This Week in Milwaukee: August 7-13
Thursday, Aug. 7
Home Brewed Beer and Label Competition @ Brenner Brewing Company, 6 p.m.
For the second year in a row, AIGA Wisconsin and Brenner Brewing Company hosted their Home Brewed Beer and Label Competition this summer, calling on home brewers and illustrators to create custom craft beer and visually engaging labels. Tonight the public is invited to sample the entries for themselves, and to vote for their favorites. The event, held at Brenner’s new Walker’s Point brewery, will also feature samples of Brenner beer.
Summerland Tour @ Wisconsin State Fair Main Stage, 7 p.m.
Hey, remember the ’90s? With nostalgia for the Clinton years at an all-time high, a cast of alternative rock bands from that era have teamed up for the Summerland Tour, an annual celebration of the glory days of modern rock. Past tours have included Sugar Ray, Marcy Playground, Filter, Live, Sponge and Gin Blossoms. This year’s is similarly heavy on mid-’90s acts that split the difference between punky alternative and bubblegum grunge: Eve 6, Soul Asylum, Spacehog and tour co-founders Everclear, who have anchored each year of the tour since its 2012 inception.
Milwaukee Comedy Festival @ Next Act Theater, 6 p.m.
Featuring comedy acts from the Midwest and beyond, the Milwaukee Comedy Festival is now in its ninth year. The festival brings together a range of comedic forms such as sketch, improv and stand-up for nine shows over four days. Milwaukee acts such as Organized Chaos, Sketch Marks and Eric Koconis will be performing in addition to groups from as far away as Canada. (Through Sunday, Aug. 10.)
Friday, Aug. 8
Arab World Festival @ Summerfest Grounds
Scheduling conflicts with Ramadan observances caused Milwaukee’s Arab World Fest to take a year off last year, but the festival returns to the lakefront this weekend for three days of regional cuisine, music, dance performances and authentic crafts representing more than 20 Arab countries. Perhaps more than any of the other city’s ethnic festivals, Arab World Fest aims beyond just sights and sounds, with church services, hookah, poetry and an Arab Film Festival. For the younger audience, the festival will also include henna, camel rides and arts and crafts workshops. (Through Sunday, Aug. 10.)
Waukesha BluesFest @ Naga-Waukee Park, 1 p.m.
Now in its eighth year, the two-day Waukesha BluesFest has established itself as one of the state’s biggest blues blowouts, drawing diverse lineups loaded with luminaries and emerging talent. Each day features seven performers, who run the gamut from Memphis blues to Chicago blues to Mississippi blues—if there’s a city known for its own style of blues, it’s represented here. Headlining Friday night is Canned Heat, the Woodstock veterans behind flower-power hits “On The Road Again” and “Going Up The Country.” Saturday night’s closer is Curtis Salgado, the soulful singer/harpist who cut his teeth in the Robert Cray Band. Other performers include Selwyn Birchwood, Extra Crispy Brass Band, Trampled Under Foot, Steve Cohen and Tweed Funk. (Also Saturday, Aug. 9.)
Saturday, Aug. 9
Austin Mahone w/ VAMPS, Fifth Harmony and Shawn Mendes @ The Rave, 7 p.m.
Like Justin Bieber, the singer to whom he’s most often compared, teen pop singer Austin Mahone was discovered by posting videos of himself on YouTube, including a cover of Bieber’s song “Mistletoe.” Mahone’s not trying to reinvent the teen-pop wheel, then, but rather simply trying to keep it spinning, and so far the tweens have been responding. This year he released his second EP, The Secret, which attempts to reach beyond the Radio Disney set with loud EDM influences aimed at a Top 40 crowd and a guest verse from rapper Pitbull, but it’s still a very wholesome affair.
Smokey Robinson @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
Throughout the ’60s, Smokey Robinson was the most prolific figure in Motown, writing dozens of hits both for his own group, The Miracles, and for the label’s other stars, including The Four Tops, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. He continued to be a trailblazer as a solo artist in the ’70s, taking R&B in softer directions with his 1975 album A Quiet Storm. He’s recorded only intermittently since the ’90s, but in 2006 he released the covers collection Timeless Love, which he followed in 2009 with a strong album of smooth new material, Time Flies When You’re Having Fun.
Monday, Aug. 11
Boris w/ The Atlas Moth and SubRosa @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.
Named for a Melvins song, Japan’s Boris distinguish themselves from other experimental metal bands through sheer eclecticism. In addition to the usual sludge and drone influences, the band also draws generously from noise-rock, shoegaze, punk, post-punk and psychedelic pop. They’ve covered a lot of ground in their two decades together, and their latest album, the aptly titled Noise, feels like the culmination of everything they’ve done. It’s louder and more aggressive than some of their recent material, yet it’s consistently beautiful, flushed with inventive guitar lines and surprising song structures.
Milky Moonlight @ Milwaukee Rowing Club Boathouse, 6:15 p.m.
The ninth annual Milky Moonlight event offers canoers and kayakers the opportunity to view the cityscape from a vantage point both near and removed from Downtown. Moving from the Rowing Club boathouse on the lower East Side to the lake and back again, the event offers a chance to experience a nighttime paddle along the Milwaukee River and is co-sponsored by Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the River Alliance of Wisconsin.
Wednesday, Aug. 13
NEWaukee Night Market @ Moire Pavilion, 5 p.m.
The Night Market at Moire Pavilion on Wisconsin Avenue brings together food, drink and craft vendors once a month through October. Sponsored by NEWaukee, the event features select artists at various stations through the market, offering street sculptures, poetry readings and urban hikes. There are also food trucks providing a diverse array of ethnic foods and a beer garden for thirsty patrons. The corridor created by vendor tents on Wisconsin and inside of the wooden pavilion offers opportunities for both shopping and interacting with art installations and displays.
Willie Nelson @ Potawatomi Hotel and Casino, 8 p.m.
After briefly retiring in the early ’70s following declining success, Willie Nelson relocated to Austin, Texas, where he would become a figurehead of the emerging outlaw country scene, which eschewed the more pop-oriented Nashville music scene for a sound rooted in traditional country and folk influences. A long procession of albums that played up his outlaw-hippie image followed, including one of his most successful albums, 1975’s Red Headed Stranger. Despite a tax scandal that left him temporarily in debt and a health scare or two, Nelson has continued to release new music each year, and to perform with his battered and beloved guitar Trigger at his side, performing hits such as “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain,” “Good Hearted Woman,” and “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time.” (Also Thursday, Aug. 14.)