Sepultura, The Hussy, St. Vincent, and more of the best stuff happening in Madison this week. | By Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, and Joel Shanahan
THURSDAY MAY 21
Before this year’s WisCon sci-fi convention kicks off in earnest (see Friday’s previews for more on that), two of the best-known authors attending will visit A Room Of One’s Own for a reception (starting at 5 p.m.) and a reading (starting at 6 p.m.). Mexico City-based Alaya Dawn Johnson has published a slew of short stories, novels and poems in the speculative-fiction genre since 2004, most recently last year’s young-adult novel
Love Is The Drug. Kim Stanley Robinson has been publishing for more than 30 years now, building himself into one of the more revered, versatile authors in contemporary science fiction. While Robinson is best known for his Mars Trilogy, his latest, 2013’s 2312, is a gorgeously humane sci-fi epic, and his 2009 historical fiction novel Galileo’s Dream brings its embattled title character to life with humor, warmth and brutal honesty. Robinson’s next novel, Aurora, is due out in July.
When current Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy frontman Max Cavalera parted ways with Brazilian metal legends Sepultura following 1996’s
Roots, few could’ve predicted that the band could possibly survive such a massive blow. Fast forward 19 years and the nu-metal influence of the former guitarist-vocalist’s final album, which actually featured members of Korn and Limp Bizkit, has been all but stripped away in favor of the band’s previous progressive death-metal and thrash-metal leanings, both Cavalera brothers have been replaced (founding drummer Igor left in 2008), and the band is still releasing detailed and sprawling material, while still holding onto the worldly percussion-style and groove that helped define their sound. If you don’t believe us, be sure to give a spin to Sepultura’s most recent and dynamically crushing long-player—2013’s The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart. Of the classic Beneath The Remains lineup, only longtime guitarist Andreas Kisser and founding bassist Paolo Jr. are still present. This show is also well worth checking out for a rare Madison appearance from blistering German death-metal pioneers Destruction, as well as tech-metal brain-wringers Arsis.
A massive and somewhat convoluted sci-fi bust that just barely brought in one-third of its pricey production budget, Peter Yates’
Krull centers on a planet of the same name being invaded by a leader known as “The Beast” (voiced by Trevor Martin), his galaxy-traveling army of “Slayers,” and a surviving prince named Colwyn (played by Ken Marshall) who journeys to stop them. Despite being a massive box office bomb and critical failure, the bizarre and detailed visual eye-candy via the costuming and special effects, as well as the ambitious story, have kept the movie alive in the hearts of cultist sci-fi heads. It screens here as part of the Madison Public Library’s Bad Cinema series.
Madison’s closest thing to a hometown standup comedy hero on his way up, Nate Craig, doesn’t make it back here to perform maybe more than once or twice a year. This time around, he’s here to celebrate the release of his second album of wonderfully excitable rants,
Eggshell, and everyone who buys a ticket to the show gets a copy. Also on the bill for the evening will be local comedian and former Mayoral candidate Nick Hart.
FRIDAY MAY 22
The Strollin’ jazz series
got off to a promising start last year, with each event bringing a diverse batch of local and regional jazz musicians in to play at multiple spots in a given neighborhood. As the second year of Strollin’ kicks off at near-east side businesses including Thorp’s, One Barrel Brewing, Alchemy and Chocolaterian, variety remains its main strength. Staggered across the evening are several youth jazz ensembles, the experimental duo of bassist (and series co-organizer) Rob Lundberg and master synth/guitar manipulator Andy Fitzpatrick (All Tiny Creatures, Volcano Choir, Noxroy, etc.), a trio set from Madison-based sax and flute improviser Hanah Jon Taylor, and the Mike Cammilleri Organ Trio, among several others.
Madison garage-punk duo The Hussy’s live shows usually stand in pared-down contrast to the ever-expanding layers of overdubs and production quirks of their studio albums. But as they celebrate their fourth album,
Galore, at this show, drummer Heather Hussy and guitarist Bobby Hussy will play their first set as a “full” band, complete with bass, additional guitar, fiddle and a bit of lap-steel. While about half of Galore still consists of gritty, pop-informed, two-minutes-or-shorter rippers (the best including the previously released single “EZ/PZ,” the snarling “Made In The Shade” and “Luke”), it also opens up the band’s songwriting and sonic pallette more than ever before. Sometimes that means brighter, breezier, and more jangly, especially on the swaying psych-pop “Take You Up,” and sometimes that means getting more vulnerable, as on the Heather Hussy-led “Darkness” and “My Bad.” They’ll have an early run of LP copies available at this show, which will also feature a rare set from over-the-top glam-punks Screamin’ Cyn Cyn And The Pons.
Foshizzle Family—a Madison-based crew of DJs whose parties are often known for their lysergically gorgeous and carefully curated house and techno selections, infused water, and hot tea, will be kicking off their returning summer series of outdoor Foshizzle Friday parties at James Madison park with sets from Foshizzle resident Wangzoom, House Of Love residents Wyatt Agard and Tim “Lovecraft” Thompson, and the head-scratchingly titled Boba Swett.
