Music and time are inseparable. We measure music in time. And, frequently, we measure the time we live in by its music. So it's fitting that on New Year's Eve, live music will once again mark the passing of time all over town. Here are some highlights.
At the High Noon Saloon, two of our most influential local rock cliques will have control of the stage. Crustacean Records, a local label and a haven for hard-driving rock and punk, will showcase a pair of bands. Mad Trucker Gone Mad has been the longstanding musical project of Crustacean founder Chris Langkamp and his sidekick Isaac Schulze. The theatrical punk of Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons is high on lyrical wit, and they are also Crustacean artists.
Also on the High Noon bill are the owners of another Madison-based rock music label. Ricky and Terrin Riemer operate Science of Sound and have helped nurture local experimental rock outfits like Pale Young Gentlemen. The Riemers will be playing in their own indie-pop project, His & Her Vanities. Then there's ex-B-Side clerk (and Charlemagne drummer) Alex Fulton, who has joined forces with Erika Zar (Grizzlies, the Runners-Up) to form a new indie duo they're calling the Hemlines. The Dials, meanwhile, are a Chicago power-pop band. Rounding out the High Noon lineup are the local Descendants tribute band, the Descendaints.
No Madison club has done more to shape the local electronic scene than the Inferno on the northeast side. A couple of DJs who have spent the better part of the last decade making beats inside this wholesome goth space will help welcome in a new decade. Matt Fanale (Caustic, DJ Eurotic) will bring on his industrial noise and irreverent stage antics. Mike Carlson, the Madison DJ who has a knack for landing fetish-night gigs, will be there, too. More than a half-dozen electronic acts will take the stage for five techno-dub-hardbeat hours.
If being in a quieter room with a glass of wine is more your style, you might want to spend time at the Concourse Hotel bar. Madison's one-of-a-kind Gypsy jazz outfit Harmonious Wail will be there, too. They're sure to play songs from their 2008 album, Resist Temptation, a collection of originals and interpretations of rock songs from Steely Dan, Tom Waits and the Velvet Underground. It was all powered by the meticulous mandolin, guitar and ukelele strumming of Sims Delaney-Pothoff and the singing of his wife, Maggie.
Neighborhood bars are a great place to be on New Year's Eve. And the Harmony Bar has earned its stripes over the years as one of Madison's best neighborhood taverns and music spots. Owner Keith Daniels has always had a soft spot for roots music. On Dec. 31, he welcomes the Green County blues-rock band the Jimmys. The Jimmys' namesake is lead songwriter and keyboard player Jimmy Voegeli. A staple of the Madison blues scene, he has played keys with Westside Andy, Mel Ford and the Crashers for years.
In all, nearly four dozen Madison-area music shows are set to commence 2010. Each will set its own mood. At the VFW-Post 7591 on Cottage Grove Road, the nostalgic country music of Frank James will feel bittersweet. At Restaurant Magnus, Chicago's Andreas Kapsalis Trio offers sophisticated experimental folk-jazz.
Wherever you go, there will be music.