Just as music lovers emerge from hibernation, so do their favorite acts. There's no better time than spring to catch buzzed-about artists before they hit it big or to enjoy a beloved band testing out new material. With genres spanning from rap to rock and country to pop, this spring lineup is sure to bring Madison music fans out of their homes and into their favorite venues. Here are 40 upcoming touring shows that Isthmus is looking forward to.
Immortal Technique & Talib Kweli
Barrymore Theatre, March 9
Over the last two decades, Talib Kweli and Immortal Technique have emerged as two of the most politically insightful MCs in music. Their appropriately dubbed "The People's Champions Tour" will surely excite underground hip-hop fans, and likely those above ground, too.
You might also like: Wave Chappelle, Union South Sett, March 7
Overture Hall, March 17
Alabama Shakes' frontwoman Brittany Howard has become one of music's most exciting new singers, thanks to her ability to infuse solid roots rock tunes with gut-punch vocals. The group is especially known for its live sets, where the Shakes release the bottled-up energy of their debut, Boys & Girls, which earned three Grammy nominations in 2013.
You might also like: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Orpheum Theatre, March 28
High Noon Saloon, March 19
In 2003, emo band Cursive helped elevate the often-marginalized genre with their loose concept record, The Ugly Organ. Now, the Omaha, Neb.-based band is touring nationally — with a cellist — and playing sets that pull heavily from the breakthrough album that many consider the group's masterpiece.
You might also like: Agent Orange, High Noon Saloon, May 5
Majestic Theatre, March 21
Just four months after the 1995 death of their mentor, friend and producer, Eazy-E, this Cleveland hip-hop group released its iconic memorial E. 1999 record. The album sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Now, 20 years later, the five original members will perform their groundbreaking record in its entirety — a not-to-be-missed event for fans of classic hip-hop and R&B.
You might also like: PRhyme (DJ Premier & Royce da 5'9), High Noon Saloon, Feb. 28
Majestic Theatre, March 23
Ambient artist Tycho may make synthesizer-based music, but he's spent his career straddling the line between the electronic nature of his songs and the human physicality of the world he makes them in — sometimes even sampling voices and breath.
You might also like: Kodak to Graph, The Frequency, April 15
Majestic Theatre, March 31
Some still recognize Jack Antonoff as being a member of fun., but the Lena Dunham-dating guitarist made a splash of his own last summer as Bleachers. As displayed on his debut, Strange Desire, Antonoff has a gift for penning rock tunes with pop melodies -- a sound that's sure to move you off your seat and onto the dance floor.
You might also like: Reptar, The Frequency, April 10
Belle and Sebastian
Overture Hall, April 4
Few bands have affected the landscape of indie pop over the last two decades quite like Glasgow's Belle and Sebastian. Led by the always-delicate Stuart Murdoch, the band has released an astounding nine records full of touching stories and baroque-influenced tunes that have charmed listeners and critics alike.
You might also like: The Weepies, Majestic Theatre, May 29
Majestic Theatre, April 4
As the name implies, Clean Bandit swipes elements of classical, electronic and house music and fuses them into one satisfying, seamless sound. The group, made up of four full-time members and a rotating cast of guest vocalists, won a 2015 Grammy for the hit "Rather Be."
You might also like: Rose Quartz + Ishi, The Frequency, April 3
Union South, April 10
Foxygen formed when its core members Jonathan Rado and Sam France were just 15 years old, but the band has proved over the last decade that its one of the few '60s-inspired rock 'n' roll acts that can balance live high jinks with sharp performances.
You might also like: The King Khan & BBQ Show, High Noon Saloon, March 15
Majestic Theatre, April 14
Things are beginning to look up for George Lewis Jr., whose previous two rhythm-focused albums were steeped in lost love. The melody mastermind behind Twin Shadow is set to step into the spotlight next month when he releases Eclipse, his New Wave-inspired major-label debut.
You might also like: Kiesza, Majestic Theatre, April 26
The Soft Moon
The Frequency, April 17
Luis Vasquez, the man behind this post-punk outfit, started the Soft Moon in 2009 as a kind of self-therapy. Though the band's records continue to be bleak and personal, the Soft Moon's live shows are collaborative and cathartic.
You might also like: Swervedriver, High Noon Saloon, March 13
Majestic Theatre, April 18
Ethereal Swedish folk singer José González recently released his first solo record in nearly a decade. It isn't as minimalistic as his past efforts, but the music is meditative and intimate.
You might also like: Six Organs of Admittance, The Frequency, April 22
Majestic Theatre, April 20
French-Chilean hip-hop wiz Ana Tijoux's albums are phenomenal and progressive works, but her live shows — when she's backed by a full band — take the MC's Latin-pop and funk sound to another level entirely.
You might also like: Cakes Da Killa, Union South Sett, Feb. 26
Diarrhea Planet + Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires
High Noon Saloon, April 22
These co-headliners make tasty, riff-heavy rock. Their sets melt faces, urge palms to high five and force bodies to sweat in areas they didn't know they could. If you're merely acquainted with rock 'n' roll before this one, you'll be an expert by show's end.
You might also like: Desert Noises, The Frequency, March 22
Hiss Golden Messenger
High Noon Saloon, April 23
Few country-rock outfits have formed from the ashes of hardcore punk bands, but then again, Hiss Golden Messenger isn't your average group. As the band's main narrative force, MC Taylor has used it over the years as a vehicle to slowly reveal himself amid pleasing piano melodies and guitar chords.
You might also like: Joe Pug, High Noon Saloon, April 10
The Frequency, April 23
Max Jury began playing piano at age 6, and at 21 he's already blending country, rock and soul like a classic American songwriter. You have to wonder just how big the kid is going to get.
You might also like: Ultimate Painting, The Frequency, April 6
Hurray for the Riff Raff
High Noon Saloon, April 30
Hurray for the Riff Raff's brand of Americana is some of the most authentic and heartfelt circulating in the current folk revival scene. Last year, the band had a hit with its major-label debut, Small Town Heroes.
You might also like: Kristin Diable, The Frequency, March 28
The Frequency, May 1
Hailing from Northampton, Mass., Speedy Ortiz is one of the brightest bands to come out of a recently booming East Coast punk scene. The group's synthesis of raw guitars, sour lyrics and memorable vocal melodies, plus the inclusion of Boston-based opening act Krill, make this one of the most promising rock shows of the season.
You might also like: Cymbals Eat Guitars, The Frequency, March 30
High Noon Saloon, May 15
Dan Deacon has released a number of spectacular electronic pop albums in the last five years, but more importantly, he puts on an incomparable interactive live performance. Even if you've never heard a single blip of one of his experimental yet accessible songs, this is an experience too fun to miss.
You might also like: Lust for Youth, Memorial Union Rathskeller, March 6
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic
Barrymore Theatre, May 16
The supremely funky George Clinton is a living legend. For over 60 years, Clinton's groups have delivered grooveable tunes and elaborate performances, including famously landing a mock UFO ("The Mothership") on stage. Parliament-Funkadelic was a huge influence on the post-disco and Afrofuturist movements, propelling an astonishing 16 members into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
You might also like: moe., Barrymore Theatre, March 18