Enjoy a compilation of selected tracks by artists playing shows we're excited about in Madison during the week of March 9-16, 2017. For more information on these shows, read on under the Spotify playlist!
Rise Up and Sing! Ruthie Foster and the Heritage Blues Orchestra: Thursday, March 9, Wisconsin Union Shannon Hall, 8 pm: Blues goddess Ruthie Foster fronts this extraordinary collaboration with the Heritage Blues Orchestra. Foster grew up in a family of gospel singers and honed her talents in Austin, rising up to release nine albums and garner a number of Grammy nominations. Heritage Blues Orchestra’s debut album, And Still I Rise, also got a Grammy nod for Best Blues Album. It’s the first collaboration between Foster and HBO, and it’s bound to soar.
Lost Lakes album release, Thursday, March 9, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: This sparkling collaboration between Corey Mathew Hart and Paul Mitch, two expert vocalists and songwriters, is a seamless blend of rock, traditional folk and mysticism. The two have a great backstory: They met as competitors in a 105.5 performance competition and once they crossed paths, found that they had more in common than they knew. They also both became fathers while making this impressive debut, which was produced by Justin Guip (Levon Helm) and includes Shane Leonard (Field Report, the Stray Birds) on percussion and Rusty Lee on keyboards.
The Terminal Orchestra, Thursday, March 9, Gates of Heaven, 7:30 pm: Influenced by composers Stravinsky, Basinski and Morricone, this Upper Peninsula-based instrumental post-rock collective will open the 2017 season of Tone Madison’s GateSound series. With more than 10 members, it will be a thrill to see the ensemble’s music envelop this intimate venue. Ambient and experimental supporting sets by knowsthetime and Noxroy.
Ian Edwards, Thursday, March 9, Comedy Club on State, 8:30 pm: Born in Jamaica and raised in England, Ian Edwards moved to New York as a teen and has now toured the entire U.S. with his refined and expertly timed material. He’s also written for prime-time comedies, including ABC’s Black-ish, and even acted in the Sundance award-winning Tangerine. And his debut album, 100% Half-Assed, was selected to be the first album released by Conan O’Brien’s record label, Team Coco Records, in 2014. With Davey Weston, Anthony Siraguse. ALSO: Friday-Saturday, March 10-11, 8 & 10:30 pm.
We Banjo 3, Friday, March 10, Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm: Get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day with a concert from this exuberant and celebrated quartet that’s straight from Galway, Ireland. We Banjo 3 has played for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in addition to traversing the world with their innovative “Celtgrass” sound, a combination of Americana, Irish and bluegrass styles. And it truly is a band of brothers: The group includes two sets of siblings, Enda and Fergal Scahill and Martin and David Howley.
Madison Symphony Orchestra: Peak Performance, Friday, March 10, Overture Hall, 7:30 pm: The otherworldly sounds of Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth are the highlight of this Madison Symphony Orchestra concert conducted by Carl St. Clair. The orchestra will tackle Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto. Richard Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony will take you on a musical journey through the Bavarian Alps. ALSO: Saturday (8 pm) and Sunday (2:30 pm), March 11-12.
Al Rose and Maury Smith, Saturday, March 11, Parched Eagle, Westport, 7:30 pm: Known for his captivating live shows, clever wordplay and mingling of genres, Chicago singer-songwriter-guitarist Al Rose returns to the Madison area for the first time since releasing his seventh album, Spin Spin Dizzy, last May. One of the best tunes on that critically acclaimed disc, the politically charged environmental rocker “Ashamed,” was co-written by Madison’s Maury Smith, who plays fretted instruments in Rose’s live band, the Transcendos. Smith will accompany Rose for this evening of songs culled from both artists’ catalogs. Bonus: No cover charge.
Ladyscissors CD release, Saturday, March 11, High Noon Saloon, 5:30 pm: Madison quartet Ladyscissors mashes up ’50s vocal groups, ’60s pop and ’70s punk elements into their own sound. See page 28. With rockin’ gospel revivalists Reverend Rectifier & the Sinners.
