Madison calendar, May 11 through 17

Dosh, Ab-Soul, Aparna Nancherla, Frandutopia, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Erica Motz, Mike Noto, Joel Shanahan

Dosh, Ab-Soul, Aparna Nancherla, Frandutopia, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Erica Motz, Mike Noto, Joel Shanahan




Sponsor message: The weekly Tone Madison calendar is made possible with support from Union Cab of Madison, a worker-owned cooperative providing safe and professional taxi services. 608–242–2000 | @unioncabcoop


Aparna Nancherla. Comedy Club on State, through May 13, see link for all showtimes

Aparna Nancherla has been making a name for herself in the tough-as-nails NYC stand-up scene for a while, but, with some high profile work on shows like HBO’s Crashing and Inside Amy Schumer, over the past year or so she’s begun to explode past those confines and get broader recognition in the indie comedy world. Nancherla has a loose stage presence and her tightly composed material explores insecurities both external and internal as well as delightfully unique bits that make the mundanities of city life personal. Nancherla released her first stand-up album, Just Putting It Out There, in 2016 on Tig Notaro’s record label. — Chris Lay

Frandutopia A Trois. Bartell Theatre, through May 13, see link for all showtimes

It’s impossible to be a barfly around the Capitol Square and not have some sort of reaction to the name Frandu. In our 2015 profile of the oddball local artist, we described Frandu, born Francisco Rodriguez, as “a pint-sized feral Yoda” who haunts the local open mics, mixing frenetic poetry excerpts in with his stand-up routines. This marks the third year of his one-man show, Frandutopia, which includes selections of local standups and musicians as openers, friends from the open mic circuit, followed by the main event: Frandu himself holding court on life and death, love and passion, and everything in between. — CL


Take Me. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)

Actor Pat Healy makes his directorial debut with the dark comedy Take Me, starring Healy as a man who decides to get into the business of staged kidnappings, and Orange Is The New Black’s Taylor Schilling as a client/victim whose, um, experience goes awry. A few notable roles have prepared Healy for this, especially his leading turn in the savage Cheap Thrills (2013) as one of two friends who engage in an escalating series of demeaning acts to amuse a rich couple, and monumentally creepy role as a cop-impersonating caller tormenting a fast-food employee in Compliance(2012). Take Me gets its local premiere here, and Healy, whose brother Jim happens to head up UW-Cinematheque and the Wisconsin Film Festival, will be visiting Madison for a post-screening discussion. — Scott Gordon

Nick Brown Band, Marty Finkel. High Noon Saloon, 5:30 p.m.

Nick Brown’s first solo album, 2013’s Slow Boat, made him a standout among singer-songwriters in Madison, thanks to its sparse instrumentation and its moody but often slyly funny material. He’s finally following that up with the Contender EP, his first recording with a full band backing up his songs. The personality that made Slow Boat work — taking a tough look at loneliness and longing, but also coping through the occasional wisecrack — is intact here, with the band giving the songs a muscular but affable country-rock feel. Read more about it in our story from earlier this week. — SG

The Revolution. Barrymore, 8 p.m.

If one good thing came out of Prince’s death in April 2016, it was inspiring some of the musicians who recorded and toured with him during his most iconic period to reunite. Prince began assembling the band that would become The Revolution in the late 1970s, but it’s best known for its work on 1984’s Purple Rain. The reunited version of The Revolution touring now comprises five people who executed that album’s brilliant hybrid vision of funk and rock: guitarist Wendy Melvoin, bassist Brown Mark, keyboard players Lisa Coleman and Matt Fink, and drummer Bobby Z. The band members have been sharing vocal duties, while making it clear that no one’s trying to replicate Prince’s performances in that regard, and they’ve hinted at some guests appearing with them along the way. At the very least, I can’t imagine it being anything less than a display of sick musicianship, and probably a cathartic dance party for audience and performers alike. — SG

InDIGenous: Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet. Central Library, 7:30 p.m. (free)

Fans of the Eight O’clock Buzz morning news shows on WORT might know Tony Castañeda as the illuminating voice of Thursday’s AM drive-time block of information, but even more than a rabble-rousing local broadcaster, Castañeda’s been a force in the local music scene for decades holding it down on the congas at gigs all over town with his Latin Jazz Sextet. Catch Castañeda and co. as they wrap up the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium’s inDIGenous series at Madison Public Library’s Central Branch with some high energy tracks from their new CD, Mambo O Muerte, as well as some old favorites. — CL



Half-Stack Sessions Spring Show. Wil-Mar Center, 7:30 p.m.

A group of Madison-based musicians started the Half-Stack Sessions project earlier this year with the goal of making Madison’s music community more inclusive of women, non-binary people, and members of the LGBT community. They’ve gone about this so far through semi-private get togethers that have included discussions and live-band karaoke, but this show will mark the group’s first public event. Highlights on the bill include the slashing punk of Milwaukee band Fox Face, bittersweet Twin Cities indie-pop outfit 4th Curtis, and a fashion show organized by vintage-clothing store Good Style Shop. Proceeds from the event will benefit Half-Stack Sessions and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. Read more about Half-Stack in Emili Earhart’s recent story for Tone Madison. — SG

The Black Angels, A Place To Bury Strangers. Majestic, 9 p.m.

