Madison calendar, December 17 through 23

Jackie Kashian, Tunic, Wyrding, and more of the best stuff in Madison this week. | By Joel Shanahan, Chris Lay, Mike Noto, Scott Gordon, Ben Munson

Jackie Kashian (left) plays the Comedy Club on State December 17 through 19, and Tunic plays The Wisco on December 21.

Jackie Kashian (left) plays the Comedy Club on State December 17 through 19, and Tunic plays The Wisco on December 21.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 17

Jackie Kashian. Comedy Club on State, through December 19

Milwaukee native and UW-Madison alum Jackie Kashian got her start by heckling Sam Kinison right here in town. With an album, 2014’s This Will Make An Excellent Horcrux, whose title name-checks Harry Potter, and one of the nerdiest comedy-nerd podcasts in the business, Dork Forest, she’s got the nerd-royalty thing down too. Kashian’s loosely conversational and fast-moving material registers as Midwest-nice but with a bite, and she finds fun new ways to play off of the differences between her Wisconsin upbringing and the LA life she finds herself in these days. Scheduling her into your weekend (in between viewings of The Force Awakens, naturally) should be a high priority. San Francisco’s Dash Kwiatkowski features and Mike Mercury hosts. —Chris Lay


Wyrding, Ossuary, Terran Wretch, Tubal Cain, Conjuror. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.

Wyrding, a project featuring multi-faceted musician and sometimes-Madisonian Troy Schafer unites stately strings, guttural death-metal vocals, and mournfully plodding melodies on the 2014 release Agony In Being. That said, you can expect some new dimensions of slow, soaring doom to up here as Wyrding makes its Madison debut as a five-piece live band, ahead of the release of a new self-titled album. This show also features a set from Madison death-metal trio Ossuary, whose Cremation Ritual EP ranked among my favorite Madison records of 2015. —Scott Gordon


Bad Cinema: Jaws: The Revenge. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

You’d be hard-pressed to think of a truly bedazzling fourth installment to any horror franchise, but you’d have an even tougher time conjuring up a bigger shitstorm than 1987’s Jaws: The Revenge. In a tale so maddeningly convoluted, numbingly stupid, and shoddily crafted that it earned late director Joseph Sargent two Golden Raspberry nominations, Roy Scheider’s Chief Martin Brody has recently died of a heart attack and his widow Ellen (portrayed again by Lorraine Gray) moves in with one of her sons and his fiancee. When said son is attacked and killed by a shark, Ellen decides that this shark was actually lusting for revenge on her family for the killings of the other sharks in prior Jaws installments. After the funeral, Ellen is convinced to go to the Bahamas with her other son’s family and the shark somehow follows them from Amity Island, the fictional New England coastal town where sharks have been devouring people to the tune of ominous strings since 1975, all the way to the fucking Bahamas. From here, the lowest brand of non-suspenseful anti-horror follows. And if you think the shark’s lionlike roars are bad, try trudging through all the exhaustingly boring filler that plugs up the film between sleepy shark-attack scenes. Sargent and company worked hard for this film’s 0% Rotten Tomatoes rating and we can’t recommend this one enough. —Joel Shanahan


FRIDAY DECEMBER 18
(Jackie Kashian continues on Friday.)

Grimm & Pedersen, Tar Pet, Venereal Crush, Mid Waste. Bright Red Studios, 7 p.m.

Dubuque, Iowa’s Venereal Crush play improvised sets in which a cavernous, shadowy sense of space becomes as important as the band’s pulsing drones and skittering percussion. As unnerving and disorienting as it is to listen to, this stuff also suggests a great deal of patience and restraint on the part of the band. Here, they’ll apparently be collaborating with Spires That In The Sunset Rise member Taralie Peterson (who performs solo as Tar Pet), and it’ll be exciting to see what Peterson’s masterful sax and/or cello improvisations bring to this ominous mix. —SG


Joanna Newsom, Alela Diane And Ryan Francesconi. Orpheum, 8 p.m.

