Enjoy a compilation of selected tracks by artists playing shows we're excited about in Madison during the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2017. For more information on these shows, read on under the Spotify playlist!
Bear’s Den, Thursday, Jan. 26, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: Like their English countrymen in Mumford & Sons, Bear’s Den specializes in a brand of folk rock that makes you want to stomp your feet. But unlike Mumford, Bear’s Den makes music that’s contemporary, combining clear indie rock influences with a campfire folk sound. Their most recent album, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, was released in 2016. With Gill Landry of scene staples Old Crow Medicine Show.
Wax Tailor, Friday, Jan. 27, Majestic Theatre, 9 pm: Wax Tailor is a mad scientist. The French beatsmith has spent a career crafting trippy, undulating beats that toe the line between downtempo electronica and hip-hop. (Well, as much hip-hop as dense choral and orchestral arrangements or performances with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Colombia will allow.) This isn’t some dude with a laptop, folks — this is an artist. With L’Orange.
Ladyscissors + Venus in Furs, Friday, Jan. 27, Tip Top Tavern, 10 pm: This twin bill of local rockers should likely cause the tables to be bumped to make way for an impromptu dance floor in Tip Top Tavern’s cozy confines. Ladyscissors (pictured) brings jangly, spiky garage pop, and features Stephanie Rearick leading the band from behind the drum kit. Venus in Furs plays surf-tinged punk rock custom-made for jumping around to.
Roy Wood Jr., Friday-Saturday, Jan. 27-28, Comedy Club on State, 8 & 10:30 pm: You may have seen Wood on The Daily Show as a regular correspondent, or maybe on one of his regular appearances on Conan. Now you have a chance to see what Entertainment Weekly calls his “charismatic crankiness” live. Wood uses his acidic wit to dissect common issues, and his routine on how to apply cell phone company “customer retention” services to girlfriends will have even the grumpiest audience members rolling in the aisle. With Tony Baker, Dan Bacula.
Postmodern Jukebox, Sunday, Jan. 29, Orpheum Theater, 8 pm: Imagine hits from the likes of Miley Cyrus, Radiohead, Beyonce and OutKast turned into soul, swing or doo-wop tunes. Postmodern Jukebox, the wildly popular brainchild of composer/arranger Scott Bradlee, pulls together talented performers for imaginative mashups that transcend genre and period. It’s swanky and surreal. Case in point: PMJ’s cover of Lorde’s “Royals” sung by “Sad Clown With the Golden Voice.” We guarantee you haven’t seen or heard anything quite like it.
D.R.A.M., Sunday, Jan. 29, Majestic Theatre, 8 pm: In all that he does, singer/rapper D.R.A.M. exudes contagious joy. His influence first hit the mainstream airwaves in 2015 when his single “Cha Cha” was the basis for Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” These days, the Virginia native has a lot more to be happy about: The success of his double-platinum single “Broccoli” and his terrific 2016 album Big Baby D.R.A.M. have propelled him from the underground to Top 40. Show up early for supporting sets by fellow names-to-know River Tiber and Nebu Kiniza.
Michael McDermott, Sunday, Jan. 29, High Noon Saloon, 7:30 pm: McDermott is (barely) living proof that being dubbed “the next Dylan” at age 24 is not a good thing. Until it is. The songwriter burned through most of the next two decades deeply addicted to drugs even as he somehow continued to write and perform. Sober now for five years, he has reignited the Dylan comparison with his new record, Willow Springs, which has all of the musical intelligence of Blood on the Tracks. It’s a poetic diary that lays bare his recovery, his becoming a father, and the loss of his own father. With luck, his wife Heather Horton, who sings on the album, will join him on stage. With Derek Ramnarace.
Schubertiade, Sunday, Jan. 29, UW Humanities Building-Mills Hall, 3 pm: This annual concert by Mead Witter School of Music faculty and students celebrates the music and life of Romantic composer Franz Schubert, along with the spirit of musical collaboration embodied in the music school’s many performances throughout the school year. Special guest Emily Birsan, a soprano and UW alumna acclaimed on stages worldwide, will sing Schubert’s Epistle to Josef von Spaun, among other works.
Cherry Glazerr, Monday, Jan. 30, UW Memorial Union-Der Rathskeller, 8 pm: Los Angeles has become a hotbed for pop acts in recent years, but few have enjoyed a quicker rise than Cherry Glazerr. The coed trio specializes in a lo-fi, fuzzy indie pop sound that quickly won them attention from indie tastemaking label Secretly Canadian, who released their album Apocalipstick this year. With fellow Angelenos Slow Hollows.
Dinosaur Pile-Up, Monday, Jan. 30, The Frequency, 7:30 pm: The first thing you notice about Dinosaur Pile-Up is the name, which is undeniably hilarious. The talented English alt-rockers are ’90s throwbacks, taking their sonic cues from groups like Foo Fighters, Weezer and Pavement, and have shared stages with beloved indie stars like Brand New and the Pixies. That’s a solid pedigree for a band whose name was inspired by the Jack Black remake of King Kong.
Drive-By Truckers, Tuesday, Jan. 31, Majestic Theatre, 7:30 pm: Anchored by the perceptive, piercing songwriting of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, Drive-By Truckers have long been one of America’s best rock bands. They assume the mantle as perhaps the best with their 11th studio album, the 2016 release American Band, a directly political statement from a group that’s never shied from making a point. Their records are great, but they built their rep with intense live shows, so each visit is a cause for celebration. With Kyle Craft.
Twenty One Pilots, Tuesday, Jan. 31, Alliant Energy Center-Coliseum, 7 pm: From seemingly nowhere (okay, Columbus, Ohio), Twenty One Pilots has spent the past year becoming one of the biggest bands on the planet. The alt-rock/hip-hop hybrid had a huge 2016, scoring major hits with the songs “Ride” and “Heathens,” and embarking on the massive Emotional Roadshow World Tour, which visits the Coliseum for a sold-out show. With Jon Bellion, Judah & the Lion.
Find all of his week's Isthmus Picks here.