Welcome to the week: July 29-August 2
Is there anything better than the Wisconsin State Fair? No, no there is not. After all, where else can you take in a pig race, enjoy the musical stylings of those two dudes from The Turtles, renew your fishing license, and put your long-term health on the line with a single bite of a Thanksgiving-style-deep-fried-butter-hot-dog-covered-in-barbeque-flavored-bacon-and-butter-on-a-butter-covered stick? Nowhere, thank goodness.
Yes, the State Fair, which opens its manure-encrusted gates this Thursday, highlights yet another busy summer week in Milwaukee. The musical entertainment for this year’s fair is, of course, all over the map (Heart! Vince Neil! Some Christian band!), but we’re really, really excited for the one and only “Weird Al” Yankovic. The weird one will bring his vast repertoire of food and Internet-related parody songs to the fair Friday night, in a show that is sure to feature plenty of costume changes, a few clips from 1989’s UHF, and at least one life-affirming polka medley. After a few years spent playing theaters and casinos, it’s good to have Al back in his natural habitat: a state fair.
But this week isn’t all terrifying food-things and accordions. Thursday night finds Bethany Cosentino’s Best Coast injecting the gloomy Rave with a shot of kitties and sun-bleached summer jams, and Justin Vernon’s newly minted Shouting Matches making their Milwaukee debut at Turner Hall. For those looking to shop local, noise-pop outfit Like Like The The The Death storms into Frank’s Power Plant Thursday night in advance of its new album, Cave Jenny, due this October. On Friday night, tireless local musician Quinn Scharber celebrates the long-delayed vinyl release of his 2011 album Every Other at Hotel Foster, while the equally tireless Fatty Acids play Linneman’s before heading out on tour and releasing their third full-length, Boléro, in September. Also on Friday night, the always excellent Canopies take their irresistible new-wave electro-pop to the water for a can’t-miss Milwaukee Boat Line Concert Cruise.
Finally, Milwaukee’s music scene may get the lion’s share of local press, but the city’s comedy scene has been gaining plenty of steam in the last few years. The eighth annual Milwaukee Comedy Festival gets underway this Thursday, bringing oodles of local (and national) stand-up, improv, and sketch to Next Act Theatre. (Read our feature story here.) The fest runs through Sunday, and nicely compliments a week stuffed with funny food, funny songs about food, and noted funnyman Justin Vernon.