Madison calendar, August 3 through 9

El Septeto Santiaguero, Off The Wall, Faux Fawn, Nadir Smith, and more events of note in Madison this week.

El Septeto Santiaguero, Off The Wall, Faux Fawn, Nadir Smith, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Emili Earhart, Scott Gordon, Grant Phipps, and Joel Shanahan


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Punch-Drunk Love. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s equally poetic and candid Punch-Drunk Love (2002) is a reminder that great art can elevate an actor’s craft. This subversive take on the romantic comedy centers around Adam Sandler’s magnetic performance as socially awkward novelty plunger salesman Barry Egan. Donning a Superman-like royal-blue suit here, the boyish comic becomes a sensitive, unpredictable hero motivated by his desire to overcome the oppression of his seven sisters and find meaning in the empty, dizzying world of modern Los Angeles. Barry’s most sympathetic sibling, Elizabeth (Mary Lynn Rajskub), introduces him to her coworker Lena (Emily Watson), whose wanderlust defines her charmingly assertive affections. But the couple’s earnest encounters are not without complications within the framework of this surreal meet-cute, nor outside it at a Utah mattress outlet posing as a sex hotline headquarters that’s trying to extort Barry. Part of the film’s enduring appeal, beyond its whimsical yet honest representations of loneliness and wonderment of first love, are Jon Brion’s warm, percussive, avant-garde orchestral themes, which remarkably capture the spirit of Godard’s Une Femme Est Une Femme (1961) and 1950s Hollywood musicals in lieu of traditional song breaks. The film’s welling beauty is further lifted by Jeremy Blake’s watercolor overture and interludes, which celebrate the rapturous nature of its quirky momentum—the synesthesia of love. —Grant Phipps

Faux Fawn. High Noon Saloon (patio), 6 p.m. (free)

Madison/Stoughton outfit Faux Fawn have been a bit quiet since releasing the 2014 album Lonesome Loon, which is a shame—the band’s delicate musicality and Paul Otteson’s distinctively high, somber voice make them a standout among contemporary folk acts. And there’s always a story or a strange fragment of history cryptically wrapped up in songs like the gently swaying “At The Skyway” and the playfully haunted “Poor Babbitt,” though that goes double for the 2012 album Robin Red, which drew inspiration from Wisconsin-connected figures including Orson Welles and Frank Lloyd Wright and its title from our state bird. Their only release since Lonesome Loon has been a Christmas EP called Turtle Doves, but Faux Fawn is currently working on a new full-length, Goodly Goldfinch (alliteration is a big thing with this band). The release date for that is TBD, but Otteson says the band will be playing some new material at this High Noon patio show. —Scott Gordon


Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival. Lake Farm County Park, through Aug. 5, see link for full schedule.

The Madison area is never short on folk music offerings, but the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival has offered a pretty distinctive cross-section since 2004, in a lineup that combines performances with workshops and discussions. The fest has always had an affinity for younger artists who draw on old-timey flavors of bluegrass, Cajun music, ragtime and blues, a streak that continues this year. Of particular note is Toronto banjo player and singer Kaia Kater, whose 2016 album Nine Pin combines stark instrumentation with rich and elegant vocal performances. Kater will perform on Friday night, and before that she’ll give a workshop on the fascinating traditions of body percussion. Other highlights include Minneapolis’ delightfully named Dumpy Jug Bumpers, performing Friday, and multi-instrumentalist Molly Tuttle, performing Saturday. —Scott Gordon

Pachinko, Wheelie King, PowerWagon. High Noon Saloon, 9:30 p.m.

Madison noise-rock outfit Pachinko play here to celebrate their new album State Your Grievances, the band’s first release since 1999’s Splendor In The Ass II: Electric Boogaloo. Sporting four original members from the band’s 1990s heyday and an album cover that’s sure to make people feel a certain kind of way, State Your Grievances lives up to Pachinko’s reputation for excoriating, scuzzy post-hardcore and maniacally twisted humor. But there’s also variety in Pachinko’s attack, from the grime-coated shuffle of “Interstellular Underbite” to the jagged chromatic riffing of songs like “The Flea” and “Used Cars.” Even after a 10-year break, Pachinko still epitomize a certain winkingly fucked-up quality that runs through a lot of heavy music in the Midwest, and they bring it across with as much vicious abandon as ever. —Scott Gordon


Off The Wall. Arts + Literature Laboratory, 9 p.m.

