Tickets Going Fast!

Avett

“Much like Ryan Adams before the speedballs dulled his fangs, The Avett Brothers are experts in mining the heart and soul of the modern American man. Love is an obvious theme, but so is finding freedom and maturity. Their lyrics are tough yet vulnerable, insightful yet homespun, manly yet emotional. The kind of thing that makes the girls giddy and the boys envious.” —Paste Magazine

The Avett Brothers’ show on October 21st may soon go the way of Ingrid Michaelson’s and Wilco’s—that is to say SOLD OUT!  Tickets are still available but going fast.  Buy yours now, before it’s too late.

Media Roundup: What Will Spring Bring?

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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After making a stop in Madison to play a fantastic show at the High Noon Saloon, An Horse made their way to NYC to play “Camp Out” for David Letterman.   If you haven’t done so already, check out our interview with the band here.

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Paul and Ringo will lead an alarmingly amazing lineup of musicians who will perform at the upcoming “Change Begins Within” benefit for the David Lynch Foundation.  The foundation “raises funds to teach one million at-risk children to meditate — giving them life-long tools to overcome stress and violence and promote peace and success in their lives.”

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The Roots are settling into their new role as house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.  Check out a video interview complete with rehearsal footage of the band here.

The Roots

The Roots

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Britpop legend Jarvis Cocker has a new album called Further Complications due out in May.  Let’s hope he’ll make time for an American tour after he completes his European dates!

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If you read the endlessly entertaining memoir Petal Pusher from Madison-native, rocker and author Laurie Lindeen (which you definitely should have), then you’ll be interested to know that her former band, Zuzu’s Petals, has a new retrospective album available from Rhino.

Zuzu's Petals

Zuzu's Petals

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Thanks to NPR, Dan Deacon fans can stream his new album, Bromst, in its entirety.  What do you think of the new tunes?  If you didn’t already know, Deacon will be in Madison on May 4th with Future Islands and Teeth Mountain.  Get your tickets here!

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Check out P.O.S.‘s new video for “Optimist.”

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It’s time to compare notes.  NME recently compiled a list of the “20 Greatest Goth Tracks.” What do you think of their selection?  What would you have included?
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Madison’s own Stu Levitan recently spoke with folk icon Joan Baez in an interview for 92.1 The Mic.  Click here to listen!  (Listed under March 8, 2009 Hour 2).  If you still don’t have tickets to Joan’s show at the Barrymore, get ’em here!

Joan Baez

Joan Baez

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If you’re thinking about picking up tickets to catch No Doubt on their upcoming tour, here’s a little extra motivation:  fans who opt to purchase premium tickets online will be able to download the band’s entire catalogue, plus exclusive content.
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Lots of exciting news from the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club camp!  A new album, DVD and tour are all in the band’s game plan for 2009.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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While you’re waiting for the indie folk trio that is Good Old War to play Madison on April 6th, check out this interview with the band from Blare magazine.  Need tickets to the show?  Head over here.
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Hardly a week goes by without some news from Oasis.  This week there are no brawls or international incidents to report on–just some free music on its way this spring!

Oasis

Oasis

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This year’s festival season is starting to take shape.  Pitchfork announced the first batch of confirmed acts for their July showcase, plus a brand new feature where ticket holders have the opportunity to pick the bands’ setlists.

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Jack White and The KillsAlison Mosshart are so strangers to being members of fantastic musical duos, so it only seems natural that they would join forces to create a brand new band called The Dead Weather. Along with The Raconteurs‘ “other Jack” (Lawrence) and Queens of the Stone Age‘s Dean Fertita, White and Mosshart plan to release the band’s debut album in June. Get the full scoop here, and check out a video of their first single.

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Congratulations are in order for Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore, who recently wed in a private ceremony in Georgia.

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A new Jeff Buckley CD/DVD package to mark the 15th anniversary of his debut album’s release will be available on June 2.  The set features live performances and rare TV clips. Find out more about what the package will include.

Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley

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Dahni Harrison talked to Billboard about the upcoming release of his band’s first album, as well as the new version of Rock Band featuring that one group his dad was in.  You may have heard of them…

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Check out a preview of The Hold Steady‘s new DVD, A Positive Rage.  When it’s realeased on April 7th, there’ll undoubtedly be more than a few Madison fans scanning the screen to catch a glimpse of themselves getting blown away by the band’s amazing show at The Majestic last year.

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A new solo Iggy Pop album is due out in May.  Read what the godfather of punk had to say about finding his inspiration as well as the furture of the Stooges after the passing of Ron Asheton.

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

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(To leave a comment, click on the title of the blog entry and scroll down.)

