The Dying Of The Light, Jessica Hopper, Lovely Socialite, and more events of note in Madison this week.
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THURSDAY FEBRUARY 25
Carl LaBove. Comedy Club on State, through February 27, see link for all showtimes.
I’m not gonna lie here and tell you that Carl LaBove is breaking new ground in standup comedy. He’s a living throwback to the brash and boozy coked-out ’80s (whose bad habits he spent years trying to leave behind), and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. LaBove’s a natural raconteur who worked his way up from being a doorman at The Comedy Store to the position of Sam Kinison’s right-hand man in the legendary Outlaws of Comedy (it was in Lebove’s arms that Kinison died after his car was hit by a drunk driver). His rough-around-the-edges material might not be innovative, but his years in the trenches have left him with a well-honed ability to keep things interesting in a comedy club. —Chris Lay
Mal-O-Dua. Mickey’s Tavern, 5:30 p.m. (free)
Mal-O-Dua, the Madison duo of Cedric Baetche and Chris Ruppenthal, celebrates the songs and guitar styles of Hawaiian music, gypsy jazz, American country music, and French pop standards. These seemingly disparate styles hang together in a charming, raffish blend, thanks to Baetche’s rich and playful vocals and Ruppenthal’s brilliantly nimble acoustic-guitar leads. It translates well even in a boisterous, chatty happy-hour setting, and you can read more about Mal-O-Dua’s Mickey’s residency in an interview from last year. —Scott Gordon
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 26
What Tyrants, Zinky Boys, Dash Hounds, Multiple Cat. Williamson Magnetic Recording Company, 8 p.m.
Minneapolis band What Tyrants play gleefully charging punk that sometimes veers off into bouncy new wave and surf-rock. The best tracks on their 2015 album No Luck balance aggression with brightness—”Far Out,” “Fuzz Trip,” and “4’s And 5’s” deliver a manic charge with their barbed rhythm guitar and combustive snare fills. —SG
Rich Robbins: Nimbus 2.0. Memorial Union Play Circle, 8:30 p.m. (free)
Rich Robbins is an MC who recently graduated from UW-Madison’s First Wave program, but hasn’t actually played a headlining show in town before. He’s making a big production out of the first one: This show will revisit the songs from Robbins’ 2015 debut album, Nimbus, but with an almost entirely new cast of guest MCs and vocalists, all of them tied to Madison and/or First Wave. The guests here include Trapo, Broadway, 3rd Dimension, Charles Grant, and CRASHprez—and many of them will play short sets of their own material amid the greater flow of the event. Hear more about the show in our recent podcast interview with Rich Robbins and several of his collaborators. —SG
Going Underground. Cardinal Bar, 9 p.m.
Many of our favorite DJ sets find their selectors chucking wild curveballs that blast through the cohesive framework they’ve been operating within and embed themselves deep into the listeners’ skulls. From its description, Going Underground throws concepts like “framework” and “vibe” from a moving helicopter, instead opting only for curveballs and working within an impossibly vague format. This party will pledge allegiance to the Union Jack, shining a spotlight on ’80s and ’90s music from the UK. That’s right, the only thing tying any of this shit together is a country and a 20-year timespan. WORT DJ and Music For The Masses host Ellafine and Caustic frontman Matt Fanale (billed here as The Good Mixer) promise to blast listeners with everything from “Blur and The Prodigy to New Order and Fatboy Slim.” There’s a part of me that craves a handful of NSAIDS when I imagine Britpop being mixed into New Order or literally anything being mixed into Fatboy Slim, but there’s another side telling me stop being such a pretentious asshole and reminding me that I still dig the shit out of all of the aforementioned artists (except Fatboy Slim), and that this would be a pretty solid way cruise through a Friday night. —Joel Shanahan
Bongzilla, Black Cobra, Lo-Pan, Against The Grain. High Noon Saloon, 8:30 p.m.
During its first run in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bongzilla became perhaps Madison’s best-known metal export, churning giddily weed-themed but also legitimately deft waves of filthy sludge. The band reunited last year and played one hometown show at the Great Midwest Marijuana Festival, so this High Noon show will be its first proper club appearance in Madison in years. To go in-depth on the reunion, read our new interview with guitarist/vocalist Michael Makela. —SG
Randy And Mr. Lahey Of Trailer Park Boys. Majestic, 9 and 11:30 p.m.
Is anyone else surprised that this live show starring second bananas from a low budget depraved Canadian pseudo-sitcom that got its start 15 years ago somehow sold out a show at the Majestic two weeks before showtime? (A late show has been added and is not sold out just yet.) I mean, I’m sure this is gonna be a big-bellied punch-drunk fun-time of a speech-slurring spectacle and all, but man, I would not have pegged it as having that kind of seat-filling heat. I guess these are the same folks who got a 10 minute video of the actor who plays Mr. Lahey to over 200,000 views, so there’s some underestimation going on over here for sure. —CL
Golden Dream. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 27
An Evening At Maria’s: Lovely Socialite, Tar Pet. Art In (1444 East Washington Ave.), 6 p.m.
