Madison calendar, January 19 through 25

Planes Mistaken For Stars, Isaiah Rashad, the Women's March On Madison, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Emil Earhart, Scott Gordon, Grant Phipps, Mike Noto, Chali Pittman, Chris Lay

Planes Mistaken For Stars play January 22 at the High Noon Saloon.

Planes Mistaken For Stars play January 22 at the High Noon Saloon.

Sponsor message: The weekly Tone Madison calendar is made possible with support from Union Cab of Madison, a worker-owned cooperative providing safe and professional taxi services.

608-242-2000 | @unioncabcoop

THURSDAY JANUARY 19

The Princess Bride. Union South Marquee, 9:30 p.m. (free)

In the history of cinema there are very few films that achieve such widespread cult-favorite status as The Princess Bride. It’s got swordfights, pirates, shrieking eels, poison, six fingered men, miracles, André the Giant, and, yes... some kissing, but not too much (and by the end of it you’ll probably be cool with the kissing anyway, so don’t sweat it). It’s difficult to imagine a world where someone is unlucky enough to have missed out on the epic saga of Westley and Buttercup, but if you are that person, here’s your chance to right the wrongest wrong you’ve ever been subjected to. —Chris Lay

FRIDAY JANUARY 20

Pollinators, Roboman, Lurk Hards, Knvte. Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 p.m.

All four bands on this bill include at least one Mickey's employee, and they'll be playing to help two of their co-workers raise money to care for a baby with an undiagnosed but serious illness. (More info about that on the event page, linked above.) Pollinators debuted last year with Self Addressed Envelope, an EP of gentle and smartly crafted guitar-pop songs written by singer-guitarist Tom Teslik. Roboman is the one-man band of Rob Oman, who blasts out raucously catchy surf-punk numbers using drum pedals and a mutant guitar-bass he customized himself. Rounding out the bill are rugged bluegrass outfit Lurk Hards and electro-funk oddball Knvte. —Scott Gordon

What A Joke Comedy Fest. Majestic, 6 p.m.

Part national protest, part fundraiser, and part comedy show, the What a Joke Comedy Festival aims to use humor as a means of marshaling money for the American Civil Liberties Union. The event, which was the brainchild of UW-Madison grad Emily Winter, has resulted in dozens of shows, nationwide, popping off across the inauguration weekend and donating the proceeds to the ACLU in order to help that organization do the increasingly necessary business of keeping our incoming president in line. They even have hats, so you know this is legit! So far as the Madison show is concerned, local comedians Alan Talaga and Anthony Siraguse have assembled a crack comedy lineup including Madison’s own Nate Craig headlining, Chicago’s Reena Calm featuring, as well as sets from local favorites Esteban Touma and Cynthia Marie. Siraguse will handle hosting duties for the festivities. If you haven’t already felt the need to go out and support the ACLU, here’s an excellent way to do just that and see a great show. —CL

Steez, Clyde Stubblefield All-Star Band, Dr. Funkenstein. High Noon Saloon, 9 p.m.

This month, Clyde Stubblefield's Funky Mondays gig moves to Friday to celebrate the release of a new live CD, recorded in September 2015 at the Barrymore. The occasion was one of a series of shows benefitting a music scholarship in the Funky Drummer's name, and it featured Stubblefield playing a set of R&B and funk chestnuts with his All-Star Band. The CD also captures contributions from a few special guests, including legendary bassist Richard Davis and one of the last performances from Madison singer and showman Charlie Brooks, who died last year. The band itself comprises a solid lineup of local jazz players, including saxophonist Eric Koppa and keyboardist Dave Adler. Headlining this concert will be a younger crew of Madison funk standbys, Steez. —SG

SATURDAY JANUARY 21

Willy Street Chamber Players. A Place To Be (911 Williamson St.), 1:30 p.m. (also Jan. 22)

Since 2015, The Willy Street Chamber Players have tackled the important challenge of providing high-caliber classical performance in spaces accessible to those outside the concert hall. Boasting members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, and an array of new-music collaborations, WSCP offers a healthy balance of standard classical repertoire, adventurous 20th century compositions, and innovative contemporary works. In the past, WSCP has partnered with visual artist Helen Hawley in a multimedia interpretation of George Crumb’s Black Angels, and has also performed as part of the Madison New Music Festival. Valuing the importance of using spaces atypical to a string chamber ensemble (such as an art museum, or a garden), the Willy Street Chamber Players will appear at A Place to Be on Willy Street for two intimate afternoon performances. Appearing as a quartet (Paran Amirinazari, Eleanor Bartsch, Beth Larson, and Mark Bridges), they'll play a program spanning a healthy variety of periods and styles. WSCP daringly kicks off the afternoon with Argentine composer Astor Piazzola’s brutally sultry “Four For Tango” (1988), followed by Haydn’s sensitive Op. 20, No. 4 and Felix Mendelssohn’s Four Pieces For String Quartet. The performances will end with Daniel Bernard Roumain’s “String Quartet No. 5 ‘Rosa Parks’” (2006). —Emili Earhart

Isaiah Rashad, Lance Skiiiwalker, Jay IDK. Union South Sett, 9 p.m. (free)

Rapper Isaiah Rashad first came to many people's notice after Top Dawg Entertainment, the heavyweight independent record label that broke Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul (among others), picked him up as their newest signing. But a difficult and dangerous dependency on the combined effects of alcohol and Xanax followed the release of his 2014 debut, Cilvia Demo, and Rashad suffered from the issues with mental health and reliability that always accompany self-medication through substance abuse. After managing to kick the addiction, Rashad eventually released The Sun's Tirade in September of last year. It's an involving backstory, but the album doesn't need it to be interesting. Rashad has an impressive technical command with a Kendrick-esque nervous quaver, and his high-strung flow pairs distinctively with the beats on The Sun's Tirade, which generally tend toward midtempo and jazzy: there’s a fair amount of Fender Rhodes and smokily contemplative atmosphere. The new music isn't particularly energetic (although "Don't Matter" provides a needed uptempo jolt), and if you're already anxious yourself you might find that Rashad's wound-up delivery can occasionally grate a little, but there's more than enough here in lines like "you ain't nothing but a baby, your fear is growing up" that makes him an insightful and notable talent. He appears here with Lance Skiiiwalker, another recent TDE find. —Mike Noto

The Exile Project Plays The Beach Boys. High Noon Saloon, 9 p.m.

