Madison calendar, March 16 through 22

The Smells, Greg Ward, Marty Stuart, Sound Out Loud, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Emili Earhart, Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Erica Motz, Mike Noto, Chali Pittman, Joel Shanahan

The Smells, Greg Ward, Marty Stuart, Sound Out Loud, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Emili Earhart, Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Erica Motz, Mike Noto, Chali Pittman, Joel Shanahan


The Smells.

The Smells.

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Nomad World Pub Grand Opening: Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, DJ Phil Money. Nomad World Pub, 8 p.m. (free)

Madison lost one of its most important venues in January, when Ricardo Gonzalez sold his long-running Cardinal Bar to the owner of Milwaukee’s Nomad World Pub, who is turning it into a Madison branch of same. Over its 43-year run, the Cardinal provided an important home for jazz, electronic music, dance nights, the LGBT community, and, in keeping with Gonzalez’s heritage as a Cuban immigrant, many facets of Latin American culture. The Nomad in Milwaukee is also known for its affinity for Latin culture, and for soccer, which occasionally gets it into trouble, but also could smooth the transition. The new ownership has promised to maintain much of the Cardinal’s local music programming, and there is reason for optimism—longtime dance and fetish-night promoter Lili Luxe and trombonist and jazz-community pillar Darren Sterud are working together on the booking. The Nomad officially celebrates its local opening here with the New Orleans-style jazz of Mama Digdown’s Brass Band and the masterful hip-hop/funk/Afrobeat selections of DJ Phil Money. —Scott Gordon

Jazz 100. Overture Hall, 7:30 p.m.

The touring Jazz 100 show may be biting off a lot—it aims to pay tribute to jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mongo Santamaria, who were all born in 1917—but it has a strong lineup of relatively young jazz standouts under the hood. Pianist Danilo Pérez, who played with Gillespie in the early 1990s, is leading the show, which will incorporate material from each of the aforementioned four artists. The musicians joining him here include trumpeter Avishai Cohen, whose well-received discography includes the 2016 ECM release Into The Silence; saxophonist Chris Potter, known for his work with artists including Dave Douglas and Craig Taborn; trombone player Wycliffe Gordon, who played with Wynton Marsalis early in his career; and vocalist Lizz Wright. —SG

Bad Cinema: Yor. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

An early nominee for multiple Golden Raspberry awards, Yor, The Hunter From The Future is part of a long legacy of high-grossing, horseshit comic book films. In Antonio Margheriti’s 1983 schlock-shrine, you get to watch a barbarian named Yor (played by Reb Brown) fight evil scientists and kill a dinosaur with an axe, as this seemingly primal, sci-fi caveman film stumbles its way into a post-nuclear tale. It screens here as a well-chosen entry in the Madison Public Library’s monthly Bad Cinema series. —Joel Shanahan

The Adventures Of Prince Achmed. Union South Marquee, 7 p.m. (free)

If you missed The Thief Of Bagdad at The Overture Center’s Duck Soup Cinema series last Saturday, you can catch another adaptation of a One Thousand And One Nights story this Thursday at Union South. The Adventures Of Prince Achmed, the 1926 film by German director Lotte Reiniger, is thought to be the oldest surviving animated film. Despite the film’s age (it has since been restored), Reiniger’s trademark silhouette animation style used in this film creates high-contrast, striking images. —Erica Motz


Greg Ward Trio. Arts + Literature Laboratory, 8 p.m.

Growing up singing in gospel groups, composer and saxophonist Greg Ward has had rhythm all his life. He’s a former member of Chicago-based avant jazz group Fitted Shards and NYC-based trio Phonic Juggernaut, which released an album on Thirsty Ear; and he inexplicably helps out Lupe Fiasco with his orchestration needs, too. Ward comes to ALL in the wake of last year’s album Touch My Beloved’s Thought, which was commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago as a response to Charles Mingus’ seminal album The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady. (Die-hard jazz lovers will recognize Ward’s album’s title as a scrap of poem printed on the cover of Black Saint, arguably Mingus’ most memorable album.) Ward’s got some things in common with Mingus, although he doesn’t try to imitate: He’s a bit more harmonious than Mingus’ hard bop, but he’s still able to feel out the experimental and avant side while maintaining a driving sound throughout a performance. Ward is joined here by bassist Dennis Carroll, who plays in the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and teaches at DePaul School of Music. Percussionist Greg Artry rounds out the trio. —Chali Pittman