The Black Angels’ recorded output is a mixed bag, sometimes delivering brilliant, menacing psych-rock and sometimes lapsing into what feels like a thin gesture at same. In any case, the Austin band stand out for their drone-swarmed live sets, and their new album Death Song is definitely among its strongest moments. Opening track “Currency” sets the tone for an album-length exploration of genuine dread and vulnerability, and its strange moments of tenderness, like “Grab As Much (As You Can),” only help the surrounding darkness weigh that much more heavily on the listener. Just as importantly, songs like “I Dreamt” remind us that The Black Angels can still work catchy hooks in with all that eerie atmosphere. — SG

Golpe Tierra. Art In, 7 p.m.

Golpe Tierra mostly comprises musicians who were born or grew up in Madison and have deep family ties to Latin America — bassist Nick Moran, cajon player/vocalist Juan Tomás Martínez, and guitarist Richard Hildner. (Saxophonist Tony Barba is the band’s newest member.) Their new EP, Golpe Con Golpe, combines Afro-Peruvian musical traditions with a variety of other sounds, including flamenco, and explores that mix with the improvisatory approach of jazz. You can read more about the EP in our story about Golpe Tierra this week, available in both English and Spanish. This release show also features DJ Bumbac Joe, an art exhibition, a screening of a documentary about Golpe Tierra’s 2015 visit to Cuba, and food from the Caracas Empanadas cart. — SG


Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

There are some bands that make you crawl through a dark labyrinth to find the hidden sugar. With the thorny casing of 2016’s Droopy McCool, New York’s Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk proved to be no exception. An extreme departure from the washed out and stripped down guitar-pop of Burritos,the first of two full-lengths they dropped last year, Droopy McCool feels far more confrontational and flat-out noisy. Between the grinding industrial abstraction of “Grandma Tarkin,” the tense, dissonant drones of “Droopy IV,” and the harsh, fax-machine vibe of album-opener “Cercone Island,” BBDDM truly challenges the listener to make it all the way to floating guitar zone-out “Where Are You Lisa Fisher.” The band’s live show constantly evolves, so it’s hard to say if the tunes will be reinterpreted as pop-rock, played through a wall of hissing noise, or if they’ll all come out as ambient cruisers. You really never know and that’s what makes Baby Birds so fun to catch. — Joel Shanahan

Ab-Soul, Reggie Bonds, Lucien Parker. Majestic, 8 p.m.

Ab-Soul is known as probably the wordiest of the collective of rappers known as Black Hippy, which also includes Kendrick Lamar and scHoolboy Q. This is a mixed blessing: he can rap rings around most working MC’s right now, and he can be deeply emotionally resonant when he chooses to be, as his unforgettable, moving exploration of personal tragedy “The Book Of Soul” proves. But his prodigious technique also means that he can become deeply entangled in meaningless and often corny lines that were seemingly constructed only for the sake of complexity. (You sometimes get the feeling that Ab-Soul would actually use “lyrical spiritual miracle” in a verse if he didn’t know it was a parodic cliche.) In short, he’s got a bit of Canibus syndrome, and it can sometimes get in the way of his many good points as a rapper. His December album Do What Thou Wilt strikes a precarious balance between the two approaches, but thankfully his delivery — confident, charismatic, utterly sincere within its self-belief — often saves his more precious moments. He appears at the Majestic with Milwaukee rapper Reggie Bonds and Minneapolis-born, currently madison-based rapper Lucien Parker. — Mike Noto


All Tiny Creatures, Dosh. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.

Twin Cities multi-instrumentalist Martin Dosh makes some of my favorite music anywhere, period. On his records — the best of which include 2006’s The Lost Take, 2004’s Naiose EP, and 2013’s Milk Money — Dosh uses his own drums and Fender Rhodes to lay a foundation for warm, pulsating, gracefully melodic instrumentals that span a netherworld between jazz and electronic music. All of this becomes a bit surreal in the live setting, where Dosh wrangles all the instruments together with loop pedals, building up full compositions without the aid of sequencers. Madison band All Tiny Creatures have been pretty quiet the last few years, with members occupied in projects including Bon Iver, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Field Report, and Volcano Choir. The electronic-rock hybridists’ latest album is 2013’s excellent Dark Clock. — SG

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

I remember the TV show Twin Peaks, co-created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, for the surreal Angelo Badalamenti soundtrack, the otherwordly characters, and the scenes that are simultaneously hilarious and sad: bad boy coke dealer Bobby Briggs crying about Major Briggs’ dream of a vision of lightAgent Cooper’s “present” of a cup of coffee, and, most bizarrely, Maggie, James, and Donna singing “Just You” together. I remember the 1992 David Lynch movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which serves as a prequel for the 1990–91 ABC series, for its terror and dark violence. If you’ve seen the show and are expecting the movie to be similar, be warned. Fire Walk With Me doesn’t resolve any of the questions left unanswered by the TV series (which may be answered after all when a much-anticipated third season kicks off May 21 on Showtime), but it does show us the beginnings of the many tangled threads Laura Palmer left behind when she was murdered. — Erica Motz

An ode to the best and worst of Madison summers.

Eight stories over eight days, delivered directly to your inbox.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top