Madison calendar, January 5 through 11

Jackie Kashian, Zebras, In The Rushes, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Grant Phipps

Jackie Kashian performs January 5 through 7 at the Comedy Club on State.

Jackie Kashian performs January 5 through 7 at the Comedy Club on State.

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 5

Jackie Kashian. Comedy Club on State, through Jan. 7, see link for all showtimes.

Legend has it that Milwaukee native and UW-Madison alum Jackie Kashian got her start right here in town when she heckled Sam Kinison from the audience. With an album whose title name-checks Harry Potter, 2014’s This Will Make An Excellent Horcrux, and a podcast called Dork Forest, she clearly went a different direction than her Kinison-related beginnings might have suggested. 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 nowadays. The last time she was here she was up against the opening weekend of Force Awakens, so since Rebel One has been out for a few weeks now her core audience has zero reason to miss out. Adam Degi features and Marty Clarke hosts. —Chris Lay

Inherent Vice. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

The first downtown public film screening of 2017 comes courtesy of the Madison Public Library's Cinesthesia series. Host and curator Jason Fuhrman has chosen Paul Thomas Anderson's most recent feature, Inherent Vice (2014), a meticulously crafted adaptation of reclusive cult author Thomas Pynchon's zany and subversive neo-noir mystery that's set in the fictitious 1970 Los Angeles locale (under the paving-stones) known as Gordita Beach. Considering the film's comedic existentialism, its paranoid stoner private eye Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), stands off-centre as an amalgamated riff on rambling Philip Marlowe from Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973) and the unkempt "Dude" from the Coen Brothers' oft-quoted The Big Lebowski (1998). While Inherent Vice doesn't quite offer the accessibility of those cinema influences, intrigue is sustained through Sportello's spontaneous and droll run-ins with cuckoo characters who consistently reveal some connection to Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston), the protagonist's free-wheeling former flame. The hippie femme fatale actually starts Sportello on a wild goose chase, as she hints at a conspiracy to murder her current catch, "Mickey" Wolfmann (Eric Roberts), which may ultimately reveal Mickey's own wife Sloane (Serena Scott Thomas) to be the architect. Anderson's take on Pynchon's incisive prose may downplay the prevalence of psychedelic mood music, but he adds singular, signature touches with the wispy voiced mystic narrator Sortilège (singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom) and composer Jonny Greenwood's ghostly orchestral sounds. —Grant Phipps

FRIDAY JANUARY 6

Bongzilla, Droids Attack, Zebras, Bereft, Whisky Pig, Cave Curse. Majestic, 8 p.m.

Over the past few years, Madison show bookers have greeted the January doldrums with an increasingly absurd barrage of "fests" that are really just, you know, shows. Overblown presentation aside, they manage to sweep up a good number of really solid Madison artists. First up is Wisconsin Metal Fest, which spans from the rumbling doom of Bongzilla to the synth-driven goth-pop of Cave Curse. Perhaps just as exciting is that thrash miscreants Zebras will be playing their first show in several months, and hopefully have prepared some new songs since releasing the warped, churning album The City Of Sun In 2015. Bereft's second album is due out in 2017 on Prosthetic Records, and the new set they debuted in November finds their music moving into densely textured, baleful doom, and stripping out the black-metal touches of their 2014 debut album Lost Ages. Droids Attack and Whisky Pig will provide some good burly fun in between the more moody and esoteric moments of the bill. —SG

Barn Duet, Louise Bock. Art In, 7 p.m.

In Chicago two-piece Barn Duet—playing here as part of Tone Madison's own curated show series—drummer Phil Sudderberg and guitarist Rob Jacobs craft skeletal but richly varied and textured improvisations. Their 2016 album ASMR finds Jacob and Sudderberg (who both play in Chicago band Wei Zhongle, in addition to various other avant-garde projects) exploring eerie abstraction ("Come Down"), atmospheric spoken word ("Popcorn Lung"), and even a good deal of territory that verges on melodic and comforting ("Come Up"). Opening up is Louise Bock, the new solo moniker of Madison-based musician Taralie Petersen, who forms half of Spires That In The Sunset Rise and has previously done solo work under the name Tar Pet. Here, she'll be performing with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Stanek on piano and harp, which should make for a fascinating variation on the unpredictable, cavernous psych journeys Petersen takes with her cello, saxophone, and vocals. Read more about the show in our curator's notes. —SG

SATURDAY JANUARY 7

Tippy, Good Morning Midnight, In The Rushes. Williamson Magnetic Recording company, 7 p.m.

Since parting ways with Madison band Building On Buildings, guitarist/bassist/singer Connie Ward has been performing and writing new material under the name In The Rushes. This new project has yet to put out much recorded music, but "Rebound," released on a compilation in November, suggests a sparse continuation of Ward's contribution in Building On Buildings. The song centers on melodic vocals with a straightforward, rugged edge and guitar lines that need only a few notes and sly phrasing to make an impression. In this case, those guitar lines (which were one of Buildings' strengths when Ward was in the band) buoy up a concise, punchy chorus that evokes a flinty hope in the face of sadness. —SG

A Giant Dog, The Hussy, Absolutely Not, His & Her Vanities. High Noon Saloon, 9:30 p.m.

Austin band A Giant Dog slash their way through a host of power-pop, punk, and glam-rock reference points on their third album, 2016's Pile. For all the grit and swagger pressed into songs like "Hitchhike Love" and "Too Much Makeup," A Giant Dog also consistently bring across an affable piss-and-vinegar cheer that keeps them ahead of punk-rock cliches. A lot of that has to do with the charming vocal pairing of lead singer Sabrina Ellis and guitarist/singer Andrew Cashen, but the band as a whole have also crafted a set of lean and fiercely melodic songs here. They share the bill here with three more solid bands: Chicago noise-punks Absolutely Not, Madison garage-rock standbys The Hussy, and jaggedy-sweet Madison post-punk outfit His & Her Vanities. —SG

SUNDAY JANUARY 8

Jazz At The Opera Center. Madison Opera (335 W. Mifflin St.), 2 p.m.

Madison Opera is performing Charlie Parker's Yardbird in February, and as a prelude they'll be hosting a performance on Sunday from one of Parker's best-known (living) alto sax disciples, Richie Cole. He'll be playing two sets here with his Alto Madness Orchestra, and you can expect Cole to channel the wildly exuberant and harmonically dizzying spirit of Parker's playing—in addition to his group's name, Cole has at least six releases with the word "madness" in their titles, in a discography that dates back to the mid-1970s. This afternoon show will also feature Madison Opera member Anna Polum singing an excerpt from the opera itself, whose plot imagines Parker's ghost visiting his old haunts after his death at the age of 34. —SG

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 11

Proud Parents, Sass, Miyha. Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

This Mickey's bill should make for a good night of bittersweet, unvarnished guitar-pop. Minneapolis band Sass, who only formed last fall, show a lot of promise on their debut single "Ragged Strawberry": guitarist/singer Stephanie Jo Murck delivers barbed but vulnerable lyrics about messy, fickle relationships, trading a series of varied and resourceful hooks with fellow guitarist Willem Vander Ark. Miyha, a new Madison band featuring members of Tarpaulin, Automatically Yours, and Tippy, will be playing here to celebrate the release of their first EP. Miyha released a couple of demo tracks in November that lean a bit more jangly and wistful than Sass, but strike a similar balance of pop melody and unsparing lyrics. Headlining the show are Madison power-pop standouts Proud Parents, whose debut album, Sharon Is Karen, ranked among our top 20 Madison records of 2016. —SG