Sound Out Loud. Mills Hall, 8 p.m. (free)

Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (1912) holds up as a defining work of Expressionist music, epitomizing the unsettling tendencies of the movement, as well as setting an example of achieved mastery for the instrumentalists and Soprano vocalists performing the work. Schoenberg’s application of Sprechstimme––a vocal technique associated with Expressionism––demands a considerable amount of virtuosity and balance between singing and speaking for the singer, one that soloist Mimmi Fulmer (featured in Friday’s performance) transcends. Now a professor of voice at UW-Madison, Fulmer first performed Pierrot Lunaire in 1978, and has studied under Jan DeGaetani––whose performance of Pierrot Lunaire (Nonesuch 1970) is held in exemplary admiration. Sound Out Loud, a new music group structured as a “Pierrot Ensemble” (with percussion), will also be performing Maurice Ravel’s Chansons madécasses (1926), featuring vocalist Sarah Richardson. ––Emili Earhart

The Smells, Dumb Vision, Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones, Kazmir. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

Let’s be honest: a band name like The Smells and an album title like Manure Spreader do not give you reason to hope for much at first glance. However, the names turn out to be effective, and possibly unintentional, fake-out maneuvers. Stylistically, the Madison band owes a debt to relaxed ’90’s indie-pop, especially Pavement. But the nice thing about influence from Pavement is that it often promises, and sometimes even delivers, sharply observed and crafted tunes behind a cannily affected veneer of offhand revelation. And at its best, that’s exactly what Manure Spreader offers. Slower, more contemplative and interesting cuts like the oddly affecting “GFG” and the anthem of the everyday “Another Hit (In a Car)” display keen insight and melody, with winning, half-sung vocals and surprisingly well-recorded, covertly hooky guitars. They appear at Mickey’s promoting the release of Manure Spreader with the long-lived Algoma cult band Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones, local psychedelic revivalists Kazmir, and the energetic, murky garage punk of Dumb Vision. —Mike Noto

Dinosaur Jr., Easy Action. Majestic, 8 p.m. (sold out)

We’re in an odd musical era now where we’re able to compare the changes in 30 years of indie punk across several longitudinal control groups: Meat Puppets, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., etc. Each new release might make you wonder if—Dad-jokers, should I even say it?—it’s their last before going extinct as a band. (Ba-dum-pum-sha.) Well, Dinosaur Jr.’s latest from last summer, Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, out on Jagjaguwar, isn’t stale at all, instead exploring the more melodic side of their defining riffs-and-distortion vibe. While their latest album is a bit more chilled out with age (maybe it’s all those kale chips?), their sonic identity is still recognizably Dino Jr. Detroit band Easy Action, featuring abrasive vocalist John Brannon of legendary hardcore outfit Negative Approach, opens this show. —CP


A Thunderous Evening With Killdozer. Central Library, 6 p.m. (free)

The Madison Public Library has been toying with the idea of events that focus in on a particular album, a sort of in-person take on the 33 ⅓ book series. It starts off here with an evening devoted to Killdozer’s 1987 album Twelve Point Buck, the fourth of the Madison noise-rock band’s run of slow-lurching, corrosively funny releases for Touch & Go. The album will play in full on LP starting at 6:30. After that, there will be a screening of the 2016 documentary The Smart Studios Story, followed by a panel discussion with Killdozer drummer Dan Hobson, Smart Studios Story director Wendy Schneider, and producer Butch Vig. —SG

Squarewave, Double Ewes, Disq. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

This show offers a great opportunity to hear a bunch of new material from a solid lineup of local psych-pop acts. Squarewave describe themselves as “kaleidoscopic,” which is a good way of understanding their undulating psychedelic compositions. They recently released their new album A Tighter Knot, and this looks like the first time they’ve played since their CD release show for that album in January (Tone Madison contributor Joel Shanahan also recently interviewed Squarewave about the album). Electronic-folk hybridizers Double Ewes promise “95% of a new album and a heart full of heritage,” a delicious bit of news that hopefully, if we do our dances to the gods, will result in a trippy follow up to their excellent eponymous 2014 release. They’ve been working on it for a while, after all. The chilled-out high-schoolers of Disq will play at Mickey’s here for the first time. —CP

Marty Stuart. Stoughton Opera House, 3 & 7 p.m.