Media Roundup: Interviews, New Tunes and a Bit of Jail Time…

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Amy Winehouse has announced plans to launch a record label of her own in the near future.  He first singing?  Goddaughter Dionne Bromfield.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

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Joaquin Phoenix, the man who wowed audiences with his unforgettable portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line is at the center of this week’s most unexpected story in music.  The actor is leaving Hollywood behind to pursue a career in music–specifically, hip-hop.  Seriously.

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Check out this fun interview with Gregg Gillis, the man behind Girl Talk, from TheTapeIsNotSticky.com.

Gregg Gillis, of Girl Talk

Gregg Gillis, of Girl Talk

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While you’re eagerly waiting for The Virgins to play Madison on Feb 3rd (get tickets here), check out their interview on The Guardian‘s podcast.  Also featured? Animal Collective.

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In reunion news, of which there seems to be no shortage these days, glam rockers Mott The Hoople are reforming for two London shows in celebration of 40 years since the band’s 1969 formation.

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Have a listen to the latest from Neko Case, “People Got A Lot of Nerve,” off her upcoming album, Middle Cyclone.

Neko Case

Neko Case

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The folks at BrooklynVegan.com have compiled a list of the best metal of 2008–and preview what’s to come this year.

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In a revolutionary move to free themselves from the crippling grip of corporate influence, L.A. radio station Indie 103.1 is saying goodbye to the airwaves and hello to the internet.

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Massively prolific songwriter Ryan Adams announced to much shock that he is done making music. Wanna place bets on how long his musical abstinance actually lasts?  I give it a month.

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

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Gary Kurfirst, the incredibly influential manager, promoter, publisher, producer, and label executive, has passed away.

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Emusic.com has asked the mothers of some of indie rock’s favorite wiz kids (such as Bon Iver, Beirut, Adam Green, and Les Savy Fav) to comment on the music that their children make.  Read what the proud moms had to say!

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Boy George, who was found guilty of false imprisonment, has been sentenced to 15 months in prision.

Boy George

Boy George

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Andrew Bird‘s new album, Noble Beast, is streaming in-full on NPR.org.

Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird

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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.

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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

Media Roundup: Reunions, gossip, and videos galore!

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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easy-tiger-ryan-adams

Ryan Adams

Check out these posts from Daytrotter.com featuring The Everybodyfields and The Walkmen.

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The folks at stereogum.com posted a handful of great live Ryan Adams vids.

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Check out the gorgeous videos from Priscilla Ahn‘s La Blogotheque session.

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Death Cab For Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard recently treated readers of MOG.com to an interview.

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rachel-yamagata

Rachel Yamagata

Jolie Holland fans will want to check out her interpretation of Willie McTell‘s “Delia.”

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Rachael Yamagata, who recently wowed an enthusiastic Madison crowd at the High Noon Saloon as part of the Hotel Cafe Tour has her own blog on MOG.com. Click to watch her behind-the-scenes vid!

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From the realm of the slightly surreal, Spin.com reports that lo-fi godfathers Pavement are hosting a contest in honor of the release of 1997’s Brighten The Corners expanded edition. What will one lucky contestant win? A $500 IKEA shopping spree with a member of the band! Click here for details.

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Gwen Stefani is taking a break from her solo career and making babies with Gavin Rossdale for a much-anticipated reunion with the group that made her famous. No Doubt will hit the road next year, and even go so far to hint that a new album may not be too far-fetched.

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manics04

Richey Edwards

In other reunion news, Blur‘s Damon Albarn has confirmed that the band will come together in 2009 to rehearse and test the waters of a full-fledged reunion.

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Though his body has never been found, Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards has been officially declared dead at the request of his parents 13 years after going missing. The band plans to release a new album next spring that will include previously unreleased lyrics by the provocative, beloved artist. NME has compiled a gallery of photos of Richey with the band.

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(To leave a comment on this or any post please click the title of the entry and scroll down)

This Week’s Shows- Ray, Ryan, Relient, and More

This is a busy week for great, diverse music around Madison. Whether you’re in the mood for high-energy pop punk (Relient K), a little alt-country (Ryan Adams and The Cardinals), want to get funky (Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk), or anything in between, True Endeavors has the ticket!

