Milwaukee’s 8 can’t-miss shows of summer 2013 (non-Summerfest edition)
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Summerfest may lay claim to some of the biggest names during Milwaukee’s festival season (Tom Petty, Rush, David Seebach’s Wonders Of Magic), but there are plenty of can’t-miss shows before and after the Big Gig. Here are eight that we’re really, really looking forward to.
The Fatty Acids + Jaill at Mad Planet (June 15)
Is there a better way to kick off the summer than with two of the best bands Milwaukee has to offer? No, of course not. The Fatty Acids continue to be one of the city’s most boisterous, high-energy groups (with a stage show to match), while Jaill is still riding high on its criminally underrated sophomore Sub Pop album, Traps. Plus, there’s nothing better than hanging out in the sweltering doom and gloom of Mad Planet in the summer.
Old 97’s + Trapper Schoepp And The Shades at Turner Hall (June 20)
Alt-country may go in and out of fashion on a yearly (if not monthly) basis, but there’s no denying that Old 97’s were among the first—and the best—acts to popularize the genre. The Dallas, Texas band is still touring in support of 2010’s The Grand Theater, Volume One and 2011’s The Grand Theater, Volume Two, a pair of albums that were hatched in Dallas’ historic Sons Of Hermann Hall. Joining Old ’97s in Milwaukee’s historic Turner Hall will be Brew City’s own Trapper Schoepp And The Shades, who are still riding high on their SideOneDummy re-released album from 2011, Run, Engine, Run.
Paul McCartney at Miller Park (July 16)
The former lead singer of Wings and star of Give My Regards To Broad Street needs no introduction, so we won’t even bother. Sure, tickets for McCartney’s first Milwaukee show in nearly a decade top out at $255, but when else are you going to see a former Beatle do an inevitable “Hey Jude” encore in the Miller Park outfield? If tickets are just too rich for your blood, rumor has it that Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band might be opening in Helfaer Field. Okay, probably not, but we can dream.
Melvins + Mudhoney at Turner Hall (July 21)
The Melvins certainly aren’t strangers to Milwaukee (they played here last in May of 2012), but when fellow grunge/sludge veteran Mudhoney comes along for the ride, we take notice and get excited. Making this July show even better is the fact that it marks the Melvins’ 30th anniversary, and the fact that Mudhoney is only playing on the Melvins’ Milwaukee and Minneapolis tour dates.
Steve Martin And The Steep Canyon Rangers at Riverside Theater (July 24)
Though Steve Martin may be better known as a legendary comedian, a legendary movie star, and one of the Three Amigos, he’s also made quite the name for himself as a legitimate banjo virtuoso. (The instrument has been a staple of his act ever since his early stand-up days.) Not that there aren’t plenty of laughs to be found in Martin’s reinvention as a “serious” artist: When he played Milwaukee in 2010, he ended with his signature tune, “King Tut.” Expect to hear it again when he plays the Riverside with Edie Brickell this summer.
Foxygen at Turner Hall (July 28)
There’s little doubt that We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic—the third album from California indie duo Foxygen—will end up on approximately 8,000 “best of” lists by the end of 2013. Happily, the record deserves it. Filled with nods to everything from ’60 AM rock and French pop to Motown and The Rolling Stones, Ambassadors is easily one of the year's most accomplished, easy-to-love albums in a genre that often seems closed-off and stale.
The Shouting Matches at Turner Hall (August 1)
It’s been a few moons since Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon dominated the headlines with his VMA disses, Northern Exposure-themed tattoo contests, and bro-tacular workout videos. But instead of holing up in a remote cabin and writing down his feelings (again), Vernon has been using his time away to shepherd a new, less pensive band into existence: The Shouting Matches. The Vernon-led blues-rock outfit—which includes Phil Cook of Megafaun and Brian Moen of Peter Wolf Crier—released its debut album, Grownass Man, earlier this spring, and makes its Milwaukee debut this summer. For even more of Vernon, be sure to see him again as part of Volcano Choir September 28 at the Pabst Theater.
The National at Riverside Theater (August 5)
Over the course of its last three albums, The National has gone from brooding, semi-obscurity to brooding, indie-rock behemoth. That transformation hasn’t been without its growing pains, with the band being unfairly maligned for being a bunch of boring white dudes making boring white-dude music. But forget all that, because The National’s newest album, Trouble Will Find Me, is anything but dull, and finds the group truly coming into its own. It’s only been two years since The National played Milwaukee, but seeing the group at the height of its popularity (and arguably its power) should be a late-summer treat.