Guitarist, mandolin player, singer, and songwriter Marty Stuart played in Johnny Cash’s band before launching a successful solo career in the mid-1980s. That’s a legacy one could easily coast on, but he’s still making records that put a refreshing spin on honky-tonk traditionalism. The just-released album Way Out West feels both rugged and spacious—Stuart and band nimbly plow into tracks like the surf-meets-Western instrumental “Torpedo” and propulsive country-rocker “Time Don’t Wait,” and a welcome tinge of psychedelia runs throughout, especially on the title track, even though that song is a cautionary tale about popping pills. Stuart’s voice still has a balance of earthiness and warmth, and he’s clearly still a witty and curious songwriter. In other words, he’s that rare artist who can draw you in with a bit of country-music history, but still keep you excited about what he’s doing now. —SG

Kitsch As Kitsch Can V. Art In, 6 p.m.

Madison musician Chris Joutras’ Kitschy Manitou Records is a small label that’s put out releases from a dozen-odd bands, most of them from Madison and most of them with an odd spin on punk (including Wood Chickens, Paint, Tiny Daggers, Christian Dior). The label’s annual Kitsch As Kitsch Can party reflects its affinity for lovable and loud Midwestern artists. This year’s edition features eight acts, including swaggering Green Bay trio Holly And The Nice Lions, Champaign’s tunefully angsty Kowabunga! Kid, newer Madison band Solid Freex (featuring Steve Coombs of Trin Tran and his sons), and one of Joutras’ own bands, The Momotaros. Money from the door and a raffle will benefit the Dane County Rape Crisis Center, which provides much-needed services to victims of sexual assault. —SG

Ken Kratz. Barnes & Noble West Towne, 3 p.m. (free)

It’s been over a year since the Netflix documentary series Making A Murderer poked a great many holes into the case Manitowoc County made against accused murderers Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. Over the course of the 10-episode series, special prosecutor and baby-voiced mustache-haver Ken Kratz was made to look like a callous and opportunistic shithead, despite his success in wrangling convictions and life sentences for both Avery and Dassey. Regardless of your thoughts on the Avery case itself, though, you’re probably not exactly a fan of Kratz—he was forced to resign in 2010 after a sexting scandal wherein he used his role in the Avery case as leverage to coerce women into trading sexual favors, one of whom was the ex of a man Kratz was prosecuting. So, this here dirtbag has a new book out, Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery And What “Making A Murderer” Gets Wrong, which will supposedly tell his side of the story, which could have been told in the first place if he hadn’t turned down multiple interview requests by the filmmakers, but oh well. Kratz will be signing copies of his book (which is not the tell-all he originally envisioned) at the Barnes & Noble at West Towne Mall if you wanna shake his hand or maybe ask if he still wants the $75 back that he gave to a woman after scaring her into performing sex acts. —CL


Micro-Wave Cinema: Excursions. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)

People go to great lengths to fill the gaping chasms in their souls with meaning. We’ve been asking ourselves the “big questions” for as long as we’ve been a species, yet it still feels like we’re never going to get anything resembling bedrock answers. Perhaps, as the two couples discover in Excursions, Daniel Martinico’s second feature, it’s not the destination but the journey. Secluding themselves in a remote cabin for a few days, the four enlightenment-seekers employ everything from simple games like roshambo and dominoes up to much more extreme methods as a means of reconnecting themselves to a bygone primal nature. It’s an excellent film to start off the second half of Micro-Wave Cinema’s spring series, meaty and sinewy while still maintaining an artful fragility. Stick around after the screening for a Q&A with Martinico. —CL

