Tag’s Reflections on 2008

Our first show in 2008 was Poi Dog Pondering, performing an acoustic set at High Noon, with one of my favorite regional bands, Romantica, opening. Such a great way to start the year

February, the shortest month of the year, was long on pleasant surprises. Basia Bulat’s set at High Noon was so endearing, and her single “In The Night” remained one of my favorite songs of the year. Sara Bareilles played live on The Today Show and then, that same day, flew into Madison for her sold out show at High Noon; her piano-driven set made it obvious there’s a lot more substance to her than the ubiquitous “Love Song,” as catchy as that song is.

Nicole Atkins blew us away with her single, “The Way It Is” from 2007’s Neptune City…it’s an amazing piece of post-modern cabaret and it went down smooth at Café Montmartre. The opener Parlor Mob, with their loving send-up of Led Zep, was a fun contrast. And, speaking of metal tributes of sorts, who can forget Bang Camaro and their cheaper by the dozen approach to old-fashioned cock rock?

February was also the month Matt Costa’s van and trailer went off the road on an Iowa highway on their way to High Noon. Though rolling over three times, the band escaped with only minor injuries. We’re grateful that was the worst of it and look forward to Matt’s return. (Yes, Wisconsin winters are a challenge, so be careful out there folks!)

Trampled by Turtles March 7th at High Noon sold out unexpectedly. From the rush of people going outside to get a cigarette and the people making their way back inside on that frigid night, I joked it was no longer trampled by turtles–I thought I was going to be trampled by human beings!

The Gutter Twins required us to bring in so much additional gear you would have thought that they were playing in from of 3,000 people instead of 300. Predictably, Greg Dulli was cheery and Mark Lanegan was not. The legendary X performed on March 21 at the Barrymore for a very fun show — it was the first time I’d ever seen a grey-haired moshpit.

Jens Lekman played Old Music Hall and demonstrated how the right artist at the right venue can create pure magic, in contrast to the night before with Lewis and Clark at the Annex in which we had the right artist at the wrong venue. Actually, that was also the case with Gary Louris & The Mekons, a great pairing at the Barrymore at the end of March that was dramatically under-attended, possibly due to The Weakerthans and AA Bondy playing the same night at High Noon. It’s tough playing traffic cop. Sometimes there’s no getting around these scheduling conflicts.

→ Free Download: Sounds Familiar – The Weakerthans

April 4th we had Vampire Weekend at High Noon. It sold out weeks in advance, benefiting from cover stories in the national press before their record had even been released. Sometimes we get lucky.

One of the coolest shows of the year was Blitzen Trapper with Fleet Foxes on a Tuesday night early show at High Noon in early April. Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper would go on to receive end of the year acclamations for two of the best albums of the year.

On April 11th we had the first of 2 Bon Iver shows in Madison – this one a sold out show at the Stage Door–another artist that would go on to be on everybody’s top 10 list for 2008.

The New Pornographers with Okkervil River at the Orpheum…how cool was that? The word the day before the show that Neko Case had broken her leg reminded me of other female artists who played the Orpheum in years past with sprained ankles or broken legs, including Feist and Ani DiFranco. But Neko would not be making it until she came back to headline the Forward Fest in September-still the New Pornos/Okkervil show was a blast, with much discussion following as to which band was better. (My vote, diplomatically, was a tie.)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was the first band I’d ever seen that posted strobe warnings for the benefit of those with epilepsy and other conditions whereby they might go into a seizure. VERY INTENSE — enough to make people with “normal physiologies” dizzy and pass out. Dead Meadow played May 5th at High Noon’s fourth anniversary party–great stoner rock show, and True Endeavors supplied free pizza to celebrate the occasion.

Tegan and Sara played Madison a couple of times in years past to relatively small crowds – in May they came back and sold out the Barrymore Theatre. In contrast, Jim White again put on an amazing show at the Stage Door to a very small crowd. Sometimes quality is rewarded with a big show, sometimes not. Fortunately for us, we had our share of sell outs to wrap up the spring season, thanks to The Avett Brothers and Josh Ritter at High Noon, and KT Tunstall at the Barrymore.