This month’s installment of the multi-faceted, community-spirited Evening At Maria’s events series features music from the Madison-formed Lovely Socialite, a compositionally adventurous but often playful six-piece rooted in instrumental jazz. Taralie Peterson, a member of psych-folk duo Spires That In The Sunset Rise, also plays her in her solo project Tar Pet, whose live sets feature Peterson’s multi-textured cello work and tender yet unsettling vocals. As with previous Maria’s nights, this features local visual art (from Rob Oman, Eugene White, and Jason Ruhl) and spoken word (by Anthony Black and Tracy Curtis). Plus, Troy Peterson, best known for his work in the electronic project Kleptix, will be DJing between live performances. —SG
The Dying Of The Light. Vilas Hall, 2 p.m. (free)
It’s a simple fact that we’re just barely on the far side of a massive sea change in how we make, distribute, and watch movies. Part of UW Cinematheque’s Premier Showcase series, Peter Flynn’s 2015 documentary The Dying Of The Light will take a long and wistful look backwards at the history of film stock and traditional projection, and assess the various ramifications of the shift toward digital presentation. The film features dozens of interviews with the projectionists who’ve spent decade flipping reels in and out of massive projectors. Flynn will be present for a post-screening discussion, where someone will hopefully ask why this passionate love letter to film is presented in a digital format, but maybe that’s neither here nor there. —CL
THE DYING OF THE LIGHT: Raber Umphenour at the Victory Theatre in Holyoke, MA. from Peter Flynn on Vimeo.
Duck Soup Cinema: Speedy. Capitol Theater, 2 and 7 p.m.
While there are arguably better Harold Lloyd films out there, 1928’s Speedy is still pretty far up the list in the canon of slapstick cinema. In a story that ping-pongs all over 1920s New York, Lloyd plays the titular “Speedy” who, over the course of the film, manages to hold and then lose jobs at an alarming pace, eventually finding himself working to organize folks around the honorable mission of saving the last horse-drawn trolley, which just so happens to be owned by his gal’s grandfather. As with all of the Duck Soup Cinema screenings, this goofball tour through pre-depression Big Apple (Babe Ruth!) will feature live accompaniment on “the magnificent Grand Barton Organ” in the Capitol Theater. —CL
Jessica Hopper. Memorial Union Play Circle, 7:30 p.m. (free)
Chicago-based journalist Jessica Hopper has built up one of the deepest bodies of work (still going, of course) about the music of the past 20 years in her writing for numerous publications including Pitchfork and the Chicago Reader. And she’s long made a point of bridging the routine work of reviews and features with more ambitious cultural criticism, especially when it comes to exposing sexism in the music world. Last year, Hopper published The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic and left an editing position at Pitchfork to work on a new book and begin a new role as editorial director for MTV. Hopper hasn’t shared any specific plans for this talk, but it’ll be worth catching for her perspectives on music and media. —SG
Fantastic Planet. Union South Marquee, 11:30 p.m. (free)
If you’re anything like me, bits and pieces of René Laloux’s animated science fiction film Fantastic Planet have been rattling around in your subconscious for decades. I don’t know what it is, but someone must’ve thought that it was cool to screen this on Nickelodeon in the mid-’80s or something, because I have no idea how else I would’ve gotten the oddly gentle nightmarishness of its twisted otherworldly creatures into my head. The film is ostensibly about the human-like Om’s, who are the slaves of gilled blue giants called Draags, but the film exists as much to showcase all the surreal insanity Laloux can cram into every scene as it does to promote some sort of subversive message. —CL
The Long Voyage Home. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 28
Through A Glass Darkly. Chazen Museum of Art, 2 p.m. (free)
The first of what would become known as “The Trilogy” (followed in quick succession by Winter Light and The Silence), Ingmar Bergman’s 1961 film Through A Glass Darkly tells the tale of a plucky young lady who triumphs over adversity with a positive mental attitude, some elbow grease, and a little luck, manages to wins the affection of her family! Ha, just pullin’ your leg. It’s is it’s about suicide, mental illness, incest, and a woman whose tortured psyche is “taunted by God’s intangible presence.” Hopefully it’ll be pretty nice this weekend and you can go for a long cheerful stroll outside after watching this one. —CL
WEDNESDAY MARCH 2
Proper Method 1 Year Anniversary. Cardinal Bar, 10 p.m.
While the Cardinal’s Proper Method night generally explores the futuristic reaches of chill-out room bass music, its founders (various members of Madison-based producer and DJ groups Foshizzle Family and New Nature Collective) also pride themselves on not being “about purism or sticking to a formula.” That is wholly in evidence on this month’s bill of selectors, who will be celebrating the residency’s first anniversary. Madisonian DJ institution Nick Nice headlines, and we’re glad to see him unrestricted by the confines of some gimmicky Daft Punk Vs LCD Soundsystem party and given a chance to dig deep into his massive collection of disco, house, and much more to take listeners on a true journey. Foshizzle Family affiliate Funkenstein and Milwaukeean producer-DJ Slim Brit will kick things off. —JS