Madison plays host to a particularly potent mix of music legends and emerging talents this week. The calendar includes: talks by Jo Handelsman and Garrison Keillor; and live music by Dan Deacon, Crystal Antlers, Jeffrey Siegel, Charlie Hunter, Justin Hayford, Billy Joel & Elton John, Sara Watkins, and Richard Lloyd.
NOTEWORTHY: National Guard opens fire on antiwar demonstration at Kent State, killing four, 1970.
BIRTHDAYS: Surf-guitar king Dick Dale, 1937; Voyage of the Rock Aliens and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians star Pia Zadora, 1954.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Baltimore's favorite one-man electro-freak has found himself a 15-piece band to take on tour for Bromst, his new album. Will he still bring his trippy green skull and computer-laced music machines into the audience for a spastic and strangely spiritual dance party? There's only one way to find out (see Tour Stop). Future Islands and Teeth Mountain open.
CINCO DE MAYO
BIRTHDAYS: Pythonesque comedian/actor/globetrotter Michael Palin, 1943; NBC news anchor Brian Williams, 1959.
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
Crystal Antlers' rocking cocktail of psych, punk and soul is the perfect gift for celebrating the High Noon's fifth birthday -- and getting happy hour started right. His Mischief and Wicked Hemlocks open.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 7 pm
In this Wisconsin Academy Evenings event, the UW plant pathology prof talks about "Microorganisms: Calamity and Salvation for the Earth and Its Residents."
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 7:30 pm
The roving pianist and lecturer presents another of his Keyboard Conversations. This one's called "Musical Pictures" and features selections from Rachmaninoff, Debussy and Mussorgsky.
BIRTHDAY: Actor/filmmaker George Clooney, 1961.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
The avuncular radio host is joined by musical pals Robin and Linda Williams and Rich Dworsky in a tribute to Keillor's late brother, Phil. The event is a fund-raiser for a new skating shelter in Tenney Park. (See interview.)
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
With his custom-made eight-string guitar, plus a Leslie rotary speaker simulator, Charlie Hunter sounds like he's playing a Hammond organ rather than a stringed instrument in many cases. He's one of those guys who attract guitar nerds with his cool gear and great technique and tons of others for simply making album after album of quality jazz.
NOTEWORTHY: German U-boat sinks the British ocean liner Lusitania, killing 1,198, 1915.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7 pm
The Chicago-based performer carries the torch for cabaret with his singing and piano playing, and with a repertoire that mines American pop to masterful effect. This "cabaret dinner theater" event features vittles by Overture's own Catering a Fresco.
Billy Joel & Elton John
Kohl Center, 7:30 pm
They write songs, play the piano and sing; they had massive hits in the 1970s and 1980s; and you can't get "Philadelphia Freedom" and/or "Uptown Girl" out of your head.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The fiddler from the popular bluegrass outfit Nickel Creek visits Madison to show off her self-titled solo debut, which was released earlier this month after an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Frequency, 9 pm
Though he's been releasing solo albums for 30 years, Richard Lloyd is probably best known for his role in the proto-punk band Television, in which he and Tom Verlaine became one of rock's most memorable sets of dueling guitars. The Midwest Beat and the Motor Primitives open.