To remedy the mid-winter (and post-inauguration) blues, the High Noon Saloon is hosting the third appearance of The Exile Project, an expansive gathering of veteran musicians from current and former Madison acts. The project launched two years ago with a celebration of the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St., and picked it up again last year for a crack at the White Album. This time they shift from the one-album focus to a grand celebration of The Beach Boys' sunshine and baroque pop music. Members of The Delicate Delegate, Gentle Brontosaurus, Negative Example, Oedipus Tex, Post Social, Yid Vicious, and other local acts will cover the innovative and beloved Pet Sounds (1966) as well as feel-good California hits from Endless Summer ('62-'65), like "Surfin' USA" and "I Get Around." Perhaps the occasion is welling with even greater anticipation, as the closest Brian Wilson came to Madison last year for the fiftieth anniversary of Pet Sounds was the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. Time will tell if The Exile Project will seek to put wholly original spins on the tunes we've all committed to memory or precisely recreate those unforgettable moments like the Coke-bottle lap steel guitar effect on the Burt Bacharach-influenced "Let's Go Away for Awhile," or improvise with a theremin during the bridge of "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times." The one-time event will be complemented by opening act, The Low Czars, a garage-pop cover band with a diverse repertoire of '60s-'70s classic chart-toppers and deep cuts alike. —Grant Phipps

Women's March On Madison. Library Mall, 12 p.m.

Though the Women’s March on Washington is a significant and dramatic protest in its own right, the 616 sister marches happening across the world—with more than a million pledged to attend those—are the true force behind the protest to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office.” Madison’s march will meet at Library Mall at noon and march to the Capitol Square. The event will also include speakers like State Senator Lena Taylor and Madison Alder Maurice Cheeks, and performances from bands including the Raging Grannies, Token Minority, and Once A Month. Everyone who supports women’s rights, and think they are ever-more important to defend with this new administration, can (and should) march. Peaceful marching required, bonus points for witty signs. —Chali Pittman

Squarewave, Dash Hounds, Stone Prairie. Harmony Bar, 8 p.m.

In recent months we've had some well-deserved praise for Madison band Squarewave's work in the studio, namely the 2016 album A Tighter Knot. But it's also worth pointing out how well their polished, eclectic psych-rock translates in the live setting, now that guitarists/vocalists Jeff Jagielo and Patrick Connaughty have recruited Dash Hounds members Alivia Kleinfeldt (on bass and some very welcome harmony vocals) and Brendan Manley (on drums). Armed with a barge-load of effects pedals and Jagielo's lap steel, the live incarnation of Squarewave succeeds at bringing across the album's yearning melodies and occasional side trips into territory ranging from Krautrock to reggae. They play here in a belated celebration of A Tighter Knot's release. —SG

SUNDAY JANUARY 22

Planes Mistaken For Stars, Twelves, Control. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.

During the late '90s and early aughts, Denver band Planes Mistaken For Stars left a crusty and raw mark on post-hardcore, culminating in their third album, the explosive and cathartic Mercy, in 2006. The band "broke up" in 2008 but that really only lasted a couple years, and last year they finally released a fourth album, Prey. It strikes a familiar mix of abrasion and vulnerability, but in some ways feels more weary and muted than the band's previous work—Gared O’Donnell's vocals sound as if they're of a piece with the band's dense, bleak guitar tones, whereas they used to cut through in wrenching, guttural cries. Still, standout tracks like "Riot Season" and "Clean Up Mean" show that Planes can still dig deep emotionally while summoning up punishing heaviness. This show, their first in Madison in ages, also boasts two great local openers in dynamic post-punk trio Control and the newer noise-rock outfit Twelves. —SG

TUESDAY JANUARY 24

Cap Times Talks: Can A Madison Progressive Win The Governor's Race? High Noon Saloon, 6 p.m. (free)

Wisconsin's Democrats have endured six years of astonishing defeats—losing to Scott Walker three times, losing to Ron Johnson twice, losing the state's electoral votes for president for the first time since 1984, losing influence on the State Supreme Court—with the only silver linings being Tammy Baldwin winning her Senate race in 2012 and, um, not losing Madison or Milwaukee. The party machinery also has struggled to learn and keep up in a rapidly changing political landscape. Now as the Dems face a record Republican majority in the state legislature and the possibility that Walker will run for a third term, The Capital Times is convening a panel to ask whether a progressive from Madison could win the 2018 governor's race—which many would argue is the wrong question, but it's still an interesting one. Cap Times news editor Jason Joyce will moderate a discussion with three Democratic state legislators (LaTonya Johnson, Chris Taylor, Gordon Hintz), former Tommy Thompson aide Brian Nemoir, and Collin Roth of the conservative think tank Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. —SG

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 25

Nerd Nite. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m. (free)

Nerd Nite Madison's thoughtful but informal presentations this month will be UW-Stevens Point professor John Coletta dishing on semiotics, pharmacist Laurel Legenza delving into the chemistry of personal moisturizers, and engineer Bob Baddeley explaining the mass manufacturing of plastic things. —SG