The Off The Wall screening series, which debuted last year, showcases contemporary video art from multiple artistic perspectives, including both local and international. A partnership between Arts + Literature Laboratory and Madison Film Forum, the series was founded and is curated by local artists Simone Doing and Max Puchalsky, and screenings take place outdoors in ALL’s driveway. In their 2016 inaugural series, Doing and Puchalsky chose works by 35 artists, culling down 450 submissions from 50 different countries. The works themselves vary both thematically and in form. Artists tackle internet culture, identity, and environmental issues and communicate their perspectives in stop-motion, animation, and experimental documentary forms. Due to the success of 2016’s series, Off The Wall is expanding, taking place every Saturday in August featuring different works on each of the four nights. Artists include James Bridle, The Smyth Brothers, Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin, Ian Haig, Sky Hopinka, Taryn Ward, and Keiichi Matsuda. —Emili Earhart


Dick Dale, The Waterdogs. High Noon Saloon, 7:30 p.m.

Boston-born guitar legend Dick Dale may always be best known for something he did in 1962, a brilliantly nasty surf rendition of Eastern-Mediterranean standard “Misirlou,” which returned to pop-culture prominence when it surfaced in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece Pulp Fiction and then again in 2006 when Black Eyed Peas sampled it for “Pump It.” And while the “King Of The Surf Guitar” and Longmont Potion Castle prank target hasn’t dropped a proper album since 2001’s Spacial Disorientation, he is somehow still touring his ass off at age 80 and, honestly, the dude still destroys. Night after night, while bombarded with health problems, Dale still trudges onstage with his bandana and skullet, shredding on a left-handed guitar that’s been strung upside-down. Dale is currently touring behind this year’s Santa Monica—Live On The Pier live album. —Joel Shanahan

Chris Isaak. Capitol Theater, 7:30 p.m.

Pretty much everything Sun Records devotee Chris Isaak has recorded since 1989’s Heart Shaped World—which spawned the iconic, Orbison-channeling megahit “Wicked Game”—feels like a victory lap. But hey, at least the actor, ex-host of The Chris Isaak Hour, and former judge for the Australian spinoff of Simon Cowell’s The X Factor is remarkably consistent. Isaak’s most recent full-length, 2015’s First Comes The Night, shows the singer’s still charmingly stuck in a locked groove of lushly-produced country-rock tunes that ache in a digestible way. “Some Days Are Harder Than The Rest” is unmistakably Isaak, as he wails over a bed of somber organ chords and cavernously surfy guitar work that builds into a ghostly crescendo. “Break My Heart” and “Down In Flames” are sonically a bit more playful and energetic, with the former boasting an overdose of county-fair organ licks and the latter being more of a straight-up dive-bar, country-rock number with tight but goofy back-up vocals that sound better suited for a Jesse & The Rippers song. —Joel Shanahan

Tippy, Blank Thomas, Nadir Smith, Knvte. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

Two electronic artists from St. Louis make this bill an intriguing one. Nadir Smith, who previously performed under the name Biggie Stardust, makes ambient music that’s as strange and dissociative as it is tranquil—expect a dynamic set that occasionally swerves into heavier territory. Blank Thomas’ synth-driven music focuses more around bright melodies and brittle textures, but often manages to soothe as well. The recent collaborative track “Stuck In Half” combines the two artists’ styles with an effect that’s at once calming and disorienting. Two Madison artists join them here: The eccentric and funky electronic act Knvte, and Spencer Bible’s Tippy project in its solo-electronic form. —Scott Gordon


El Septeto Santiaguero, Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Band. North Street Cabaret, 7 p.m.

Hailing from Cuba’s second-largest city, Santiago de Cuba, El Septeto Santiaguero play an exuberant, fast-moving blend of guarancha and other Latin American dance-music styles. For all its musical richness, Septeto Santiaguero are also unabashedly at it to have fun, something that’s even more abundantly clear in their joyous and at times bawdy music videos. Currently touring behind their new album Raíz, the band will have a busy schedule in Madison, playing August 7 and 8 at the North Street Cabaret and August 10 at the Central Park Sessions. At each stop they’ll be sharing bills with excellent bands from Madison: the Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Band on August 7, Malian blues powerhouse Tani Diakite on August 8, and Afro-Peruvian jazz band Golpe Tierra on August 10. —Scott Gordon


Trebino, Neu Dae, Solo Entertainment, Chas, Hanks. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.

Hip-hop duo Neu Dae might seem a bit removed from the young Madison natives and UW-Madison students helping the genre explode locally, so it’s good to see them sharing a bill here with a few such artists, especially trap-fueled MC Trebino (who’s definitely been on our radar lately). Neu Dae is a study in contrasts: MC Neumy is pretty much always blunt and in-your-face, whereas producer Evaridae, recently included in our survey of Madison hip-hop producers, is a bit more interested in subtlety, surrounding punchy percussion with moody synth melodies and dark atmospheric touches. The duo’s latest single, “Nirvana,” comes from Every Day, an album that finds Evaridae collaborating with multiple MCs and vocalists and exploring a variety of production approaches. —Scott Gordon

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