This Week in Milwaukee: June 22-28, 2017
Peak Milwaukee festival season continues with Greek Fest, Summer Soulstice, Garlic Fest and, oh yeah, Summerfest.
Friday, June 23
La La Land in Concert @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.
If we see more original musical films in the coming years—and it’s a safe bet we will—you can thank the runaway success of La La Land for that. Damien Chazelle’s Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone romantic comedy was a massive hit with audiences and critics alike, winning a record seven Golden Globes and six Academy Awards (and thanks to the Oscar’s instantly infamous gaffe, it was briefly handed a seventh). With its candy-colored visuals, the movie was meant to be seen on the big screen, and it’s likely to seem even grander at these two weekend screenings, which will feature a live accompaniment from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. (Also Saturday, June 24.)
Greek Fest @ State Fair Park, 11 a.m.
The Greeks have given so much wonderful art, literature and philosophy to the world that it’s easy to overlook one of their other great contributions: discovering a cheese that tastes absolutely incredible when you light it on fire. You can grab some of said cheese, along with a customary gyro or souvlaki, at Milwaukee’s annual Greek Festival, now in its 52nd year, but food is hardly this festival’s only draw. Traditional performances, including dancing and music, keep the crowd on their feet, and there’s also a Greek market and a midway with carnival rides. (Through Sunday, June 25.)
Saturday, June 24
Summer Soulstice @ North Avenue, noon
Each year the East Side celebrates the first day of summer with this North Avenue bash, featuring an arts fair, creation stations, dodgeball and BMX stunt bikes, family friendly activities and plenty of food. Now in its 17th year, the festival will feature three stages of music, with headliners this year including De La Buena, The Fatty Acids, Platinum Boys, Antler House, Painted Caves, Lex Allen, Whips, WebsterX and Midwest Death Rattle, among many, many others.
Radio Milwaukee Block Party @ Radio Milwaukee, 3 p.m.
Over its 10-year run, Radio Milwaukee 88.9 has grown from a modest community station operating out of an unassuming stretch of a Milwaukee public studio to a major powerhouse with its own glamorous headquarters in Walker’s Point. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the station is throwing this free block party outside of its studio space at East Pittsburgh Avenue and South Barclay Street, featuring a host of local and national names. The poetic Chicago rapper Noname—a Chance The Rapper collaborator who proved herself a star in her own right on her 2016 album Telefone—will headline, supported by indie rocker Strand of Oaks and Milwaukeeans Field Report, REYNA, D’Amato and Abby Jeanne. Extra cause for celebration: This week the station launched a 24-hour broadcast called 414Music.fm, which will play Milwaukee music old and new around the clock on a live stream and HD2 radio channel.
Dummerfest @ The Metal Grill, 1 p.m.
Back in 2015, The Metal Grill in Cudahy hosted Dummerfest, a one-day blowout featuring a marathon of punk, pop-punk and hardcore bands. The festival didn’t return in 2016, but that doesn’t mean it was a one-and-done affair: It hosts its belated second installment this weekend, with a lineup featuring acts from labels like Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords, including Milwaukee pop-punk mainstays Direct Hit! Other acts on the bill include Off With Their Heads, Negative Approach, Pears, The Copyrights, Typesetter, The Brokedowns, Rational Anthem, Head Collector, 83 Wolfpack and Avenues.
Sunday, June 25
Garlic Fest @ Braise, noon-4 p.m.
Yes, you really can smell Garlic Fest from blocks away. Each summer a slew of Walker’s Point restaurants crowd Second Street for Braise’s annual Garlic Fest, now in its seventh year, offering a variety of pungent, garlic-based dishes. The event also features music, crafts, arts vendors, garlic-themed games and drinks from local distillers and brewers. Looking to wash that garlicy taste out of your mouth? The festival’s green garlic Bloody Marys are probably the wrong thing to order, then, but that doesn’t stop them from hitting the spot.
Wednesday, June 28
Red Hot Chili Peppers w/ Deerhoof and Jack Irons @ American Family Insurance
Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m.
Few people pegged Red Hot Chili Peppers as the kind of band that would be around for decades when they first debuted in the early ’80s with a decidedly youthful blend of funk, punk and hip-hop. But here we are 30 years later, and they’ve proven themselves one of the best-selling bands of all time, selling more than 80 million records. And amazingly, they still sound pretty youthful—on their 11th studio album, 2016’s The Getaway, they proved that they still have energy to burn. The record marks a first for the group: It’s their first time recording with producer Danger Mouse. He inherited the boards from Rick Rubin, who’d been the band’s go-to producer for 25 years and six albums, including all of their biggest hits.
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears @ Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Stemming from Austin’s fertile music scene, Black Joe Lewis enjoyed a breakout year in 2009, when his many performances with his band the Honeybears bowled over every critic who caught him. In hindsight, it’s remarkable Lewis had stayed under the radar for so long: His funky, blown-out blend of soul and blues is so raucous and joyous it makes even The Black Keys seem tame by comparison. On his group’s fifth album, this winter’s Backlash, Lewis throws down his usual punky energy over a set of slick, horn-laden tracks.
Moody Blues @ BMO Harris Pavilion, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Known for their jazz-tinted symphonic rock, The Moody Blues rose to fame among British bands after the release of their orchestral second album, 1967’s Days of Future Passed, which yielded the psychedelic singles “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin.” Since then, The Moody Blues have remained one of England’s most prog-rock groups, producing more than a dozen more albums and pioneering the integration of classical sounds into ’70s rock. Amazingly, the group celebrated its 50th anniversary a few years back, and though the band hasn’t been immune to lineup changes—founding flautist Ray Thomas retired in 2002—remaining members Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward and John Lodge have continued to log countless miles on tour each year.