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More live, more local: ‘State of Sound’ gets a new look for 2024

We’re lucky to have the gathering space at our Walker’s Point studios. You won’t find anything like it at most radio stations, and we get excited every time we get to kick open our doors and welcome you inside.

We also put in a lot of work to make sure you have the best possible experience. A perfect example: season two of our live concert series, State of Sound. We loved jump-starting this project last year and giving artists across Wisconsin a place to showcase their talent. But we wanted to do more.

In 2024, we will.

Starting on Saturday, Feb. 3, State of Sound goes from a weekly show featuring one artist to a monthly concert with a full lineup of music. It’s all about making the live experience not just feel bigger, but actually be bigger. Every month, you’ll be able to walk into Radio Milwaukee on a Saturday night for a true concert experience and walk out feeling even more connected to the local music scene.

“Picture this: three hours of live music with four talented Wisconsin musicians and acts,” State of Sound host Kenny Perez said of the renewed format. “It’s all about creating an awesome, unforgettable musical experience that’ll bring even more joy to our audience.”

The doors will open at 7 p.m. for every State of Sound event, with our partners from Discourse waiting inside to put a beverage in your hand for the concert, which will run from 8 to 11 p.m. Helping us get the new season started Feb. 3 is a loaded slate of artists from right here in our backyard:

  • Sleepy Gaucho, whose throwback sound is about to get a new chapter with the release of album True Love Corridor on March 15.
  • dak duBois, who will bring his carefully melded indie-psych-funk-soul back to State of Sound after joining us last month.
  • Wave Chapelle, another State of Sound alum and one of the most prolific hip-hop artists operating in Milwaukee today, whose deluxe version of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop hit streaming last month.
  • Scam Likely, the self-described “indie-punk thunderstorm from Milwaukee” who is just about to celebrate the first birthday of debut album Getting Worse.

But State of Sound isn’t just about showcasing artists; it’s also our opportunity to support them — and not just by playing their music on 88Nine and here on the website. We’re talking financial support. We want to put money in their pockets for playing our space, which is why we decided to make State of Sound a ticketed event.

You can pick those up for $15 either online or at the door, and that allows us to rightfully reimburse these artists for the hard work that goes into their craft. We're also offering a discount if you become a Radio Milwaukee member at the $120 level, which includes a punch card that gets you into State of Sound every month for a full year. To access the discount, sign up as a sustaining member here or make a one-time gift.

“Supporting State of Sound means supporting Milwaukee’s creative economy,” 88Nine program director Jordan Lee said. “88Nine has been championing local talent since we hit the airwaves, and now we get to do that in person and invite Milwaukee’s indie music lovers to do the same.

“The series ensures that artists and bands can thrive here, with stage time that empowers them financially. Our attendees and supporters are changing Milwaukee’s state of creative economic impact.”

As if that wasn’t enough, we’re getting another member of the 88Nine team involved: music director Erin Wolf, who will host a companion State of Sound podcast. Every week, she’ll welcome a local artist for a deep dive into one of their songs, providing yet another platform for Wisconsin musicians to connect with a wider audience.

That’s a lot to process, but we’ll leave you with a simple invitation: Join us Saturday, Feb. 3, for the very first installment of this renewed State of Sound live experience. Mark it on your calendar, get your $15 ticket online right now, and we’ll see you in just a couple weeks.