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This Week in Milwaukee: July 13-19, 2017

Jul. 11, 2017
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Photo credit: Mary McCartney

Summerfest may be over, but there’s no shortage of outdoor music events this weekend.


Thursday, July 13

Josh Ritter @ The Back Room at Colectivo, 7 p.m.

Photo credit: Laura Wilson
Folk singer-songwriter Josh Ritter has been turning heads with his literary lyrics and expressive performances. In 2016, he collaborated with the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir on the renowned musician’s first solo album in 10 years, and novelist Stephen King commended Ritter’s album The Animal Years as “the most exuberant outburst of imagery since Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.’” In preparation for a new album, Ritter’s been testing unfinished songs on tour this year, getting audience feedback and tweaking them accordingly. As such, each show is a little different and attendees get the chance to hear songs that will never sound quite the same again.

Thriftones w/ Avon Dale @ Bremen Cafe, 9:30 p.m.
Milwaukee’s own Thriftones are known for genre-diverse tunes that sound both familiar and surprising. Their music is at times funky, bluesy, soft and aggressive, depending on the tune. Self-described as “folkadelic,” the four-piece folk-rockers have been a staple in the local music scene since 2011. The Memphis, Tenn.-based rock band Avon Dale will open for them at this show.

Bastille Days @ Cathedral Square Park
One of the largest French-themed festivals in the country, Bastille Days returns for its 36th year this weekend for another four days of live music, French and Cajun cuisine, roaming buskers, food demonstrations and wine tastings. As always, the event will kick off with a Thursday 5K run-2K walk and will feature a 43-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower. (Through Sunday, July 16.) 


Friday, July 14

AURA Music Series: Abby Jeanne @ Milwaukee Athletic Club, 8 p.m.
Summerfest is done for the year, but another music series is just getting started. For the next eight weeks, the Milwaukee Athletic Club will host a series of free, 21-and-older shows on its gorgeous rooftop. Performers for the AURA Music Series will include a mix of local and national bands, including Goldford, Listening Party and Sidewalk Chalk. For this inaugural installment of AURA’s 2017 season, Milwaukee soul-rock singer Abby Jeanne will show off her incredible, Janis Joplin-sized voice.

City Limits Fest @ City Lounge, 5:30 p.m.
Though Milwaukee isn’t exactly known as a haven for contemporary country music, it still has a huge following here. Each year, Cudahy’s City Lounge does its part to help feed the demand for country shows with its City Limits Fest, which this year includes two days of young country artists. Friday’s lineup is headlined by singer Granger Smith, who will be supported by Earl Dibbles Jr., Beaumont James, The Piss Poor Players and The Incident. On Saturday, the band Parmalee tops a lineup that includes RaeLynn, Jay Matthes and Myles Wangerin.

Diana Ross w/ Rhonda Ross @ BMO Harris Pavilion, 8 p.m.
Motown superstar Diana Ross began her career as the leader of the iconic ’60s girl group the Supremes before becoming one of the most influential pop-soul singers around by the early ’70s, and still to-date. Her best hits include “I’m Coming Out,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Endless Love” and “You Are Everything,” all of which contributed to her Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Grammys. Ross’ daughter, singer-songwriter and actress Rhonda Ross, will open for her legendary mother with her own style of jazzy neo-soul music.

South Shore Frolics @ South Shore Park
With the possible exception of the Art Stop and anything related to parking, nothing fires up Bay View residents quite like the South Shore Frolics—the annual old-school celebration at South Shore Park. For longtime Bay View residents, it’s one of the neighborhood’s great traditions, but in recent years, newer arrivals to the neighborhood have cast it as something of a nuance, grumbling about the sometimes rowdy crowds. The festival’s parade has been canceled this year due to a budget shortfall, but other festivities, including a Friday fish fry, Sunday classic car show and an art show, will go on as scheduled. Both Friday and Saturday night will conclude with a massive “Atomic Fireworks” display on the beach. (Through Sunday, July 16.)


Saturday, July 15

Milwaukee Air & Water Show @ Bradford Beach, 10 a.m.
Possibly the loudest of the city’s many annual summer traditions, this year’s Milwaukee Air & Water Show returns for another two days of zipping, zooming, roaring displays from military and competitive aircraft. This year, the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Firebirds X-Treme Team, One Aviation Eclipse Demonstration Team, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and stunt pilot Bill Stein will be among the many showboats making East Siders close their windows.

Gathering on The Green: Daya @ Rotary Park, Mequon, 7:30 p.m.
This weekend, Mequon’s Rotary Park hosts two concerts with two very different target demographics. For music fans of a certain age, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald will co-headline a bill on Friday, July 14 at 8 p.m., but the event has lined up a decidedly more contemporary act for Saturday, July 15: rising pop singer Daya. The teenage singer landed a hit with her slinky 2015 single “Hide Away,” but it was as a featured artist with The Chainsmokers that she scored an even bigger smash, “Don’t Let Me Down,” which took home a Grammy this winter for Best Dance Recording.

Brandy Clark w/ Nora Collins @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

Photo credit: David McClister
Brandy Clark is a country singer-songwriter and four-time Grammy Award nominee. Big-time country stars like LeAnn Rimes, Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves and The Band Perry have recorded Clark’s songs, but she’s a solo draw in her own right. She’s on tour now to support her second studio album, Big Day in a Small Town, which has sold out venues across the country. It’s the follow-up to 2013’s 12 Stories, the album that won over critics and fans alike and topped many best-of-the-year lists.


Sunday, July 16

Elvis Costello and The Imposters @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
“I had a dream once or so I thought / I’d be a pilot or an astronaut,” Elvis Costello sings on “Oh Well.” “I had a dream like that until I found / Even an astronaut goes into the ground.” These lyrics may be true, but Costello’s prolific music will surely live on forever. The new wave rocker entered the music scene 40 years ago this month with My Aim Is True, and rock ’n’ roll hasn’t been the same since. Costello mixed a moody persona with nerdy social incompetence and pop music mastery into a combination the world ate up. Fans attending his shows these days can look forward to set lists comprised of some of his greatest hits as well as a sampling of the rarer, underrated treasures in the musician’s vast discography.


Monday, July 17

David Dondero w/ Lady Cannon & King Courteen @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
Not all great musicians get the consideration they deserve. Indie rock artist David Dondero is one underappreciated talent who, despite acclaim from critics—including NPR, who labeled Dondero one of their 10 “best living songwriters”—really hasn’t garnered an exceptional listening or fanbase. His 20-year-span in the business has been a thriller, though, for both himself and any fans paying enough attention to ride along. Dondero released Inside the Cat’s Eye to stellar reviews this year and is showcasing its beautiful songs on this tour.


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