With Men’s Rights Activist dick-heads
calling for the boycotting of Mad Max: Fury Road being the latest example of tense gender relations in all levels of genre narratives, it’s good to hear that there’s something of an antidote out there, and it’s actually in our backyard. WisCon, “the first and foremost feminist science fiction convention in the world,” has been a Madison institution since 1977, giving voice to the increasing number of women sci-fi fans (and their allies), providing them a hypersensitive safe space to nerd the hell out. Guests of Honor this year will be Alaya Dawn Johnson and Kim Stanley Robinson (the latter being the multiple Hugo and Locus Award-winning Mars trilogy). Across the multiple days of events, there will be author readings, writers’ workshops, and even a bake-sale. If programs like “Manic Pixies, Magical Negroes, and Other Iconic Harmful Tropes,” “Misandry, Reverse Racism, and Other Imaginary Creatures,” “WisCon After Dark 101: How to Flirt with Respect” get you going, then this is the place for you—and those are just from the first day. Really though, it’s an ambitious schedule worth digging into, with topics spanning from the environment (Robinson will be giving a talk about John Muir on Friday), sci-fi-influenced music, and many angles on the role of gender and sexuality in science fiction.
You know what this is about, and you’re gonna either A) brave the thronging crowds for a brat and a beer and maybe chuckle to yourself while taking in all of Bret Michaels be-cowboy hatted bombast, B) go with absolute sincerity and listen up to Staind’s (sic) Aaron Lewis perform his countrified, libertarian-ish solo material or C) take the political high road and skip it (and The Charlie Daniels Band) all together.
SATURDAY MAY 23
Within the span of Vanishing Kids’ decade-plus existence, the band has relocated from Madison to Portland, recorded 2005’s
The Selfish Mirror with Martin Atkins (a former member of Public Image Ltd and Pigface and one-time Madison Media Institute instructor), went through a numerous lineup shifts, and eventually resettled back in Madison. However, the core of vocalist-keyboardist Nikki Drohomyreky and guitarist Jason Hartman has remained intact and the band’s swirling blend of organ-laced psych-rock, sparkling shoegaze, and meticulously slanted songwriting has been ever-consistent. After taking a break from performing after the release of 2013’s excellent Spirit Visions full-length (Hartman was busy touring as a guitarist for Madison doom-metal outfit Jex Thoth), the band has recently enlisted Wartorn’s Hart Miller for drum duties and started playing live a bit more often. With its airtight, new rhythm section, the foursome have been busy writing and recording a fresh batch of entrancing, down-tempo dirges that they recently debuted at The Frequency a few weeks ago.
Sure, maybe the idea of gathering to watch myriad producers from all over the city compete against each other with one-minute MP3 snippets may seem exhausting in the same way as annual Madison’s Funniest Comic competition at the Comedy Club On State. However, what really piques our interest about the Urban Community Arts Network’s Beatmakers Brawl (which kicks off the organizations For The Love Of Hip Hop summer show series) is the discussion panel. The panel will feature Madison’s own DJ Pain 1—a platinum-selling artist whose spacious, pounding, and vocal-laden backdrop for Ludacris’ “Money” just made it onto the Atlanta hip-hop legend’s recent
Burning Bridges EP, Konvict Muzik A&R head D-Teck ((T-Pain and French Montana have been on the label’s roster), and Milwaukee-based producer Godxilla, We’d also like to note that it’s for an awesome cause and all proceeds will go toward future UCAN events, including its annual summer concert series featuring local hip-hop acts.
The Toronto three-piece Metz certainly isn’t the only band to ably carry on the misanthropic fundamentals of early-’90s noise rock—gnarled guitar chords, queasy yet brutally taut rhythms—but they pull it off with magnetic abandon and precisely deployed overloads of volume, as we experienced in the sweaty, lurching crowd at Metz’s show in 2013 at The Frequency. Metz recently followed up their self-titled 2012 debut album with
Metz II, which is still pretty scathing but expands on the band’s sound, from the endearingly slurred chorus of “Spit You Out” to the malignant cloud of noise that concludes “Kicking A Can Of Worms.”
TUESDAY MAY 26
St. Vincent’s self-titled 2014 album, the project’s fourth, exploded mastermind/songwriter/singer/legit guitar badass Annie Clark’s popularity to a new level, but she’s offered a refreshingly barbed, bold approach ever since debuting with 2007’s
Marry Me. Clark loves a good propulsive hook as much as she loves jabs of noise and cryptic turns of phrase, and she’s always brought those impulses together with sharply incisive results—on St. Vincent, perhaps the persona’s grown a little more complex and arch, but the foundation’s still there, as she swings from twitchy, witty singles “Digital Witness” and “Birth In Reverse” to splendidly wistful, and equally catchy, songs like “Prince Johnny” and “Severed Crossed Fingers.” If this one made you a new St. Vincent fan, you’re not wrong, but do dig back into the earlier stuff, particularly 2009’s Actor. Opening here is violinist Sarah Neufeld, whose solo work on 2013’s Hero Brother (and a new collaborative album with saxophonist Colin Stetson) journeys into far more meditative and abstract territory than her main band, Arcade Fire.
Guitarist Mark Shippy played in the much-honored noise-rock groups U.S. Maple and Shorty, and drummer Jim Sykes was an early member of the brilliant NYC band Parts & Labor, and their current duo Invisible Things certainly nods to that past, but with a fertile, abrasive, almost open-ended meld of sounds. On Invisible Things’ recently released album Time As One Axis, Shippy and Sykes veer fluidly between relatively straightforward post-punk and masterfully dissonant passages that crack the songs open in a tempest of fiery drumming and multi-layered yet engaging noise. This show also features a set from Madison post-punk trio Control, who haven’t been playing nearly enough shows lately if you ask us, and WORT DJ and former Crustacean Records fellow Jake Shut will be spinning records, so we’d recommend getting to this.
WEDNESDAY MAY 27
Nerd Nite Madison’s organizers have billed this evening of informal talks “A salute to stereotypes,” although the details are a little more complicated and self-aware than that suggests. Subjects will include the history of censorship in comic books, the history of console gaming, and the trope of males disguising themselves as females.