→ Free Download: Snow Is Gone – Josh Ritter

MJ and I were at the National Conference for Media Reform the first weekend of June. We had the honor and privilege of stage-managing the conference where we rubbed shoulders with the likes of Bill Moyers, Dan Rather, Naomi Klein, Amy Goodman, Van Jones, Arianna Huffington, and Senator Byron Dorgan. www.freepress.net

June had some unexpectedly strong shows, starting off with the ever-strange, ever-amazing Buckethead. Stephen Marley sold out the Barrymore, and one of 2008’s most anticipated events was the sold out performance at the Overture with The Swell Season-music from the motion picture Once, featuring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. One of the special moments for me of the entire year was when Glen stood way from the mic and busked “Say It To Me Now” with his worn-out guitar and raspy voice, much like he did on that Dublin street in the early part of that amazing film.

→ Free Download: Buckethead- Three Fingers, 2005 Enter the Chicken

Speaking of the Overture, I hope you caught Lyle Lovett’s riveting performance in July – the 13-piece band, which grew to 20+ with the addition of local gospel singers from Alex Gee’s church, made this one of the top shows of the year.

The political hip-hop of Immortal Technique sold out High Noon in July and I was amazed at the number of leftie slogans on t-shirts, evidence that apathy is not a fair way to characterize this demographic. The Hold Steady sold out the Majestic convincingly and unsurprisingly for what many might argue was the best show of the year. Unless you are a Toadies fan, in which case you might make the case for their sold-out show with The Whigs on July 31 at the Annex.

→ Free Download: Chips Ahoy! – The Hold Steady

In August we were blessed to host at the Barrymore none other than She & Him, whose brilliant debut Vol. 1 was Paste magazine’s album of the year. The Onion’s over-the-top snarkiness notwithstanding, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward put out one of the best albums of the year and their performance was wonderful, simply wonderful.

→ Free Download: She and Him- Why do you Let me Stay Here?, Volume 1 2008

We started the fall season with over 60 shows on sale. In reality, there’s just a glut of touring acts on the road these days, mainly because artists cannot make a living making records due to illegal downloads.

Big shows in September included Okkervil River with very special guest The Walkmen at the Barrymore. Both bands released new records that month and both performed amazing sets…without a doubt this was one of the best shows of the year. Australian surfer dude/didgeridoo-playing Xavier Rudd made his first appearance in Madison…his set was perhaps the most unusual of the year. The Dandy Warhols put on a great show to a smallish crowd, leaving us wondering if tough times were ahead.

Sure enough, we had more disappointment with shows like Abigail Washburn, Keller Williams, and Reliant K. It soon became obvious that the economy was going to be a factor. For the first time in all the years that we’ve been in business, it became clear that Madison wasn’t isolated form the recession affecting the rest of the nation.

Part of the problem, as already noted, was the sheer number of shows, all booked before anyone had heard of sub prime. There were 38 shows in the month of October alone. Among those shows, we had standout performances by Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, The Magnetic Fields, Nick Lowe, Pinback, Alejandro Escovedo, Murs, Lucinda Williams, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, finishing up with a sold out Halloween performance by Atmosphere.

→ Free Download: Magnetic Fields- Always Where I Need to be, Live

Can’t forget that Electric 6 and Local H sold out the High Noon unexpectedly. We were able to keep on selling after Local H finished playing and some of their fans left. Electric 6 fans were waiting and were able to get in-we had a packed house all night long

But still business suffered-disappointing turnouts for top notch shows like Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Southern Culture on the Skids, The Kooks, Sonja Kitchell, Dead Confederate, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Amy Ray, Augustana, Slightly Stoopid, and The Acorn reminded us that we were, yes, in a recession.

In November, the number of shows dropped off a bit, but the quality was sky high. Amos Lee, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Horse Feathers, My Brightest Diamond, Devin The Dude, Subtle, The Rosebuds, Eagles of Death Metal, Deerhunter, Ingrid Michaelson (her second successful appearance at the Barrymore this year),Matt Nathanson, Pelican, Gaslight Anthem, Ladyhawk and Susan Tedeschi all put on memorable shows.

December was an unusually strong month for us, with well-attended and nearly sold out shows by Sharon Jones and Carrie Underwood mixed in with sold out shows by Bon Iver and the BoDeans. Unfortunately, we suffered a cancellation by The Sadies, only our second of the year – Matt Costa in February being the other. We look forward to getting both of them back in 2009.

A word about Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: we promised you this would be the show of the year and we were not blowing smoke. While it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite among all the many shows we presented, this was certainly up there.

