, and that’s good news for one of Wisconsin’s biggest outdoor venues, Alpine Valley in East Troy. Recent years have been up and down for the storied venue, which famously didn’t book any shows at all in 2017 and sat dark in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic. But this year is already shaping up to be one of Alpine Valley’s busiest in quite a while, with shows from returning regulars like Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffett and Phish, as well as a July 9 concert from Rage Against the Machine that will be the first on the band’s highly anticipated reunion tour.

Ward 1 Design Alpine Valley | facebook.com/alpinevalleymusictheatre

Piet walks us through the venue’s summer calendar — and explains the surprising popularity of Slipknot to me — on this week’s episode, which you can stream below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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March’s concert lineup proves that concerts are back in a big way

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

Last month we previewed February’s concert calendar, which Piet described as maybe the best he’s ever seen in all of his years covering Milwaukee music. And looking ahead, we could probably make the same argument for Milwaukee’s March concert calendar, which is similarly stacked with great shows.

That’s especially true if you’re a fan of indie rock and alternative rock. In addition to Mitski’s sold-out concert at the Miller High Life Theater, this month will also see shows from Bright Eyes, Girl in Red, Car Seat Headrest, Parquet Courts (with rising star Mdou Moctar), Perfume Genius, Glass Animals and Avett Brothers, as well as an Alt-J and Portugal. The Man double bill.

Mitski | Courtesy photo

Hear us go deep on the shows we’re most excited about on this week’s episode below.

March 2022 Milwaukee concert highlights include:

Darius Rucker – March 3 – The Riverside Theater
Ryley Walker – March 4 – Cactus Club
Parquet Courts and Mdou Moctar – March 11 – Turner Hall Ballroom
Journey and Toto – March 12 – Fiserv Forum
Tank and the Bangas and Cory Henry – March 12 – Turner Hall Ballroom
Mitski – March 15 – Miller High Life Theatre
Car Seat Headrest – March 17 – The Pabst Theater
Alt-J and Portugal. The Man – March 17 – UW Panther Arena
Glass Animals – March 20 – Miller High Life Theatre
Bright Eyes – March 24 – The Riverside Theater
Greet Death – March 24 – Cactus Club
Robert Cray – March 25 – Potawatomi Bingo Hotel And Casino
Girl in Red – March 27 – The Rave
Perfume Genius – March 28 – Turner Hall Ballroom
Trixie Mattel – March 29 – The Riverside Theater
Avett Brothers – March 29 – Miller High Life Theatre
Conan Gray – March 30 – The Rave
The Eagles – March 30 – Fiserv Forum
Emily Scott Robinson – March 30 – Shank Hall

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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This could be a big summer for concerts at American Family Field

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

This is a frustrating time for baseball fans. Spring training was supposed to have started last week, but due to MLB’s ongoing player lockout, this year’s whole baseball season could be in jeopardy. There’s still time for both sides to work out an agreement, and here’s hoping they do soon.

But even if they don’t, we can count on at least a few events happening at American Family Field this summer. As Piet notes, it’s already been a busy year for concert announcements at the stadium. On July 17, it’ll host the Def Leppard and Motley Crue tour with Poison and Joan Jett. And in May it’ll host two concerts from country superstars Eric Church and Kenny Chesney.

American Family Field | facebook.com/amfamfield

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

That’s just three concerts, so it might not sound like much, but that’s actually a historically full schedule for the ballpark. This will be the first time a Milwaukee baseball stadium has hosted two concerts in the same month since June 1975, when The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd both played County Stadium.

Does that mean more concert announcements could be on the way for the ballpark? It’s possible, Piet says, especially given how the concert industry has been going all in on outdoor shows. We talk about the likelihood of Paul McCartney swinging back through down for another concert at the stadium. It could happen, right? (Well, maybe, Piet explains).

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Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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Summerfest won’t require masks or proof of vaccination this year

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

Yesterday Summerfest announced its latest American Family Insurance Amphitheater headliner: Rod Stewart, with openers Cheap Trick. That’s a fairly routine announcement for the festival, but buried in yesterday’s press release from the festival was a piece of information perhaps far more relevant to the average Summerfest attendee.

“Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. does not intend to implement entrance protocols or a mask requirement for Summerfest 2022,” the festival wrote. “There are no plans to require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test. MWF will monitor the situation and continue to work closely with health experts, while following local guidelines.”

That’s a notable policy shift from last year’s Summerfest, when amid a surge of Covid-19 cases driven by the Delta variant the festival followed policies implemented by other major festivals, including Lollapalooza, and required proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test for entry. The festival also required children under 12 to wear a mask.

Summerfest’s attendance fell an incredible 43% last year, and while there were many reasons for that drop (the festival’s shortened nine-day run, its unusual September dates and fears of the Delta variant among them), pushback from concertgoers upset about those Covid-19 safety protocols contributed at least in part.

The festival, no doubt, is hoping to side step those same bruising cultural and policy debates this year, and it has good reason to hope that with rates of Omicron finally falling after a frightening winter surge, there’s the possibility of real normalcy just around the corner. The festival also appears to be following the lead of Coachella, which just announced that its April dates will not have any Covid-19 entrance protocols.

