Ladyscissors, The Central, Movie Hell, Lex Allen, and more events of note in Madison this week.
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FRIDAY DECEMBER 30
Late Night At TK: Chaz. Tavernakaya, 10:30 p.m. (free)
In its first year open, Tavernakaya has quickly joined the tight little circle of downtown spots where Madison’s best DJs tend to concentrate their efforts (like Nattspil, Maduro, Merchant, and the also-new Lucille). This event celebrates a new night that the Foshizzle crew—a young group of DJs known for their tasteful house and techno selections and summerparties in James Madison Park—will be hosting on the fourth Friday of every month starting in January. For the first installment, Breezi Perdue will be hosting and Foshizzle DJs Kyle Carrick and Garrett Ohrt will be spinning together under the name Chaz. —Scott Gordon
The Low Czars. High Noon Saloon, 5:30 p.m.
Madison’s The Low Czars have been playing all-covers sets together for 10 years, and they’re that rare cover band that occupies an enviable sweet spot. They’re self-effacing enough for a fun, casual happy-hour gig, but their set lists dig deep into power-pop, psych-rock and R&B gems mostly spanning from the 1950s to the late ’70s, some of them obscure and acquired tastes (Bubble Puppy, Swamp Dogg, Beefheart), and some solidly familiar (Kinks, Cheap Trick). On top of that, they’ve got a bench of very good singers, and good ears for the harmonies and little instrumental quirks that make these songs special. Read more about the band in our interview from last fall. —SG
Queer Pressure: Lex Allen, Annabel Lee, DJ Boyfrrriend. Cardinal Bar, 9 p.m.
Queer Pressure is a roving dance and music night in Madison intended for members of the queer community and their allies, placing an emphasis on accessibility, safety, and acceptance, with features like a no-harassment policy and gender-neutral bathrooms. Headlining is singer-rapper Lex Allen, who’s had a big year along with other members of the Milwaukee-based New Age Narcissism crew (other members include Siren and WebsterX). Allen kicked off 2016 with the wonderfully bubbly and flirtatious single “Cream & Sugar,” and finishes it up behind “Mama’s Boy,” a ballad that pays stately and aching tribute to his late mother. Eclectic Madison pop artist Annabel Lee will also be performing, and Queer Pressure co-organizer DJ Boyfrrriend will be hosting and spinning, in a night apparently inspired by a Black Mirror episode. —SG
The Flavor That Kills, DJ CNL, DJ Stamp Collector. Mickey’s Tavern, 10 p.m. (free)
Madison soul-rock band The Flavor That Kills headlines what will undoubtedly be one of many “good riddance”-type send-offs to 2016. In addition to playful, funky originals performed by former members of bands including Awesome Car Funmaker and Hum Machine, the night will feature DJ sets from two folks better known for their work in rock bands around town. Claire Nelson-Lifson (of Proud Parents, Disembodied Monks, and Giant People) will be spinning power-pop, ’70s rock, and soul under the name DJ CNL. Tom Teslik (of Pollinators), will be mixing up rock, hip-hop, funk, disco, and more under the name DJ Stamp Collector. —SG
Movie Hell: Fateful Findings. Fountain, 8 p.m. (free)
At the monthly Movie Hell night, a panel of local comedians invites a guest to choose a trashy movie and join in on a round of MST3K-style commentary as the film screens. This month, hosts Anthony Siraguse, Cynthia Marie, and Eric Olander will be joined by fellow comedian Patrick Henry, who has chosen Neil Breen’s notoriously inept 2013 hacking drama Fateful Findings. In just a few short years, the film has picked up a cult following that’s somewhere in between the so-bad-it’s-good crowd and genuine fascination, so it should be a good instrument for, as Movie Hell’s organizers say, “torturing” the hosts and audience. —SG
SATURDAY DECEMBER 31
The Central, Fire Retarded, Wood Chickens, Kazmir. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)
If you’re going to be in a crowded bar on New Year’s, it might as well be Mickey’s, where there’s no cover, no tacky overpriced NYE party package for sale, and an emphasis on letting some good local bands rip it up. Sure, it’ll still be a packed-to-the-gills amateur-night shit-show like New Year’s is everywhere, because alcohol, but that’s an alright setting for capturing the wildly eclectic grindcore antics of The Central, who prove as playful as they are technically adept on their album Discovery Of A Rat, which made our list of honorable mentions for local records in 2016. Madison country-punk maniacs Wood Chickens are also well-suited to the point-blank crush of a Mickey’s show, as is garage-punk band Fire Retarded—who have promised to change their name soon after a debate erupted this month over offensive band names. Also on the bill is a newer Madison band, psych-rock outfit Kazmir. —SG
SUNDAY JANUARY 1
Dumb Vision, Once A Month, Hussies, No Thanks. Williamson Magnetic Recording Company, 8 p.m.
Omaha band No Thanks’ 2016 EP Position thrives on free-form political ramblings and austere post-punk dynamics that create a strange feeling of possibility. On a standout track like “Fiend City / I Saw Rosa Bathing,” No Thanks definitely calls back to the sage talk-singing of Minutemen and the prickly art-punk of Wire, but also steer away from those influence with outbursts of sinister fuzz bass and volatile reverb-scrambled guitar tones. Hussies, also from Omaha, play lashing, grimy explosions of bent-up hardcore and noise-rock. This show also features the slimy-but-catchy Madison garage-punk band Dumb Vivison, and marks the debut of a new band, Once A Month, which features members of Jonesies, Gonzo Rongs, and Automatically Yours. —SG
MONDAY JANUARY 2
Pundamonium. High Noon Saloon, 7 p.m.
In the monthly Pundamonium night at the High Noon, organizers pick 10 contestants to face off in a series of elimination rounds, each competing to impress audience judges with clever or groan-inducing puns. The dynamic is a bit like that of an unpredictable comedy open-mic—sometimes the really over-the-top terrible stuff just serves to make the show as a whole more entertaining. Or maybe the puns are bad and you feel bad. But in my experience, it’s worth cringing your way through at least one of these at some point in your life. —SG
TUESDAY JANUARY 3
Ladyscissors, Treemo. High Noon Saloon, 5:30 p.m.
Madison band Ladyscissors makes pop that’s genuinely sweet and disarming but also bears a strange tilt. The four-piece’s 2014 album Glitterbox sways pleasantly between innocent doo-wop and a stark sadness that calls back the first Velvet Underground album. Band members Lorrie Hurckes, Anne Bull, and Stephanie Rearick all sing, crafting vocal arrangements rich with harmonies and catchy wordless hooks that play in call-and-response with the leads. This works especially well when combined with wistful, jangling guitars on “Wasting Time” and “Red Blue.” This bill also features Madison acoustic trio Treemo. —SG
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 4
The Wekons, The Tiny Band. High Noon Saloon, 5:30 p.m.
The Madisonians in The Tiny Band play only small instruments—a mandobird for Lisa Marine, baritone ukulele for Julia Ziemer, and a small drum set for former Killdozer drummer Dan Hobson, to name a few of the members. With a cast that also includes Kia Karlen (tiny piano) and Jonathan Zarov (plastic-bag percussion, mandolin), the band turns this gimmick into something that can be a bit playful but sometimes dead earnest and quite lovely, thanks in large part to Marine and Ziemer’s vocals and a deep mix of originals and covers. At this show, The Tiny Band will open up for Madison-based Mekons tribute band The Wekons. —SG