Few artists who came up alongside Joanna Newsom in the so-called freak-folk movement have had their work age or evolve as gracefully as the Los Angeles-based, harp-focused multi-instrumentalist and composer has since she debuted with 2004's The Milk-Eyed Mender. Much of this is due to Newsom being unafraid to truly take her time with an album, as evidenced by this year’s meticulously arranged Divers, which arrived following a hefty five-year gap from 2010’s Have One On Me. One deep listen to the title track finds the listener winding down an endless trail of gorgeous, counter-rhythmic harp plucking, purposefully wandering piano, and Newsom’s colorful crooning hovering over the top. Meanwhile, the tune twists and contorts, playing around with space and resting points, remaining completely hypnotic while rarely repeating itself. —JS


The World Of Apu. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)

The third and final installment of Satyajit Ray’s profoundly influential Apu Trilogy screens here, wrapping up a spaced-out look at one of the pillars of international cinema and one of the most affecting films ever made in general. If you’re behind on the films, that’s fine, since they all stand alone quite capably, but there’s a really great Criterion/Janus set that came out recently, which has the same 4K DCP restoration that you’ll see on the UW Cinematheque screen this weekend. The restoration, generating from a print that was damaged in a London nitrate fire, is a fascinating story all its own. This last chapter, following ones on childhood (Pather Panchali) and adolescence (Aparajito), follows Apu through graduation, marriage, and starting his own family. Find out why Roger Ebert, in his selection of the films for entry into his “Great Movies” canon praised the films as "a promise of what film can be.” —CL

Ben Ferris Quintet. Crescendo, 7 p.m.

Jazz bassist Ben Ferris seems to be one of the busiest musicians in Madison, even though he’s only 25 and just graduated from UW-Madison a year ago. Ferris already leads two regularly gigging jazz groups when he isn't teaching music. He’ll be playing on Friday with his quintet (his other group is an octet), which features the often standard instrumental lineup of tenor sax, trumpet, piano, bass and drums. The group, which includes local luminaries like pianist Paul Hastil and trumpeter Paul Dietrich, plays a very familiar, tasteful, low-key and enjoyable variation on bop-influenced jazz. Stylistically, this is straight-ahead jazz played by professionals, with an easy touch that disguises the sophisticated harmony underneath. Ferris studied under Richard Davis, and he brings a practiced, sure, subtly melodic feel to the lines he improvises while accompanying the featured soloists. Similarly, his own solos have a sensitive, frequently understated yet nearly vocal quality to them at times, and that tunefulness is an asset to his chosen style. Along with the rest of his band, he demonstrates impressive instrumental technique that never overwhelms the music, and the quiet, close atmosphere of Crescendo is ideal for this type of jazz. —Mike Noto


Emilie Brandt, The Garza, Full Vinyl Treatment. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m.

Of the three current Bongzilla spinoff groups, The Garza has always been the one that sounds the least like the parent band. Instead of goofy and relentlessly sludgy, riff-happy stoner metal, The Garza play a stomping, trebly, bitterly funny variant of noise rock—heavy on stripped-down, swaggering guitar, precisely articulated and hammered-out bass lines, and tight, interlocking rhythms that sound like they might be related to drummer/vocalist Mike Henry's time in the technically adept and pummeling Madison band Pachinko. The Garza are distinguished by the contrast between the relative cleanliness of their instrumental sound and Henry's vocals. Guitarist Shawn Blackler plays slashing, aggressive riffs and mutated pentatonic leads throughout the Garza’s songs, somewhat like Unsane’s Chris Spencer. But Blackler’s approach is far smoother and more contained, sounding more like deeply jaundiced classic rock. In fact, the absence of overwhelming, ear-bleeding overdrive sets up Henry's distinctive voice as the most abrasive thing about the band. His gravelly roar practically scours every song, and the tension that comes from pitting the polish of the performances against the singer's huge, enraged bellow helps The Garza stand out. —MN


SATURDAY DECEMBER 19
(Jackie Kashian continues on Friday.)