Thursday, October 2

RELIENT K


“…smart blend of punk pop and power pop, weaving together influences as diverse as the Beach Boys, Blink-182 and Fountains of Wayne.” – Los Angeles Times

Genre: Rock/Pop Punk/Alternative

Similar to: Dogwood, Last Tuesday, Slick Shoes
with special guests
LUDO, THIS PROVIDENCE, HOUSE OF HEROES
7pm
Barrymore Theatre
608.241.8864
$16 adv $18 dos – all ages
BUY TICKETS NOW !
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STATE RADIO

Genre: Rock/Reggae/Indie

Similar to: Dispatch, OAR, Jack Johnson

“Playing an interesting blend of rock and reggae, State Radio use their music to express their political stance on a variety of issues affecting our world today.” – SHOUT! webzine

with BONGO LOVE
9:00 pm
High Noon Saloon
608.268.1122
$15 adv and dos — 18+
BUY TICKETS NOW !
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DEAD CONFEDERATE


Genre: Rock/Psychedelic

Similar to: My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon

“Both in name and in sound, Dead Confederate aims to further the cause of Southern rock. The Georgia band does indeed mix its Neil Young with its Lynyrd Skynyrd, but underneath all those heavy chords is a group of guys raised on Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and other titans of early-’90s alt-rock.” – NPR

with special guests
CATFISH HAVEN
plus
FRESHWATER COLLINS
9:00pm
The Annex
608.256.7750
$8 adv and dos – 18+
BUY TICKETS NOW !
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Friday, October 3

SUNSET RUBDOWN

Genre: Indie

Similar to: Tapes n’ Tapes, Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse

“Whereas Wolf Parade play a weird, schizoid rhythm & blues, Sunset Rubdown play more with collage, chamber rock, the Scott Walker wing of the singer-songwriter genre.” – Aji Signal

with CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE
9:30pm
The Annex
608.256.7750
$10 adv $12 – 18+
BUY TICKETS NOW !
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RAY LAMONTAGNE


Genre: Acoustic/Folk

Similar to: Iron and Wine, Hayward Williams, Joe Purdy

“He has this vulnerable, raspy, velvety, pure voice. He absolutely pours his soul into his music, which is always the most inspiring things you can see in a live show. He feels each word and resonates with each chord.” – I Am Fuel, You Are Friends blog

with special guest
LEONA NAESS
7:30pm
Wisconsin Union Theater
608.262.2201
Currently sold out! Some tickets may be released day of show.
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Sunday, October 5

ANI DIFRANCO

Genre: Folk

Similar to: Mary Lou Lord, Utah Phillips, Tracy Chapman

“…she has the kind of enthusiasm, intensity and clarity that gets things done.” -Guardian UK

with PETER MULVEY
8:00pm
Wisconsin Union Theater
608.262.2201
$35 reserved seating ($32.50 UW-Madison students) – all ages
BUY TICKETS NOW !
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True Endeavors and JAM Productions
present
LIVE IN CONCERT
CARDINALS


Genre: Rock/Alternative/Country

Similar to: Wilco, Neko Case, Gillian Welch, Mason Jennings

“The Cardinals are out to rule arenas. Everything they played had a grand, mythic sweep, with epic guitar workouts and larger-than-life choruses.” – Boston Herald
Featuring:
Ryan Adams
Neal Casal
Chris Feinstein
Jon Graboff
Brad Pemberton
8:30pm
Overture Hall
608.258.4141
$35 reserved seating

BUY TICKETS NOW !
(There is a six-ticket limit for this concert!)
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Tuesday October 7

IVAN NEVILLE’S DUMPSTAPHUNK

Genre: Funk

Similar to: The Meters, Lee Diamond, Dr. John

“Ivan Neville is the funkiest collection of human gumbo ever assembled on the planet.” —Bonnie Raitt
with special guests
THE GOMERS FUNK MACHINE
8pm
High Noon Saloon
608.268.1122
$15 – 21+
BUY TICKETS NOW !
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Wednesday, October 8

SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS

Genre: Rock/Garage/Surf

Similar to: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Reverend Horton Heat, Nashville Pussy, The Legendary Shack Shakers

“For more than a decade, the three North Carolinians in Southern Culture on the Skids have been honing their party-hearty mix of rockabilly swagger, surf-rock speed and countrified melodies.” – Rolling Stone

with tba
8pm
High Noon Saloon
608.268.1122
$13 adv $15 dos — 21+
BUY TICKETS NOW !
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Thursday, October 9

THE KOOKS

Genre: Alternative/Indie/Reggae

Similar to: The Kinks, Supergrass, The Thrills, Sam Roberts

“Though they tend to elicit comparisons to the Beatles, Oasis, and a few other noteworthy Brits, in the grand, high school yearbook of rock, it would seem that the class prophecy has appointed the Kooks inheritors of the mantle previously borne by the Kinks.” – PopMatters

with THE WHIGS
8:00 pm
Barrymore Theatre
608.241.8864
$17.50 adv $20 dos – all ages
BUY TICKETS NOW !