As great as the music has been through thick and thin, we had the great pleasure of serving our community through our fund raising wing, True Community Endeavors. This year, we raised money and awareness for the following organizations: Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund, The Progressive, WORT, Breast Cancer Recovery Foundation, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, AIDS Network, and Liberty Tree.


Lastly, there was a time in late September, early October, when we weren’t sure we were going to survive the economic downturn. We gradually came to the realization that we were selling concert tickets, not automobiles, and that you don’t need to take out a loan to buy a concert ticket. Indeed, people still have a need for entertainment even in difficult and challenging times, perhaps even more so, whether it’s a distraction from all the bad news or the sense of community and transcendence some glean from a great live performance.

At the end of the year, I’m again profoundly grateful for the privilege of doing what we do at True Endeavors. We look forward to the New Year, particularly January 20 and our new president — that exhale of relief alone seems to have made a difference in the local economy.

Whatever 2009 brings, we’ll be going through it together. With your help and continued support, we’ll be out there doing our best to promote a vibrant and relevant music scene in Madison.

See you at the shows!

Tag Evers

Augustana Photos

It has been some time since I was able to make it to a show, and there have been some damn good ones that I missed lately! November looks to be another great month of concerts, and I am looking forward to getting to more shows.

I did manage to make it out to the High Noon Saloon last Wednesday night to catch Augastana. The group from California, by way of Greenville, IL, put on a great show and the crowded house was really into their stuff. Here are a few photos from the evening.




 002-augustana 005-augustana



All photos © Copyright 2008 Bryan Gladding

Click HERE for more photos of these and other bands by concert photographer Bryan Gladding (In the Muck Photos)

Email IntheMuck (at) gmail.com for permission to use photos or for booking information.

If you are on our home page and would like to leave a comment, click on the title of the blog and then scroll down to the comments box

Monday Ticket Giveaway!

First person to request tix to either of these shows by leaving a comment specifying the band wins a guest list spot + 1.

Augustana’s follow-up album Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt, delves into modern and deeper subject matter than their first album. The touching vocals paired with melodic keys set the mood as Augustana tells their stories of making peace with religion and the sadness of leaving a loved one behind.  Normally playing arenas and large all ages venues, the High Noon Saloon will be a refreshing opportunity for fans to see the band in a comfortable and intimate setting. 
October 29 

with tba
Wednesday, October 29, 9pm 
High Noon Saloon 
$15 adv – 18+ 
ticket button 
Tickets also available at  Strictly Discs 

Halloween can be an overwhelming holiday, especially here in Madison. If you are looking to celebrate without having to don your french maid costume,The  Acorn will be performing at Cafe Montmartre.  Canada native Indie rockers The Acorn are getting noticed here in the states for up-tempo rhythms with songs containing a wide subject matter.  Their new album Glory Hope Mountain, serves as a tribute to Rolf Klausener’s mother,  which is “part biographical narrative, part surreal fairy tale that retells stories from her early life in Honduras [and] eventual immigration to Montreal” (press release).

October 31

the acorn
Friday, October 31, 9:30pm 
Cafe Montmartre
$10 adv $10 dos — 21+ 
ticket button 

(If you are on our homepage and would like to comment just click on the title of the blog entry and scroll to the bottom of the page)

This Week’s Shows: Folk, Metal, Indie

Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s nothing to do in Madison. There are a massive four shows this Friday alone!

Fans of acoustic folk and Americana should be well-satisfied this week, as True Endeavors brings you shows from Pieta Brown, Lucinda Williams, The Wood Brothers and Trampled By Turtles.

Looking to get your metal on? Check out Mushroomhead on Sunday!

And some treats for you indie kids: The Spinto Band will play Friday, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks next Thursday. No excuses for boredom this week!

Friday, October 24


“While it’s uncertain who the main draw of the night was – Jason Reeves or Tyrone Wells – it is evident that at the end of the night, all walked away fans of both performers…Between acoustic, electric and bass guitars, as well as keyboard and light percussion features, the backing band only accentuated Reeves’ vocals during their nearly 40-minute set…. Tyrone Wells followed Reeves’ set and proved to be just as good a storyteller…In addition, Wells surprised the crowd by beat boxing.” -Filter-Mag.com

Genre: Folk, Acoustic, Pop

Similar to: Graham Colton, Jason Mraz, James Blunt

7:30pm Cafe Montmartre $10 adv, $12 dos – 21+


“With her languid, ethereal delivery, she has weathered numerous comparisons to such singers as the Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins.” -Billboard.com

