Your Summer Calendar for Live Music in Milwaukee

Summertime is music time in Milwaukee. We’ve rounded up the best of the best for your listening pleasure.

Trapper Schoepp

June 2
Anodyne Coffee
The freewheelin’ folk tunes from this Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter twist and turn in unexpected directions. It’s fitting that his latest album tackles the jarring rides at Green Bay’s much-loved Bay Beach Amusement Park.

Photo by Maddy Power

Rory Ferreira. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris
Future Islands. Photo by Henry Gorse

The Milo-Future Islands Connection 

Widely known for his big, booming voice and erratic dancing on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Future Islands’ frontman Samuel T. Herring is a rapper on the side. He’s shared the mic with Milwaukee’s underground poet/rapper Rory Ferreira, who opens for Future Islands at the Pabst Theater on June 7 as milo. Confused? We are, too. We try to sort it out below.

 Rory Ferreira
 Samuel T. Herring
Alter-egos  milo, Scallops Hotel  Hemlock Ernst
Sample lyrics  “Brothers like me don’t live too long/That’s why I have to write so many rap songs.”

“At home on a cracked iPhone/Alone and hairy, casting postmodernist abracadabra”

 “Sometimes things come to me/Sometimes I come to things.”

“Got many styles/This time just tryin’ to follow milo”

Chastity Belt

June 14
Cactus Club
Witness the future of laid-back indie-rock as the breezy sounds of this supremely chill Washington-based four-piece outfit gently fill Bay View’s intimate rock venue.

Seu Jorge

June 16
The Pabst Theater 
The musical mariner in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou revisits his soothing Portuguese-language renditions of David Bowie songs to commemorate the life of the Thin White Duke.

Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald

July 14
Gathering on the Green
Relive the ’70s and ’80s soft rock heyday with schmaltzy tunes from these two famously bearded dad-rock originals.

Violent Femmes With Echo & The Bunnymen

July 21
BMO Harris Pavilion
No need to choose between the warm summer rays (“Blister in the Sun”) and the cool, murky night (“The Killing Moon”) on this study-in-contrasts double bill.

Ryan Adams

July 30
Riverside Theater
What serious musician records an entire album of Taylor Swift covers? The same one who infuses equally effortless-sounding pop hooks into his signature brand of heartland rock.

Photo by Rachael Wright

Photo by Cara Robbins


August 2
Turner Hall Ballroom
Feel comfortable knowing that the once-dysfunctional, now-stable psychedelic indie-rock duo won’t break up onstage anymore, thus harshing your mellow from the band’s kaleidoscope soundscapes, man.

I Love the ’90s Tour

August 9
Wisconsin State Fair Park
For one night only, the hi-top fade hairstyle is again de rigueur. This year’s lineup features Vanilla Ice, Kid ‘n Play, Tone Loc and Young MC.

Photo by Max Vadukul

Idina Menzel

August 9
The Riverside Theater
An entire generation of kids sang along to her songs; now see the Tony Award-winning actor and singer of “Let It Go” from Disney film Frozen grace the stage.  ◆

‘Ear Candy’ appears in the June 2017 (City Guide) issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning May 29, or buy a copy at

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.



Kevin is a freelance writer residing in Milwaukee. He’s contributed to The Shepherd Express, Third Coast Daily, Pop Matters and the sadly now-defunct A.V. Club Milwaukee. He looks forward to forging a deeper connection with the city’s impressive music scene during his gig as a Music Notes blogger. His talents include music criticism, riding a bicycle, drinking tasty beers and a crafty croquet swing. His weaknesses comprise Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, professional wrestling and his ever-growing record collection. He’s in desperate need to find more physical (and hard drive) space for the exceptional albums Milwaukee musicians keep churning out.