Free mp3 download – a live version of ‘Always Where I Need To Be’

“Tag’s Deal”- or How I Became a Concert Promoter (for those too timid to ask)

I look forward to July 20 with some trepidation.

No, it’s not because we have Immortal Technique at High Noon on Sunday. We do hip hop shows on a fairly regular basis, and we generally have less problems – the occasional obnoxious tag (as in graffiti) notwithstanding – than, say, at a Yonder Mountain show packed with over-served hippies.

July 20 is the anniversary of my move to Madison twenty years ago. I moved here from Dayton, Ohio to pursue a doctorate in Agricultural Economics under the guidance of Dan Bromley, a thoughtful Natural Resource economist who was also one of the few remaining expositors of the Institutional School of economics. Institutional Economics, with its holistic multidisciplinary approach, offered an alluring respite from the arid confines of neo-classical orthodoxy and its extreme reliance on mathematical equations and statistics. I looked forward to studying with Dan in the hopes that my interest in economics as a means of grappling with the complex issues facing us – particularly global environmental crises — would lead to a career in academia.

Man plans, God laughs. Before I could get to the good stuff, I had to pass muster in the form of prelims, and in order to do that, I had to take classes in Micro, Macro, and Econometrics. My math training upon arrival was minimal – I had never before seen a proof. In short, I was screwed. For the first time in my life, I was a failure.

In retrospect, I should have transferred to Sociology or Political Science, but I tried sticking it out. I could write well, and consequently had a paper published shortly after my arrival. I was invited to present my ideas at a couple of conferences, and I ended up getting featured in a video shot at an academic conference exploring the emerging discipline of Ecological Economics, one that was shown on college campuses across the country, even making its way to the Clinton White House (true story.)

But then more reality set in. I fell in love, hard, only to see it end in a slow-motion train wreck. And my parents died, both of them, within six months of each other. I was in a world of pain.

So I dropped out and became a concert promoter.

I sometimes think I subconsciously started up this business so I could drink on the job, which I did in the early days to good measure. It’s an occupational hazard, one that I now try to avoid, but then it helped me when little else could. Of course, what drinking gave, it took back and then some.

I intended when sitting down to write to ruminate about my early recollections of the Madison music scene, kind of a “then and now” retrospective. I do remember the first time I went to O’Cayz. I can’t remember the band I went to see, but I do remember thinking it was a long walk from campus. I saw Negativland at Club D, Fishbone at Headliners, Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens and King Sunny Ade & the African Beats at the Barrymore — as many shows as I could fit in while wading through those dense math equations of my early grad school days.

I remember Phil Gnarly & the Tough Guys at the Wagon Wheel, Marques Bovre at the Crystal, the Indigo Girls playing the Terrace in front of what seemed like 6000 people, Lou Reed signing autographs at Club De Wash, the Gomers doing their crazy theme nights, also at Club D.

Bunkys, R& R Station and GS Vigs have all been torn down. Inn Cahoots became The Chamber, which became Mass Appeal, which became the King Club, giving way, most recently, to Woofs. Club de Wash burned down on a miserable February morning, and, not five years later, the same fate took out O’Cayz.

All I can say is thank God for Cathy’s perseverance.

O' Cayz Corral, Post- Fire

O' Cayz Corral, Post- Fire

I’m sitting upstairs at High Noon while I write this, listening to Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles rock out and thinking about how I used to drink Budweiser while waiting for the guys at No Name Printing in the basement of the old Buy ‘n’ Sell — which stood in this very spot — to finish up my flyers so I could go hit State Street.

I wonder what life would have been like as a college professor, if my original intentions upon landing here 20 years ago had been fulfilled. It was my dream to be a public intellectual, to get paid to read and write and think. I still have my regrets, that restless longing for what might have been.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t have had the life experiences I’ve had. I get to chat with Lyle Lovett, hang out with Patti Smith, witness the ongoing explosive genius of an artist like Ryan Adams. It’s not all like that; there’s a lot of endless work, lots of nights like tonight with 50 people in the house and a few hundred shy in the till. But, all in all, it doesn’t suck.

I still remember the first time I drove into Madison, down Park Street until it dead-ended into Lake Mendota, lost and not a little bit scared. I’ve watched the buildings go up, the skyline change, the city grow and prosper. And, I like to think, I’ve grown up and changed with it.

I’m glad I was bad at math and good at rock. And I’m very glad I moved to Madison twenty years ago.

Thanks to all who have supported our shows over the years and continue, so generously, to do so.

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