An Evening At Maria’s. Art In (1444 E. Washington Ave.), 7 p.m.

This month the Evening At Maria’s music/spoken-word/non-profit/art series mixes up its music format with “solo-ish” sets from at least a half-dozen artists, including both Heather Sawyer and Bobby Hussy of The Hussy, Aaron Scholz of The Low Czars, Matt Joyce of The Midwest Beat. Thax Douglas, a poet who spent years as a fixture of Chicago’s music scene and currently resides in Brodhead, will handle the spoken-word part of the night, likely with poems inspired by the musicians. The art on the walls will be from Madisonians Mariah Robinson, Marissa Kelling, and Claire Warhus, and the Rape Crisis Center will be sharing information about its efforts to help victims of sexual violence in Dane County. —SG

Destroy All Christmas 11. Crystal Corner Bar, 9 p.m.

In this, its 11th year, Destroy All Christmas returns to the Crystal Corner bearing gifts, “sacrilegious holiday decorations,” Ian’s Pizza bedecked with fried cheese curds, and zero Christmas music, and lo, it was good. Mecha metal riff robots Droids Attack will once again preside over the festivities along with heavy groovers Subatomic and Twin Cities psych-rock doomsayers Wicked Inquisition, all picked by Riff Reaper Records, future home of Droids Attack’s upcoming album. Destroy All Christmas was devised as an alternative to standard holiday festivities but now it’s grown into a time-honored Madison tradition—a season’s beatings of hard rock, hard liquor, and hardly clothed elves. —Ben Munson

Rhyme & Reason 2 Year Anniversary. The Wisco, 10 p.m.

Amid the wearying saga of local hip-hop artists trying with mixed results to maintain a strong presence in Madison venues, the semi-regular Rhyme & Reason series has somehow managed to stick it out for two years at Willy Street dive and somehow still-standing edifice The Wisco, of all places. To celebrate the anniversary, a bunch of the series’ regular artists, including Play Fair Cypher and Worthless Righteous, are planning to put on “one long continuous set” comprised of artists rotating in and out to play a couple songs at a time, with an occasional freestyle in the mix as well. —SG

MONDAY DECEMBER 21

Tunic, Coordinated Suicides, Miserable Friend, The Spokes. The Wisco, 9 p.m.

Winnipeg trio Tunic bring a withering sparseness to their noise-punk, with guitarist-vocalist David Schellenberg jabbing at trebly, barbed chords and delivering out his words in shuddering, rhythmic gargle. Bassist Rory Ellis and drummer Samuel Neal can certainly hold down the tense, prodding rhythms this kind of music demands, but also throw in dynamic bursts that make these songs that much more savagely unsettling. Another highlight of this show is Appleton band Miserable Friend, whose recent album Thawed, Flawed, And Suffering finds the band growing into its warped pop songwriting and noise-blasted shoegaze dynamics. —SG


Funky Mondays. High Noon Saloon, 6 p.m.

Again, Clyde Stubblefield’s Funky Mondays gig is back in monthly form after a long absence, and if you haven’t left town for the holidays yet by Monday there’s really no reason to miss it. Stubblefield and his “all-star” band, complete with horn section, will be playing a happy-hour show of R&B chestnuts, and as always it’s a chance to see a living legend play in a laid-back, dancing-encouraged atmosphere. —SG

TUESDAY DECEMBER 22

Serious Singer Songwriter Night: Spencer Bible. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

Madisonian power-pop stalwart and Midwest Beat frontman Matt Joyce has been running his monthly Songwriter Night for a while now. Generally beginning with a short set from Joyce himself, the night focuses on a different solo guest each time, and often it’s someone who usually doesn’t play in such a stripped-down setting. This week’s installment will feature guitarist-vocalist Spencer Bible of dirty Madisonian shoegaze unit Christian Dior. Bible says he’ll be performing some freshly written tunes that will be released with his long-running progressive psych-pop outfit Big Waves Of Pretty’s upcoming full-length. —JS