The Motels, Motherfolk and an ABBA tribute band are some of the bands that will be performing during a popular concert series in Wauwatosa this summer.
Now in its 17th season, the Tosa Tonight summer concert series is family-friendly and provided free of charge to residents of Wauwatosa and the surrounding communities at the Rotary Performance Pavilion in Hart Park.
The 2017 season features eight concerts.
Opening acts begin at 6 p.m. with the main act at 7:30 p.m. Concerts are held rain or shine, but may be cancelled due to severe weather. Food and beverages are available from Wauwatosa restaurants.
Following is a look at the 2017 schedule, as described by Tosa Tonight.
Wednesday, June 14:
State Street Station presents The Novelists, with guests the Mike Benign Compulsion
Featuring a range of acoustic and electric, The Novelists encompass cliffhanger storytelling, multiple lead singers, and their signature four-part harmonies. Engaged in several national tours in 2017, The Novelists have been a fixture on the West Coast college, festival, and house concert circuit.
The Mike Benign Compulsion features melodic, well-crafted, driving, alt guitar pop that rocks. Band members Mike Benign, Joe Vent, Paul Biemann and Mike Koch are veterans of acclaimed Milwaukee-based acts like Blue in The Face, The Yell Leaders, Arms & Legs & Feet and The Joker’s Henchmen. The Shepherd-Express called it "a magnificent tribute to the smart pop of Benign’s era — The Beatles as distilled through Squeeze and Crowded House with a twist of Elvis Costello for tartness." The band’s fourth album, “Kid,” will be released May 16, 2017. The single “The Best Years of Our Lives” has been in steady rotation on 88nine Radio Milwaukee since summer of 2016.
Wednesday, June 21:
Maxie’s / Blue’s Egg / Story Hill BKC presents The Grammy Award-Winning Rebirth Brass Band, with guests O.W.’s Exalters
Whether seen on HBO’s Treme or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they’ve also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound.
O.W.'s Exalters has traveled all over the country and sung with many nationally recording artists, such as The Canton Spirituals, Doc McKenzie, and Willie Neal Johnson and the Keynotes. Recently, O.W.'s Exalters have made several recordings, like: "Stretched Out," "Sunshine," and "Mean World." At the recent Turner Hall benefit — "Milwaukee's Best Gospel Groups" — they brought the house down and we are thrilled to have them start the evening off with spirit.
Tuesday, July 4:
The Wauwatosa Civic Celebration presents Dancing Queen / ABBA Salute
Whether you are Fernando, Mamma Mia, Chiquitita, or just a Dancing Queen - Knowing Me, Knowing You, this show will not be our Waterloo. Reliving the greatest hits of ABBA on the 4th of July will be the Name of the Game. While you and your family can see this band for no Money, Money, Money we ask that you Take a Chance Take a Chance Take a Chance Chance Chance that it will be Winner Take All with a great night of ABBA Tribute and Fireworks.
Wednesday, July 12:
Meijer presents The Motels, with guest Hayward Williams
One of LA's original new wave bands, Martha Davis & The Motels scored big with hits including "Only the Lonely," "Suddenly Last Summer," "Total Control,” “Mission of Mercy,” “Shame" and "Danger," netting two gold albums. MTV videos did not kill this radio star with lead singer and songwriter Martha Davis winning Best Performance in a Music Video at the American Music Awards for her performance in the "Only the Lonely" video. With an ‘80s revival now in full swing, Martha Davis & The Motels are back on the road pleasing their legions of fans.
After a crippling struggle with anxiety, Hayward Williams learned how to think, feel, write and perform again. This provided a backdrop for his newest record, “The Reef.” Williams and his team set the record to tape during a series of whirlwind recording sessions in western Massachusetts. Tracking together in a room, singing and playing at the same time, and only doing a few takes per song imbues The Reef with a vibey, electric feel, vanishingly rare in contemporary recordings. While we have had him on our stage as a solo opener in 2015, Hayward will be joining Tosa Tonight with his band to open the show.
Wednesday, July 26:
Miller Lite presents Motherfolk, with guests Well-Known Strangers
Motherfolk's high-energy live performances have won over audiences from coast to coast. And their infectious musical persona has become one of the most exciting rising success stories in the indie music scene. In 2016, Motherfolk released their highly anticipated sophomore effort, ‘Fold.’ As they embark into 2017, they’re aiming to continue their extensive touring schedule.
Well-Known Strangers has been entertaining Midwest audiences with a cello infused, alternative pop/rock, with a tinge-of-country-band sound. From Racine, the band members have an amazing mix of musical knowledge and education that provides a unique sound that is reminiscent of familiar of music from the ‘90s while being expressively groundbreaking and melodically rich.
Wednesday, Aug. 9:
American Transmission Company presents Sour Bridges, with guests Devil Met Contention
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Sour Bridges combines the best ingredients from the high plains of Texas, the hills of Pennsylvania, and the red dirt of Oklahoma. Get ready to experience the finest blend of hand clapping, foot stomping Browngrass that Austin has to offer.
Devil Met Contention combines country, folk and blues into a distinctive sound that brings to mind Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Johnny Cash. Hailed as "a haunting slab of dusty Americana" by the Milwaukee Record, Devil Met Contention is perfect if you feel like dancing, socializing or drowning your sorrows with a bottle of whiskey.
Wednesday, Aug. 16:
The Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation presents Celtica Pipes Rock and Aoife Scott
Celtica Pipes Rock 'Steamphonia,' the upcoming fourth album, takes the listener across time to the Victorian age. A magic moment when aristocratic elegance meets daring visionary passion, the steam engine promises to become the modern gate to Utopia, and here, as a scientist, you are also adventurer and romanticist. Celtica transforms this fantastic epoch into music distilled from Gothic, Steampunk and Metal styles to break all the traditional limits of the Great Highland Bagpipe, and creates a totally new musical context for this majestic instrument.
Aoife (pronounced AY-FEE) Scott's sublime voice is a thing of beauty that stops people in their tracks. Fragile and ethereal one minute and strong and vibrant the next, the Dublin Folk singer-songwriter has become a force to be reckoned with on the Irish folk and traditional scene. With an impeccable pedigree as a member of the legendary Black Family, which includes her mother Frances and her aunt Mary, Aoife is steadily rising to the top of the traditional and folk music scene, while garnering acclaim and recognition both here and abroad as she hones her craft.
Wednesday, August 30:
88Nine Radio Milwaukee presents Trapper Schoepp, with guest Mike Mangione
The Minnesota-born, Wisconsin-based tunesmith and teller of tales (both tall and true), returns with his
second effort Rangers & Valentines (Xtra Mile Recordings). The record follows his critically acclaimed 2012
debut Run Engine, Run, with his band the Shades. That LP earned notices in Rolling Stone, American
Songwriter and Paste, with the folks at Huffington Post calling him a “master storyteller” and PBS hailing his
"story songs that explore and explode the conventions of rock and roll." On Rangers & Valentines, Schoepp
defies the limitations of the standard-issue Americana platter, hopping genres — you’ll hear lots of brass,
backing singers and B-3 — as the songs build to delirious musical highs.
For almost a decade, Milwaukee-based artist Mike Mangione has been writing and performing “orchestral
folk music” (American Songwriter), using lush instrumentation and harmonies, bringing listeners into a place
of spiritual awakening. Collectively, these songs tell the beautiful story of hope through despair. The style is as
unique as the musicians that made it and as familiar as family. Like a reunion of sorts, it ebbs and flows with
emotion while remaining honest and close to the heart.