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Bing Bong, Vacant Church, Louie & The Flashbombs at Bur Oak

February 24 @ 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Vacant Church is shown posing in a yard. Tall trees that have lost their leaves can be seen behind them. The photograph is slightly blurry.

 Bing Bong, Vacant Church, and Louie & The Flashbombs make up a genuinely fascinating mix of artists, helping this Bur Oak show stand out. Bing Bong—a band that’s been running for over a decade—constitutes the lineup’s familiar local pillar act. Louie & The Flashbombs, a band whose members have an impressive collective pedigree of their own, are the newcomers; the Milwaukee act released their debut single “Hard Luck Story,” in January 2023. Members of Louie & The Flashbombs have played in a variety of recognizable acts, from the BoDeans to The Willy Porter Band to Pat McCurdy to The Mike Benign Compulsion, and a whole host of acts in between. Madison-based Vacant Church are relative newcomers and provide the biggest stylistic break between the three acts.

Stabilizer, Vacant Church’s debut album, was released in October 2022. While Bing Bong has excelled at churning out reliably fun indie-pop with surf influences and Louie & The Flashbombs are flashing the makings of a band who thrive through their understanding of power-pop’s composition, Vacant Church have a uniquely compelling spin on modern indie rock. On Stabilizer‘s best tracks, the band frequently sounds like Wolf Parade wholeheartedly embracing a Wilco kick (“Stabilizer,” “Sorry Bones,” “Moonsong”). A little psychedelia, a little punk, and a good deal of understatement ground the songs on Stabilizer, which slots neatly into a niche that Madison musicians haven’t often populated in recent years.

Vacant Church’s personnel includes Histo’s Donald Curtis on guitar, who talked to us last year about Vacant Church’s live shows being artistically rejuvenating for him as a musician. Tim Gruber, who has worked on and off as a music teacher in Madison and played in Mali Blues, is Vacant Church’s drummer. All three of these bands are largely made up of veteran musicians, who have each impacted their respective communities in memorable ways. Each act brings something different to the table, creating a nice balance and a perfect show-going opportunity for anyone who’s into easygoing-but-energetic rock music that comes with a fun twist.


Steven Spoerl



February 24
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
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Bur Oak
2262 Winnebago St
Madison, WI 53704 United States
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