Enjoy a compilation of selected tracks by artists playing shows we're excited about in Madison during the week of Feb. 2-9, 2017. For more information on these shows, read on under the Spotify playlist!
Kind Country, Thursday, Feb. 2, High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm: Minneapolis-based Kind Country formed as a four-piece string band but later expanded to include fiddle, banjo, often drums and sometimes even keyboard and sax. The evolution means the group stretches traditional bluegrass and folk sounds into jamgrass territory. With Stevens Point pickers Armchair Boogie.
Chad Daniels: Thursday, Feb. 2, Comedy Club on State, 8:30 pm, Midwestern native Chad Daniels isn’t interested in Minnesota (or Wisconsin) Nice. He delivers wickedly twisted musings about his experiences as a father, along with brutally honest observations about life. In 2010, his Comedy Central Presents half-hour special was voted #5 of all time, and he was one of only 13 comedians to perform on Conan’s Tonight Show. With Halli Borgfjord, Martin Henn. ALSO: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 3-4, 8 & 10:30 pm.
PHOX, Friday, Feb. 3, Overture Center-Capitol Theater, 8 pm: In just over two years, PHOX rose to become one of the Midwest’s premiere indie rock acts, touring around the world almost nonstop. But the Baraboo-bred indie poppers are calling it quits (for now, at least), though not before one last stop at the Capitol Theater. Come out and give your hometown heroes a proper sendoff. With Cuddle Magic, an ambient, poppy sextet from Brooklyn.
Dead Horses, Friday, Feb. 3, Majestic Theatre, 9 pm: Lush folk music from Milwaukee. Sarah Vos fronts this trio with a punk seriousness that plays beautiful hell with the Appalachian songs they’ve crafted. These artists are definitely on their way up. The band’s newest record was produced by ex-Uncle Tupelo/Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, which seems like a perfect match for this jaded, pretty music. Madison is their first stop back in Wisconsin after an extended tour of some of the South’s best-known clubs. With Simon Balto, Seasaw.
Midwest Midwinter Gypsy Swing Fest, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 3-4, Brink Lounge, 7:30 pm: Local favorites Harmonious Wail are again hosting Midwest Midwinter Gypsy Swing Fest. Slated to perform are the hosts as well as the Gonzalo Bergara Trio (Argentina), Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan (Chicago) and Mal-O-Dua (Madison), with a special appearance by Chris Wagoner, Mary Gaines and the Milwaukee Hot Club. Dust off your dancing shoes, Madison. You’ll be needing them.
Ifdakar 10th anniversary, Friday, Feb. 3, High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm: It’s hard to believe that Ifdakar has been around for a decade. It seems like just yesterday the Madison quartet first popped up, playing their mixture of psych rock, funk, jazz, and electronica. Come celebrate with them. With Dead Larry, the Sharrows, FlowPoetry.
Advance Base, Friday, Feb. 3, UW Memorial Union-Der Rathskeller, 9 pm: Owen Ashworth created lo-fi electronic music as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone before shelving the name — and songs — in 2010. Building on the more analog-friendly latter days of CFTPA, he now unleashes home recording explorations under the Advance Base moniker, and continues writing melancholic pop songs and expanding his musical palette. With Emma Fish.
Fem Fest, Saturday, Feb. 4, UW Memorial Union-Der Rathskeller, 8 pm: Four new female-fronted bands form the musical portion of this feminist event, which will also feature artwork and zines. In addition to the surf-pop of four-piece Tony Peachka (of Minneapolis) and the ’60s-influenced Bunny (of Chicago), two Madison acts fill out the night: Melkbelly, featuring past and current members of Modern Mod and Dash Hounds, and Addison Christmas, a solo venture from Trophy Dad’s Abby Sherman.
Maarja Nuut, Saturday, Feb. 4, UW Memorial Union-Fredric March Play Circle, 8 pm: When individuals from other cultures are being locked out of the United States, the ability to open yourself to others has never been more necessary. Stretch your boundaries to take in a performance from Estonian fiddler and singer Maarja Nuut, who combines traditional Estonian music with electronica, lighting, loops and storytelling.
Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, Saturday, Feb. 4, UW Memorial Union-Shannon Hall, 7 pm: Featuring 10 of the best groups from the Great Lakes region, this competition is a real-life Sing Off. The top two teams will advance to the semifinals in March. Two teams from UW-Madison, Pitches and Notes and Under A-Rest, will be competing.
Dawes, Monday, Feb. 6, Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm: Few bands exemplify the Laurel Canyon sound the way Dawes does. But on their most recent release, 2016’s We’re All Gonna Die, the L.A.-based band explores elements of funk and R&B, crafting an album that’s just as much James Brown as it is Jackson Browne. Songs such as “When the Tequila Runs Out” show that the acclaimed band is comfortable in its own skin, but it’s not done growing just quite yet.
White Lies, Tuesday, Feb. 7, Majestic Theatre, 8 pm: Already stars in their native U.K., White Lies have their eyes set on the States. The London post-punk trio has been compared to both Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen, thanks in no small part to their dark, poppy aesthetic, which you can hear in full force on their latest album, 2016’s Friends. With VOWWS.
Wayne Hancock, Wednesday, Feb. 8, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: If you like your honky-tonk both unvarnished and (western) swinging, it’s time you made the acquaintance of Wayne Hancock. His latest album may be populated by tales of dirty houses, murder and broken guitar strings, but it’s the title track that is the most appropriate descriptor of what Hancock and his band do on the road for more than half of each year: Slingin’ Rhythm. The inimitable Pupy Costello & the New Hiram Kings will also be on hand to provide both kinds of music (country and western, natch) with an opening set.
Cloud Nothings, Thursday, Feb. 9, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: The members of Cloud Nothings may only be in their mid-20s, but they are already four albums deep into some of the sharpest, most striking post-punk that modern music has to offer. Their latest, this year’s Life Without Sound, explores the concept of finding one’s place in the world, all under the wash of the dizzying instrumentation that we’ve come to know and love from the Cleveland quartet. With Moon Bros.
Love + Evolution, Thursday, Feb. 9, Majestic Theatre, 7 pm: Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best Our Knowledge leaves the cozy confines of Vilas Hall for a live show that explores lust, romance, compassion and other notions of love. Storyteller Dasha Kelly, comedian Esteban Touma and Madison one-man band Asumaya will also be performing.
Gary Gulman, Thursday, Feb. 9, Comedy Club on State, 8:30 pm: Gary Gulman, who you may remember from Dane Cook’s Tourgasm, is the guy at the party who won’t stop talking, yet you can’t stop listening. He’s got a knack for crafting easy-to-follow yet surprisingly fleshed-out stories about the most banal, everyday things. He’ll deliver a thrilling explanation of how the U.S. postal code abbreviations came to be, or the difference between “waking up” and “getting up.” With Paul Farahvar, Charlie Kojis. ALSO: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 10-11, 8 & 10:30 pm.
Find all of his week's Isthmus Picks here.