This Week in Milwaukee: Aug. 17-23, 2017
Irish Fest, Punk Fest, Guitar Fest and Breadfest highlight a week with even more festivals than usual.
Thursday, Aug. 17
Milwaukee Irish Fest @ Summerfest Grounds
If whiskey, potatoes and leprechauns still dominate your thoughts when you think of Ireland, allow Milwaukee Irish Fest to introduce you to the full scope of Irish customs, art and folklore. Over its four-day run this weekend, visitors can experience Celtic culture through a full lineup of live music (including a stage that exclusively features harp music), traditional Irish play performances, delicious Irish cuisine, Irish dance lessons and a Celtic Canine Area—the latter featuring some of Ireland’s most popular dog breeds (and, yes, you can pet them). There will also be tug-of-war matches, miniature golf and other games. (Through Sunday, Aug. 20.)
Milwaukee Punk Fest @ multiple venues
For decades, older punk fans have been arguing that the genre’s glory days are long over. Milwaukee Punk Fest, however, can attest to the fact that there are still plenty of new ideas percolating in the genre with its lineup of 60 punk acts scattered across four venues and six days. This weekend’s attractions include three nights of music at The Local (Friday-Sunday), with Midwest punk bands Horrible, Court Cau$t, Dirty Reggae Punx, Tiger Sex and Northside Creeps, and a night of live comedy Thursday at Brewed Café, featuring comedians Tyler Menz, David Louis, AJ Grill, Addie Blanchard and Carter Deems. Never let it be said that punk doesn’t have a sense of humor.
Guitar Festival Week @ The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center
More than 75 performers from 19 countries will flock to the Wilson Center this weekend for its annual Guitar Festival. On Friday and Saturday, the venue will host semi-final and final competitions in four categories—Classical, Fingerstyle, Jazz and Rock-Blues—all of which are free and open to the public. The event will also feature three nights of headliners: The Beijing Guitar Duo on Thursday, Aug. 17; Antoine Dufour and Mike Dawes on Friday, Aug. 18; and Kevin Eubanks (longtime guitarist for Jay Leno’s Tonight Show Band) on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Breadfest IV @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m.
Breadking is a loosely (sometimes very loosely) affiliated network of Riverwest bands and musicians running the gamut from indie-rock, punk and folk. For the latest installment of the collective’s annual Breadfest, a host of acts associated with the collective (or at least friends of friends of the collective) will park at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn for three nights, where the lineup will include Work, Cairns, The Fatty Acids, Tigernite, Mouse Corn, Faux Fiction, Liam O’Brien’s Faithless Followers and others. Each night features four or five acts. Single show tickets are $7, and a weekend pass is $15.
Friday, Aug. 18
Khalid @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
You can take his album title literally: Fast-rising R&B star Khalid was a teenager when he released his debut album, American Teen, this spring. The record received rave reviews from critics who praised the 19-year-old singer’s tender take on alternative R&B, as well as from the radio, which has given his breakout single, “Location,” regular airplay. “Young Dumb & Broke,” Khalid’s follow-up single, has been climbing up the charts all summer. To judge from the way he sold out this concert, his first headlining show in Milwaukee, it seems like this young singer is likely to have real staying power.
Midwest Original Music Festival @ Croatian Park, Franklin, 11 a.m.
The City of Franklin has rounded up more than two dozen bands, spanning alternative, hard-rock, country, prog and indie-rock, for its inaugural, three-day Midwest Original Music Festival at Croatian Park, 9100 S. 76th St. Performers include CircleSwitch, The Racing Pulses, Mixed Company, Life in a Tree, Blame it on Cain and American Zeros, among many others. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. One-day tickets are $8 on the festival’s website.
Mike Zito @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
Mike Zito is a lifelong patron of blues and country music. He’s released a dozen albums, beginning with his 1998 debut and is best known to some as a co-founding member of the blues-rock group Royal Southern Brotherhood, which he formed in 2011 with Cyril Neville and Devon Allman. He’s also made his mark as a producer, working on records by Samantha Fish, Albert Castiglia and Laurence Jones. Since 2012, though, he’s been on a musical journey all his own with backing band The Wheel. Zito’s 2014 album, Gone To Texas, earned him a nomination for a Blues Music Award in the Rock Blues Album of the Year category.
King Cardinal @ Company Brewing, 10 p.m.
Denver-based Americana group King Cardinal is the vision of founder Brennan Mackey who, on a whim, left his old life in Chicago in the dust to pursue music in Denver. Mackey put out King Cardinal’s self-titled first EP as a solo project, taking influence from stripped-back country rock artists like Ryan Adams and Steve Earle. The EP garnered him an invite to perform at Telluride Bluegrass Festival alongside Lake Street Dive and Punch Brothers and got him noticed by a group of musicians who would later join him in King Cardinal. The now five-piece band put out Once a Giant in 2015 and are gearing up for a new album led by the swanky singles “Seventeen” and “Metronome.”
Saturday, Aug. 19
HarborPark Jazz Rhythm & Blues Festival @ Harbor Park, Kenosha, 1 p.m.
Smooth jazz saxophonist Euge Groove headlines the latest installment of Kenosha’s HarborPark Jazz Rhythm & Blues Festival. Other attractions at this year include Waukegan blues artists Terry James and the Blue Flames, Milwaukee’s CNJ Latin Jazz Quintet and, for the first time ever at the event, some reggae courtesy of Madison’s Natty Nation. There will also be a live cooking demonstration. General admission lawn seats are $25 in advance and $35 at the gate.
IndiaFest Milwaukee @ Humboldt Park, 11 a.m.
Back for its fourth year in Bay View’s Humboldt Park, IndiaFest invites the community to celebrate the culture and heritage of India with live music, a parade, fashion show and traditional dance. There will be a wide variety of authentic Indian dishes, including dosas, a crepe-like pancake, and biriyanis, a heavily spiced chicken and vegetable rice dish, as well as vendors selling clothing, jewelry and art. The event will also highlight local talent with the third-annual Wisconsin Singing Idol competition and will once again end with a bang: a Bollywood Beats & Fusion dance party celebrating some of the more modern sounds of India.