The first weekend of the New Year is a big one, so get out and start 2009 on the right track. The fun includes: stand-up by Jerry Seinfeld and Claude Stuart; the Furthermore Beer Rock, Rock, Rock & Roll Imperial Brew Ha Ha; storytelling by Stuart Stotts; and live music by Harmonious Wail, The Melismatics, Old Cool, The Body Thief, Pat McCurdy, Ka-BoomBox!, Oh Shit! A Geyser!, Oak Street Ramblers, Paul Kosower and Namji Kim, Yid Vicious, Mal-O-Dua, and The New Monarchs.
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 7 pm
Has it really been almost nine years since Seinfeld went off the air? Tickets for the performance by the stand-up and television great sold out in about eight seconds, so lucky you if you scored a seat.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
Harmonious Wail is the modern incarnation of La Quintette du Hot Club de France, Django Reinhardt's gypsy jazz outfit that wowed Parisian clubs in the 1930s. Download an MP3 of Harmonious Wail's single "Joie de Vivre," from their new CD, Resist Temptation, from TheDailyPage's MadTracks column.
The Comedy Club, 8 & 10:30 pm. Also Saturday, Jan. 3, 8 & 10:30 pm
In case you didn't score Seinfeld tix, check out the fare across the street at the newly relocated Comedy Club. Stuart is a Mississippi native, now based in L.A. Maybe he'll do the bit where he's working at Blockbuster and has to tell O.J. Simpson about his late fees.
Cafe Montmartre, 9:30 pm
Minneapolis foursome the Melismatics build upon some of the best proto-punk of the '70s and '80s -- from Suicide to Television -- to create a sound that makes New Wave sound, well, new again. Also playing: Blueheels.
Harmony Bar, 9:30 pm
Wash down your walnut burger with a dose of Old Cool, which kicks off the bluegrass theme that dominates Madison's live music offerings this week.
The Body Thief
Frequency, 10 pm
The Body Thief isn't going for the sound of "indie rock," not if indie rock means soft-edged, subtly layered chamber pop or singer-songwriter-style stuff. It's going straight for the heart of '80s American rock, the kind that Aerosmith, AC/DC and Def Leppard made famous. Also playing: Dead End Rejects, Dissent & Revolt.
Buffalo Killers, Old Panther, .357 String Band
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Cincinnati psych-rock band Buffalo Killers is getting a lot of play of late by opening for the Midwestern leg of the Black Keys' latest U.S. tour (see Tour Stop, page 11). Meanwhile, Milwaukee's .357 String Band, which plays the most punked-out bluegrass you're likely to hear this year, has been making the rounds in Europe over the past month. Both groups team up with the garage-rockin' Iowans of Old Panther to celebrate the release of Furthermore's newest brew.
Club Tavern, 9:30 pm
The charismatic singer-guitarist offers a one-man music and comedy show. He plays originals like "Sex and Beer," revises pop songs from the '80s and '90s, and interacts with the crowd. He boasts a 900-song repertoire and a quick wit.
Mickey's Tavern, 9:30 pm
The local dub-influenced poppers throbbed into terra incognita on their most recent album, Homeward Into Howling Storms, dipping into free jazz, ambient electronics and more. Tonight's show doesn't cost a dime, which should please all those folks who got a little too caught up in the Christmastime consumer fest.
Oh Shit! A Geyser!
Frequency, 10 pm
Local grindcore group Oh Shit! A Geyser! brings a bit of humor to a heavy genre with song titles such as "Ice Cream for Breakfast" and "Tight Like Thermos," plus lyrics to match. It also has not one but two drummers, who duel during live shows. Also playing: Freight, Pigs on Ice, Czarbles.
Oak Street Ramblers
Alchemy Café, 9 pm
It's worth repeating that this week is a big one for bluegrass. Luckily, it's what local six-piece Oak Street Ramblers does best. This Saturday the group plays Alchemy Cafe, where they usually perform the first Saturday of each month.
Paul Kosower, Namji Kim
Chazen Museum of Art, 12:30 pm
In another installment of Wisconsin Public Radio's Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen, there's Beethoven, Mendelsshon and Brahms on tap from cellist Kosower, recently retired from UW-Eau Claire, and pianist Kim, currently on the faculty there.
Madison Children's Museum, 1 pm
Madison's own Stotts entertains the tots with songs and stories. Kids claim he's better than recess, and who can argue with that?
Olbrich Gardens, 2 pm
Using clarinets, fiddle, horns, guitars and a few advanced degrees in ethnomusicology, Yid Vicious has been bringing the chutzpah of klezmer music to Madison for 13 years. It's bound to inspire celebration.
Cafe Montmartre, 8 pm
The musical soup that comprises Mal-O-Dua's influences list is reason enough to go see the group live: It's managed to blend the styles and techniques of western swing, gypsy jazz, Kentucky-style finger picking, Parisian waltz, French pop and even Hawaiian slack-key guitar.
The New Monarchs
Frequency, 9 pm
The electronic duo from Minneapolis makes a Madison stop as they tour to promote their full-length debut, Blueprints. It's interesting stuff, with the spare keyboard parts you'd expect, plus dreamy, earnest vocals. Also appearing: Glass Ghosts, I Colossus, Revolving Doors.