Enjoy a compilation of selected tracks by artists playing shows we're excited about in Madison during the week of April 6-13, 2017. For more information on these shows, read on under the Spotify playlist!
Victor Wooten, Thursday, April 6, Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm: Victor Wooten, Bela Fleck's bassist, who The New York Times named one of the top 10 bassists of all time, has put together an all-star trio with saxophonist Bob Franceschini (Tito Puente) and drummer Dennis Chambers (John Scofield, Santana, Parliament/Funkadelic). Prepare to have your mind blown.
Riff Raff, Thursday, April 6, Liquid, 9 pm: Many rappers write songs about excessive lifestyles, but few truly live it the way Riff Raff does. The Houston emcee/human meme can be easily spotted by his cornrows, golden grill and vibrant sartorial choices. But to really understand Riff Raff is to hear him — his tracks are a master class in the summer party, bass-heavy vibe of southern rap, and he’s collaborated with everyone from Gucci Mane to Childish Gambino to the Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman. His latest, Peach Panther, dropped last year. With DJs Afterthought, Strategy, Trini, Katabang.
Big Wild, Thursday, April 6, Majestic Theatre, 9 pm: As Big Wild, California’s Jackson Stell makes huge, glossy electronic pop songs from an enticing blend of laid-back grooves and sunny, melodic hooks. Stell only released his first EP this February, making Big Wild’s quick ascendancy to headliner status all the more reason to party. Phantoms and IHF open.
String Cheese Incident, Friday, April 7, Orpheum, 8 pm: Their name may call to mind some horrible dairy-related disaster, but the String Cheese Incident is anything but. The jam band legends have built their reputation on an ever-changing, progressive sound and a riveting live show that puts flamboyant performers like Phish and the Flaming Lips to shame. They last released A Song in My Head in 2014. ALSO: Saturday, April 8, 8 pm.
Bonny Doon, Friday, April 7, Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 pm: Hazy twangers from the Motor City, Bonny Doon sounds like a slacked-out mashup of Beachwood Sparks and Madison alt-country legends Charlemagne — at least, judging by their ace new self-titled long-player. The sleeper bill of the week also includes Dusk, a country-fried Appleton outfit including members of world-beaters Tenement; local garage-pop wonders Proud Parents; and acoustic bedroom pop by ts foss.
Dave Attell, Friday, April 7, Comedy Club on State, 8 & 10:30 pm: Dave Attell remains one of most highly touted off-color comics ever to grace the stage. His blue subject matter betrays his razor-sharp wit and intensely smart punchlines. A veteran of the late-1980s comedy boom, Attell still has the energy, stories and talent to sell out rooms across the country (including Madison, as only wait list spots are available for all four shows). With Mike Stanley, Nick Hart (Madison’s Funniest Comic 2017). ALSO: Saturday April 8, 8 & 10:30 pm.
Del McCoury Band, Saturday, April 8, Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm: Bluegrass legend McCoury is a direct link to the originators of the genre, first hitting the national scene as the lead singer for Bill Monroe’s band in the early 1960s. Authenticity remains a hallmark of his band’s sound, but they have made their way into the pop culture consciousness by being open to songs and collaborations far outside the bluegrass scene, from an album with outlaw singer-songwriter Steve Earle to onstage jams with Phish and String Cheese Incident. With the 2nd Strings.
The Hussy + Sweet Spirit, Saturday, April 8, Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm: Madison duo the Hussy morphed into a three-piece recently, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they have abandoned their garage-punk roots; the addition is a second guitar, allowing more free-form axe abuse by Bobby Hussy. Sweet Spirit brings the pop side of garage rock north from Austin, and features Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen of A Giant Dog. With Solid Freex (Trin Tran and sons) and Twelves (Madison noise rock supergroup).
Hippo Campus, Saturday, April 8, Majestic, 9 pm: Hippo Campus isn’t just another band on the rise — they’re currently on track to leave Earth’s orbit entirely. The St. Paul, Minnesota-based indie pop four piece is only in their third year of existence but have already performed at major festivals like SXSW and Lollapalooza, appeared on Conan and shared the stage with the likes of My Morning Jacket and Modest Mouse. And all that before even releasing a proper album — their debut, Landmark, came out in February. With Magic City Hippies. Sold out.
Kishi Bashi, Monday, April 10, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: Born in Seattle, raised in Norfolk, Virginia, and currently based in Athens, Georgia, Kishi Bashi is a well-traveled guy. So it makes sense that his music is just as restless, combining elements of contemporary indie rock with flourishes of orchestral instrumentation. His eclectic sound, honed with his band Jupiter One, has won him fans the world over and led to gigs playing with Of Montreal and Regina Spektor. He released Sonderlust in 2016. With Tall Tall Trees.
Bombadil, Tuesday, April 11, Frequency, 7:30 pm: With natives such as Ben Folds and Superchunk, the state of North Carolina has a history of turning out quirky pop acts, and Bombadil is no different. The Durham-based trio (whose name comes from an obscure Lord of the Rings trilogy character) has released six albums of hooky folk pop that maximize the band’s sound — which isn’t tough to do when every member is a multi-instrumentalist. Bombadil last released Fences in March. With Waldemar.
FAROUT + Coolzey, Wednesday, April 12, The Wisco, 9 pm: If you’re hunting for rap outside of mainstream radio hits, this show will certainly feed your need. The two headliners are nothing alike, and neither fit any simple definition beyond “underground” or “alt-rap.” Coolzey mixes his rhymes with punk and pop influences, while FAROUT combines politics and controversy, leaving no topic out-of-bounds. Local emcees Dizzo, Conscious Object, Neu Dae and Eruditious will open.
MadCity Sessions: Lo Marie + Grupo Candela, Thursday, April 13, Overture Center Capitol Theater, 7:30 pm: This showcase for local artists features the jazz/opera wunderkind Lo Marie, whose album, Solid Ground, won the 2015 MAMA for jazz album of the year. She’s paired with the 12-piece Latin music extravaganza Grupo Candela, which is bound to have everyone on their feet.
Find the full rundown of this week's Isthmus Picks here.