Genre: Folk, Country, Acoustic, Rock, Blues

Similar to: Lucinda Williams, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Gillian Welch

6:30pm (early show) High Noon Saloon $10 adv $12 dos – 21+



“An indie pop group whose electronica-tinged tunes nod to Pavement, Of Montreal, and Field Music…” -Billboard.com

Genre: Indie, Pop, Rock

Similar to: Pavement, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, The Walkmen, Yo La Tengo

9:30pm High Noon Saloon $10 adv and dos — 18+



“Guitarist and vocalist Oliver Wood and acoustic bassist Chris Wood have crafted a sonic footprint while maintaining an individual voice that can write good songs outside of the glow of the pair’s day jobs with Medeski, Martin & Wood and King Johnson, respectively.” -Jambands.com

Genre: Folk, Blues, Americana

Similar to: Amos Lee, Jolie Holland, Greg Brown

with tba
9pm The Annex $15 adv and dos – 18+


Saturday, October 25

“The foundations of their (Electric Six) sound still come from disco, synth pop, glam, and arena rock…” -AllMusic.com

“Guitar-and-drums duo Local H arrived out of Chicago in 1995 with raucous but catch-in-the-throat songs that slammed together a bridge from the Replacements to Nirvana.” -Blender.com

Genre: Rock, Disco, Alternative, Funk

Similar to: Scissor Sisters, Eagles of Death Metal, Andrew W.K.

9:30pm High Noon Saloon $12 adv $14 dos – 18+

True Endeavors presents
105.5 Triple M welcomes

“A sharp contrast to the studied tapestry of sound and embittered lyrics of West, Little Honey finds Williams in celebratory mode, with raucous rock, bluesy testimonies and tongue-in-cheek twang.” -PasteMagazine.com

Genre: Rock, Alt-Country, Blues, Folk

Similar to: Gillian Welch, Bob Dylan, Neko Case, Gram Parsons

with special guests BUICK 6
8pm Orpheum Theatre $30 — all ages
( $1.00 per ticket to benefit local non-profit )


Sunday, October 26

“Known for its theatrical live show and the black masks that most of its members wear on-stage, Mushroomhead is one of the more unique and adventurous alternative metal outfits that emerged in the 1990s. And the Cleveland band’s music is as interesting as its image; Mushroomhead’s forceful yet melodic alterna-metal incorporates elements of hip-hop, punk, and goth rock as well as industrial and techno.” -allmusic.com

Genre: Alternative, Metal

Similar to: Korn, Mudvayne, Slipknot

with special guests
7:30pm The Annex $20 adv and dos – 18+


“Amy Ray talks the talk – her lyrics fearlessly nail issues of violence, environmental issues and other pressing topics; her Indigo Girls concerts often serve as fundraisers for various deserving organizations.” -PopMatters.com

Genre: Folk, Rock

Similar to: Jess Klein, Melissa Etheridge, Dar Williams, Josh Hoge

8pm High Noon Saloon $15 adv $15 dos – 18+


Wednesday, October 29

“Inspired by the success of “Boston,” a heartfelt, widescreen ballad that has sold more than 1 million digital tracks, rock quintet Augustana emphasizes piano and keyboards on this sophomore collection (Can’t Love,Can’t Hurt) of bittersweet songs about breakups, breakdowns and breakaways.” -Billboard.com

Genre: Alternative, Emo, Rock, Pop

Similar to: OneRepublic, The Fray, Jack’s Mannequin

with tba
9pm High Noon Saloon $15 adv – 18+


Thursday, October 30

“Thick swaths of amplified electric guitar kick off Stephen Malkmus’ fourth post-Pavement album (the second credited to the Jicks), a flashpot smoking, hash-redolent bit of 1970s rock homage that will put you in mind of Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath.” -PopMatters.com

Genre: Indie, Rock, Lo-Fi

Similar to: Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, Built To Spill

8:30 pm High Noon Saloon $16 adv $18 dos — 18+


“The four-piece band, seated in chairs across the stage, made a joyful racket in its short set, blending mandolin, banjo, acoustic guitar and acoustic bass to find a niche in the bluegrass that combines the tunefulness of Nickel Creek and the fury of the Avett Brothers.” -Washington Post Live Review

Genre: Bluegrass, Jam band

Similar to: Yonder Mountain String Band, Fat Maw Rooney, Railroad Earth, Bela Fleck

8pm Barrymore Theatre $15 adv and dos all ages

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