Welcome to November: what’s happening in Milwaukee this month
Let’s face it: November can be a tough month, what with the onset of frigid weather and the looming specter of sitting uncomfortably with your family before, during, and after Thanksgiving dinner. But never fear, because Milwaukee has plenty musical, filmic, and comedic distractions to keep you from putting your head in the oven along with the turkey.
Club shows of note
One of the hottest venues in town this month is the Cactus Club, which is currently in the throes of its 15th anniversary blowout. Milwaukee’s Group Of The Altos team up with Little Scream for a show Nov. 4, while former Pedro The Lion singer-songwriter David Bazan stops by Nov. 9. Hot on the heels of their new album, Breaks In The Armor, Eric Bachmann and Crooked Fingers play a can’t-miss show Nov. 12. The following week, Milwaukee music blog Seizure Chicken celebrates its Fall Fest with two nights of music, including Secret Colours on Nov. 18 and the terrific Canopies Nov. 19. Finally, post-rock heroes Collections Of Colonies Of Bees close out the month with a triumphant return to the Cactus Club Nov. 26.
Elsewhere, King Khan And BBQ Show member Mark Sultan plays Club Garibaldi Nov. 4, the Takeover Freestyle Battle holds its final competition the same night at Stonefly, and Mastodon sludges things up at The Rave Nov. 12.
Big-ticket theater entertainment
The Riverside Theater, Pabst Theater, and Turner Hall continue to pull out all the stops this November with some big names, some bigger names, and a few huge names. Blitzen Trapper and Dawes take over Turner Nov. 5, and The Civil Wars stop by Nov. 8. The following night, it’s a toss-up between The Jayhawks at Turner Hall and legendary Kinks frontman Ray Davies at the Pabst. Nov. 11 is a no-brainer, as the one and only Paul Simon plays a rare show at the Riverside. John Mellencamp performs at the venue Nov. 16, while The Avett Brothers hunker down for a two-night stint Nov. 18 and 19. (The Saturday show is sold out.) And for those already looking forward to Christmas, the permanently Photoshopped Kenny Rogers drops by the Riverside Nov. 27 for a night of holiday tunes.
Movies, dance, and Neil Hamburger
If live music isn’t your bag, there are still plenty of events to keep you busy all month long. On the movie front, the Times Cinema will screen The Swell Season beginning Nov. 4, and both My Own Private Idaho and The Evil Dead beginning Nov. 11. The UWM Union Cinema will screen the fascinating Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton bomb Boom! beginning Nov. 3, as well as the 1969 Robert Redford/Gene Hackman character study Downhill Racer beginning Nov. 11. Not to be outdone, the Oriental Theater welcomes the Found Vs. Found tour Nov. 15, which finds the Found Footage Festival squaring off against Found Magazine.
For fans of modern dance and brooding goth legend Nick Cave, the two come together at last Nov. 5 at Alverno’s Pitman Theater, as part of the Stephen Petronio Company’s Underland. The same night will also find WMSE Station Manager Tom Crawford presiding over the fourth installment of Ex Fabula’s “Terminal Milwaukee” series, taking place at the Sherman Perk Coffee Shop.
Dying for some laughter? Be sure to check out the comedic stylings of Neil Hamburger, who performs tonight at the Cactus Club. Sure, Hamburger’s shtick is more “uncomfortably funny” than “funny,” but then again, so is Thanksgiving dinner with your relatives. Consider it research and write it off on your taxes.