Leo Kottke + Keller Williams, Saturday, March 11, Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm: The polyrhythmic and aggressive style of playing used during the first half of legendary acoustic picker Leo Kottke’s career continues to inspire new players years after Kottke had to alter his playing methods due to injury. One such acolyte is acoustic experimentalist Keller Williams, who joins Kottke for the “Shut the Folk Up and Listen Tour.” Each will play a solo set and also share the stage for a few songs.
The Griswolds, Saturday, March 11, The Frequency, 9 pm: With disparate influences that range from Kanye West to the Beach Boys and their Vacation-referencing name, the Griswolds are a band without comparison. The Aussie four-piece has only been around for five years, but they’ve already mastered their brand of danceable, electro-tinged indie rock. Their latest, High Times for Low Lives, was released last year. With Dreamers, Kid Runner.
Papadosio, Sunday, March 12, Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm: Mission control: We’ve got a rock show. But to just call the spacey North Carolinians of Papadosio “rock” would be a disservice to their genre-hopping abilities. Prog and jazz are both represented in equal parts to create a sound that calls to mind some sort of intergalactic jam band. With Jaw Gems, Red Rose.
Phantogram, Monday, March 13, Orpheum, 8 pm: Taking their name from an optical illusion that makes 2D objects look 3D, Phantogram mixes the influences of electronic rock, dream pop and trip-hop. Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel turn these seemingly random styles into a full-bodied, ready-for-the-dance-floor sound that’s landed them spots on stage alongside groups like Alt-J, M83 and Future Islands. Their most recent album, Three, was released in 2016. With the Veldt.
Cold War Kids, Tuesday, March 14, Majestic Theatre, 8 pm: Though “blue-eyed soul” may bring to mind images of Daryl Hall and John Oates, Cold War Kids have spent the past decade redefining that label. The Californians play a bluesy brand of indie rock that’s influenced in equal part by Death Cab for Cutie and Billie Holiday, and they’ve gotten quite good at it, as evidenced by their six full-length albums, with this year’s upcoming L.A. Divine marking their hard-earned major label debut. With Middle Kids.
Springtime Carnivore, Tuesday, March 14, The Frequency, 8 pm: Greta Morgan, better known as L.A. songstress Springtime Carnivore, has been working as a touring musician since her teen years. It was at 16 that her first band, Chicago-based emo-pop crew the Hush Sound, first hit the road, and Morgan hasn’t stopped since. She’s released two albums as Springtime Carnivore, an indie pop project that’s equal parts St. Vincent and Father John Misty. With Dash Hounds.
Cannibal! The Musical, Tuesday, March 14, Overture Capitol Theatre, 7:30 pm: The massive success of South Park creator Trey Parker’s The Book of Mormon demonstrates that he’s no slouch when it comes to writing for the theater. Now, Parker is bringing his first film, Cannibal! The Musical, to the stage for a world premiere, following the story of gold panner Alferd Packer, the only person convicted of cannibalism in America. And knowing Parker’s ability to marry surreal, absurdist humor to serious musical chops, this isn’t a show to miss. ALSO: Wednesday-Thursday, March 15-16, 7:30 pm. Through March 19.
Chuck Prophet + Bottle Rockets, Thursday, March 16, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: This double bill combines muse with muscle. Californian Prophet is concerned with life’s edgy nuances. St. Louis’ Bottle Rockets are gloriously blue collar. Either band is worth the admission charge; together, it’s the deal of the week. Prophet’s new record is a brilliant curiosity named Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins. (Fuller sang the hit “I Fought the Law” in 1964; he was found dead in his car at 23, under mysterious circumstances.) Prophet calls the project “California noir,” but underneath it all it’s a manic celebration of the way a rock song can take a listener’s dreary life and, if only for three minutes, turn it into a fireworks show.
Jazz 100, Thursday, March 16, Overture Hall, 7:30 pm: 2017 marks the centennial of the birth of four jazz heavyweights: Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Mongo Santamaria. To celebrate the milestone, former Gillespie pianist Danilo Pérez has put together a band of experts who usually lead their own outfits, including sax/woodwinds player Chris Potter, vocalist Lizz Wright and trumpeter Avishai Cohen. Together, they will help show the musical connections between these seemingly disparate musical icons.
Find the full rundown of this week's Isthmus Picks here.