Piet and I share our gut reactions to the news on this week’s episode, which you can stream below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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The concert industry is increasingly banking on outdoor concerts

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

Like many of our listeners, this week we’re looking forward to the return of Mitten Fest, the annual cold-weather music festival outside of Burnhearts in Bay View. For those of us who have been skittish about seeing indoor concerts amid the continued Omicron surge, it’s a chance to check out some great live music in a lower-risk environment than a crowded club or theater.

While Mitten Fest is the only major outdoor concert in Milwaukee this month, it’s just one of many outdoor concerts the city is expected to see this year. That’s in part, as Piet explains on this week’s episode, because the concert industry is increasingly banking on outdoor concerts as a safer, most logistical alternative amid the pandemic. Last week pop star Halsey made a big point of stating that all shows on their upcoming tour (including one at Summerfest) would take place at outdoor venues. And previously The Weeknd gambled on rescheduling his tour of mostly indoor arenas at outdoor stadiums.

Summerfest’s BMO Harris Pavilion | Photo courtesy Summerfest

That push toward more outdoor shows means it’s likely to be a big year for Summerfest’s American Family Insurance Amphitheater and BMO Harris Pavilion, both of which have already announced some shows outside of Summerfest, including a Haim concert at the BMO Harris Pavilion and a just-announced Josh Groban concert at the amphitheater.

That’s not to say indoor shows are going anywhere, of course. Dua Lipa, Tyler, The Creator, Elton John, Imagine Dragons and Journey are all scheduled to play Fiserv Forum this spring, and most of those shows are selling well. But, as Piet notes, many concerts are still experiencing high levels of no shows, and some concerts aren’t selling like you might have expected them to before the pandemic. For instance, many tickets are still available for Bon Jovi’s Fiserv Forum performance April 5. Audience age seems to be a big factor: touring artists with predominantly younger fans are doing just fine; artists with older draws may be feeling the effects of the pandemic more.

You can hear us get into all of this on this week’s episode below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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How the pandemic is actually bringing some concerts to Milwaukee

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

Last week, Dua Lipa announced that she’ll perform her first-ever show in Milwaukee at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 23. The star caliber of that concert alone is noteworthy — it’s not every day one of the world’s biggest pop acts announces a show in Milwaukee. But even more unusual is the timing of the concert announcement: She announced the show less than one month before the date. Arena shows are almost never announced just weeks ahead of time. There must be a story there, right?

Harry Styles | Courtesy photo

And sure enough, there is. As Piet explains on this week’s episode of Tap’d In, Milwaukee was a beneficiary of some last-minute tour rerouting. Because of much stricter Covid-19 regulations in Canada, some touring artists have had to reroute their tours back into the United States after show cancellations.

Dua Lipa is just one of at least three concerts that’s been brought to Milwaukee that way over the last half year or so. Harry Styles’ sold-out show at Fiserv Forum was the result of similar rerouting, as was Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy’s Hella Mega tour last summer. It’s ironic: The very pandemic that has resulted in so many concert cancelations across the city has also helped bring a few big shows here.

Listen to Piet explain how all this works on this week’s episode below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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This will be one of the biggest Februaries for Milwaukee concerts ever

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Every Thursday on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Evan Rytlewski — talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

On this week’s episode, we’re previewing Milwaukee’s February concert calendar, which is surprisingly stacked. Despite the ongoing Omicron surge (which has already cancelled or postponed several February shows, and will likely lead to the cancellation of at least a few more), many venues are bringing in some of their biggest and most notable shows since the start of the pandemic.

In fact, Piet says, this is the most stacked February lineup he’s seen since he started reporting on Milwaukee music more than a decade ago.

The War on Drugs | Creative Commons

Among the shows on our radar this month:

Tyler, The Creator @ Fiserv Forum, Feb. 24

Dua Lipa @ Fiserv Forum, Feb. 23

Low @ Cactus Club, Feb. 17

Lucy Dacus @ Turner Hall Ballroom, Feb. 14

The War on Drugs @ The Riverside Theater, Feb. 12 and 13

Beach House @ The Riverside Theater, Feb. 27

Slash @ The Riverside Theater, Feb. 28

Black Violin @ Marcus Center, Feb. 3

Chai @ Cactus Club, Feb. 5

Joshua Ray Walker @ Shank Hall, Feb. 5

Devotchka @ The Back Room at Colectivo, Feb. 10

Ghost and Volbeat @ Fiserv Forum, Feb. 20

Ian Sweet @ The Back Room at Colectivo, Feb. 16

Ashley McBryde @ The Pabst Theater, Feb. 25

Imagine Dragons @ Fiserv Forum, Feb. 25

Even if some of those shows get cancelled, that still adds up to one undeniable month for the city. Hear us discuss which of these shows we’re most excited about on this week’s episode below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get your local fix with our Radio Milwaukee podcasts. Feast your ears with our food podcast, This Bites. Explore Milwaukee with our history podcast, Urban Spelunking. Follow the Milwaukee music scene with Tap’d In. And delve into the latest movies with our film podcast, Cinebuds. Plus listen to the latest season of our new podcast Diverse Disruptors. Subscribe to them anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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