Music in bulk, music any old place, at the Social Justice Center Jubilee, Garver, and elsewhere, and oh what the hell music everywhere!
We’re partnering with the wonderful independent email newsletter Madison Minutes to bring you event recommendations every week. As of this June, we’re dipping our toe back in with a few actual write-ups, some of which will appear in Madison Minutes‘ weekly event email, and all of which will appear here.
A few notes: This events roundup is, as before, selective and not comprehensive. Each week, we’ll focus on a handful of things our editors and writers find compelling, and that’s it.. We’ll write up a few of them, and just list a few more. It’ll take us a while to get back to full strength with this part of our coverage, because we’ve had so many other exciting, demanding things to work on lately. Please reach out to us with suggestions—and info about your event, as long as you’re able to get it to us a few weeks in advance—at [email protected].
Make Music Madison at multiple venues all around town. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free.
Inside Out at Meadowood Park. 7 p.m. Free
Pete Docter’s lone directorial effort of the 2010s for Pixar is also, just maybe, the studio’s most wholly satisfying experience. An equally clever and sensitive expansion of the age-old cartoon concept of an x-ray zoom into a character’s head, Inside Out (2015) achieves a charming balance of the down-to-earth reality of a cross-country move for 11-year-old Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) and the flamboyant, anthropomorphized quintet of emotions stationed at the mission control in her mind. In some ways, it’s a companion to Toy Story 3 (2010), as it wonderfully renders the psychological challenges and inevitable physical changes of adolescence; but Docter and his co-writers Josh Cooley and Meg LeFauve favor a sharper, rollicking panache. Truly a film with the widest appeal for the whole family at this City Of Madison summer parks series. —Grant Phipps
Heartland Marimba Ensemble at First Unitarian Society. 7 p.m. $25 suggested donation.
It’s hard to imagine the pointillist fabric of modern classical music without the marimba’s plucky attack and rich, ringing overtones. The Waterloo, Iowa-based organization Heartland Marimba brings together marimba players from across the Midwest in varying configurations, with a focus on performing new compositions. On their current tour, six players—Ethan Strickland, Ryan Pearson, Jordan Nielsen, Sophia Lo, Nathaniel Holman, and Heartland Marimba co-artistic director Matthew Coley, a former member of Madison-based percussion ensemble Clocks In Motion—are performing 10 new pieces. Heartland Marimba co-artistic director Jenni Brandon contributes one, a quartet titled “Badwater Basin,” and the other composers featured are: Carla Bartlett, Martin Van Klompenberg, Ian Wiese, Alex Shapira, Evan Erickson, Jonathan Posthuma, Madelyn Byrne, and Arturo Fernandez. With this many composers in the mix, the program offers a chance to appreciate the sheer variety of ways that multiple marimba players can overlap and interact. —Scott Gordon
Luke Leavitt’s Sound Tile Piano Series at Garver Feed Mill. 5 to 7 p.m. Free.
Jazz pianist Luke Leavitt kicked off a new series in May called Sound Title, an improvised and evolving experiment that centers on the baby-grand piano parked in the lounge at Garver Feed Mill. For the most recent installment, on June 9, percussionist Tim Russell joined in, and Leavitt may bring along other guests in the future. Even such naturally loud instruments as a piano and drumkit can get swallowed up in this cavernous space. How does music take hold of an audience when you’ve got people lining up for pizza over here, going to and from yoga classes over there, holding a whole entirely unrelated event on the other side of the space, and so on? But Leavitt thrives in the in-between—for instance, in the playful, off-kilter electronic music he makes under his own name and as Cop Circles, it’s hard to tell where the earnestness ends and the self-aware humor begins, and it’s more fun to just make peace with the way it all blends together. Decidedly ambient in approach, Sound Tile doesn’t force its way into the space, and being the center of attention is definitely not the point. Leavitt inquires, insinuates, and prods his way into Garver’s decentralized and undefined atmosphere, drawing on elements of contemporary classical and avant-garde music to create the feeling of something pleasantly adrift. —Scott Gordon
Luke McGovern, Carisa at Communication. Doors at 7 p.m., music at 7:30 p.m.
Last year, singer-songwriter Luke McGovern released the gorgeous, plaintive folk track “Pizza Box Ouija Board,” which followed his superlative 2020 full-length Yer Goin’ Nowhere, Luke McGovern. McGovern’s knack for evoking a familiar, well-worn warmth via his music is undeniable and is a very specific trait that translates exceptionally well in live settings. Joining him for this show is opener Carisa, who has been booking shows with head-turning intensity; her set with David Stoler as part of Strollin’ Capitol East last week was lovely and she’s set to appear six times throughout Make Music Madison. Carisa’s 2020 EP microcosm boasts an endearing blend of folk and jazz, with a subtle but distinctly modern strain, that speaks to the emergent musician’s noticeably high levels of control and talent. McGovern and Carisa’s pairing here makes a surprising amount of sense and should result in a beautiful night full of nostalgia-tipped moments of ease. —Steven Spoerl
Social Justice Center Jubilee at Social Justice Center (parking lot). 5 to 9 p.m. Free, donations requested.
Tone Madison is once again sponsoring the Social Justice Center’s summer fundraiser, which returns to the Willy Street community hub’s back parking lot this year with a scaled-back but still very good music lineup. (Rain location will be inside the SJC.) Able Baker has built up some well-deserved momentum in the past couple of years, as the band’s lovably gloomy rock has developed more dimension, and punch—an evolution that’s plain to see in the two singles Able Baker released earlier this year. DJ Hanna (aka Tone Madison film writer Hanna Kohn) pulls elements from across the musical spectrum into brash, exuberant mixes. William Z. Villain rounds out the lineup with mischievously swinging, tragicomic and sometimes just plain tragic songs that deftly harness fragments of Eastern European music and Latin jazz. A late addition to the lineup, Mickey Sunshine, combines gritty punk songwriting with a streak of pop romanticism. —Scott Gordon