“The concert is really meant to celebrate all that’s great about Madison” but also Chicago’s Twin Peaks.
Isthmus has announced that it will celebrate its annual “MadFaves” poll rollout on August 24 with an outdoor concert on State Street, co-booked with Majestic Live. The show will feature Madison acts — DJ Nick Nice, local dream-pop outfit Disq, and a third local act to be chosen in a reader poll — but finding one to actually top the bill was apparently a bridge too far. Nope, the headliner will be a band from Chicago, Twin Peaks.
Now, Twin Peaks are an OK garage-rock band, but they’re not exactly a scarce commodity — they played at least three shows in Madison in 2016, including a free one at Orton Park Fest, and will be back on September 14 to open for Spoon at the Orpheum. If you wanted to go the garage-rock or punk route, Madison also has its share of acts who are just as good and maybe a little more interesting, like Fire Heads, Wood Chickens, Proud Parents, No Hoax…just swing a dead cat at Mickey’s on a weekend night, basically. I’ll grant that having Disq on the bill is savvy and Nick Nice is a local treasure, but the choice of headliner waters things down. If the goal is to book an easy middle-of-the-road act that will draw lots of folks, there’s probably a few local acts who could accomplish that as well. If you’re going to reach to Chicago for your headliner, that city offers all manner of fine music that’s not just another passable beery rock band that also sounds like half the bands coming out of Milwaukee right now anyway. There also are national artists out there with Madison ties of one kind or another. Just saying, maybe get creative if you’re celebrating Madison’s creativity?
Additionally, the post announcing this show could not be laying it on any thicker. “The concert is really meant to celebrate all that’s great about Madison — our favorite local businesses, services, people,” Isthmus publisher Jeff Haupt says in the piece.
“Chicago band Twin Peaks will headline, with an old-school garage-rock sound. The band’s 60s sound will make it feel like 1968 again on State Street (but without the anti-war rallies),” the piece goes on to crow. And because the story hasn’t brown-nosed hard enough already, it closes with this quote from Haupt: “Majestic may be there as Madison’s favorite music venue. Who knows?”
My bet is it will feel like a bunch of bros getting drunk on State Street, also maybe with some kind of rally nearby given how unstable the world is getting lately. But at least we’ll be celebrating what makes Madison special, all while making it feel a bit more like everywhere else.