The Missouri Breaks. Chazen Museum of Art, 2 p.m. (free)

Arthur Penn’s forgotten revisionist Western oddity The Missouri Breaks, co-starring Jack Nicholson and peak batshit crazy-era Marlon Brando, screens here as part of UW Cinematheque’s Sunday series celebrating legendary composer John Williams. Filmed right after Brando lubed himself up with butter for his infamous rape scene in Last Tango In Paris and just before he would jerk Richard Donner around by hiding in his trailer on the set of Superman, it’s notable that the most bugnuts thing Brando’s known for here is having personally invented the harpoon/mace weapon his bounty-hunter character wields while hunting down Nicholson’s gang of horse-thieves. The film was considered a flop on its release in 1976, but the bonkers depiction of the west on display here (and its stellar supporting cast, featuring Randy Quaid and Harry Dean Stanton) has gained new appreciation in the years since. —CL

Sun Speak, Tony Barba, Mahr. Arts + Literature Laboratory, 8 p.m.

Chicago duo Sun Speak, headlining this Tone Madison-curated show, thread their way elegantly between harmonically rich jazz guitar and more adventurous, volatile reaches of composition and improvisation. Drummer Nathan Friedman and guitarist Matt Gold crafted a set of tender but rhythmically restless instrumentals on Sun Speak’s 2014 debut album, Light Blue Light, and their live sets feel rich and layered, even though they’re a two-piece who make relatively little use of loops and effects. Sun Speak are currently working on a follow-up to 2015’s Sacred Rubble EP, and we recommend them to anyone who appreciates jazz, tasteful instrumental rock, or anything in between. Sharing the bill are Madison electronic artist Mahr, playing all new material here in the wake of her excellent self-titled EP from 2016, and saxophonist Tony Barba, who explores a mix of jazz and ambient music with a solo setup using sax and an array of electronic effects. Learn more about the show in our curator’s notes this week and our podcast interview with Mahr. —SG


Jay Som, The Courtneys, Disq. Frequency, 7:30 p.m.

Say “Flying Nun Records” to the right people, and it’ll conjure up sounds of a fuzzy indie-pop vibe, complete with catchy bleached vocals. The New Zealand-based record label curates its release list carefully to maintain that college rock aesthetic, so it’s impressive that Vancouver band The Courtneys managed to get signed to that label. But it’s not surprising, given that The Courtneys’ catchy rhythms, sweet vocals, and memorable lyrics can rattle around in your head for days. And honestly, it’s really nice to hear more lady voices on such a seminal label and in this style of music. They just released their new album The Courtneys II last month, so this is a great chance to hear a ton of new material. The careful croons of Bay-area bedroom-pop musician Melina Duterte, a.k.a. Jay Som, top the bill at this show. —CP


The State Of State Cinema. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

Madison film website LakeFrontRow stands out in town for the emphasis it places on work from Wisconsin filmmakers, both in its coverage and in the screening series it hosts at the Central Library. At this event, just eight days before the Wisconsin Film Festival returns, LFR pulls back a bit to start a discussion of how filmmakers and their audiences are doing in the state. Editor David Klein will host a panel discussion with WFF and UW-Cinematheque staffer Ben Reiser, UW-Madison film PhD student and filmmaker Nora Stone, Last Day At Lambeau director Michael Neelsen, and Tone Madison‘s own Mark Riechers. The site also is using an online survey to gather more impressions from the community. The panel will be preceded by screenings of a few Wisconsin-made shorts from Stone, Elizabeth Wadium, and Gabe Reiss. —SG

The English Beat, Something To Do. High Noon Saloon, 7:30 p.m.

It feels like The English Beat make the rounds to Madison every year or so, and every time it’s an excellent opportunity to catch a slice of ska history. Not only are they notable for reviving ska and blending it with a bit of punk, but they’re important from a sociological point as well: the “two-toned” nature of 2-tone music advocated for racial harmony in the late-1970s, a time of particularly great social unrest in the UK. Bring your dancing shoes and enjoy what ska sounded like before it was ruined by Reel Big Fish. Milwaukee’s rock’n’roll/ska blend Something To Do opens. —CP

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