Chicago Edge Ensemble, Deerhoof, Rooftop Cinema, Corridoré, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Emili Earhart, Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Grant Phipps
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THURSDAY JUNE 29
Since the mid-'90s, the prolific San Francisco outfit Deerhoof have repeatedly made a name for themselves in the left-field indie-rock and experimental realms, fusing their signature sportive attitude with insatiable noise-pop jams. While their early sound was more spontaneous and indebted to a DIY/punk ethos, by the mid-2000s they playfully began using electronics and adroitly harnessing the polarity between acrobatic playing, fierce rhythms (led by dexterous drummer Greg Saunier) and the deadpan vocals of native Japanese singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki. With irreverent aplomb, Deerhoof really broke into their own on the Kill Rock Stars label beginning with the melodically rich Milk Man (2004), and later on critical darlings like The Runners Four (2005) and Offend Maggie (a personal favorite) in 2008. Their latest full-length, The Magic (2016), has been promoted as a return to fundamentals, but that's somewhat selling it short. It's a moody record that shows the band seamlessly genre-hopping and even trying on a few new hats with the humorously abstract, almost psychedelic cover of The Ink Spots' "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire." But The Magic truly shines through consistency and chemistry between Deerhoof's members. The technically beautiful interplay of Ed Rodríguez and John Dieterich's guitars define the initial seconds of the powerhouse "The Devil And His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue" and Matsuzaki endearingly stutters on the self-deprecating, self-aware "Acceptance Speech." Their assuredly eclectic playlist will be the perfect match for this show's two local opening acts, power-pop rockers Proud Parents and newly formed noise-punk trio Solid Freex. —Grant Phipps
FRIDAY JUNE 30
Radley Metzger is very likely the only winner of an Adult Film Association of America award for Best Direction (for The Opening Of Misty Beethoven) who also has work in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (the screenplay to The Lickerish Quartet). That is a testament to the surprisingly high-quality soft-core smut Metzger has peddled over the years. For those of us adventurous enough to absorb one of Metzger's sleazy masterpieces in public, UW Cinematheque is offering a rare screening of his 1969 film Camille 2000, which loosely adapts Alexandre Dumas’ 1848 novel La Dame aux Camélias. Featuring cinematography from Ennio Guarnieri (who would later work with Fellini, De Sica, and Zeffirelli) and a score from prolific Italian composer Piero Piccioni, the film manages to balance ample amounts of flesh with a soapy but not insubstantial plot. Maybe it's not the best example of Metzger’s talents (the film landed on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list), but given its gorgeous sets and costumes it’s a great place to dip your toe into his works. —Chris Lay
Made almost entirely of artfully composed still images that fade in and out under a steady voiceover, Chris Marker's 1962 sci-fi short La Jetée is best known as the film that inspiration Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys. Clocking in at a scant 28 minutes, La Jetée packs more of a high-concept time-travel wallop than Gilliam's Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt vehicle, and in one-quarter of the time at that. Amid the fallout of World War III, a French prisoner is subjected to trips to the past and future, in the hopes that he can gather information and supplies that will alter the catastrophic present. It's a visually stunning feature, audacious in its formal experimentation, and its ending will almost surely leave the Rooftop Cinema audience reeling. —Chris Lay
Chicago Edge Ensemble showcases the talents of five Chicago jazz artists, all of whom boats their own extensive resumes of projects and collaborations. Guitarist Dan Phillips leads the quintet through a series of tight, forward-moving passages, and free, textural soundscapes. The group plays here behind their album Decaying Orbit, released this March. On the title track, the members weave in and out of energetic grooves, fragmented patterns, and open space for experimentation—an approach that allows each musician the freedom to explore colorfully and virtuosically. The group features saxophonist Mars Williams, whose history includes a long list of collaborations and projects from the Psychedelic Furs to Peter Brotzmann. Percussionist Hamid Drake, while also known for tabla and Caribbean percussion, also has deep roots in jazz, with his early-career collaborators including Fred Anderson and Don Cherry. Trombonist Jeb Bishop is known for his long involvement in the Vandermark Five as well as many other adventurous collaborations (including mathy jazz punk groups such as Zu and The Flying Luttenbachers). Classically trained bassist Krysztof Pabian has performed under Pierre Boulez and Daniel Barenboim, and has contributed to a wide array of both symphonic and jazz projects. —Emili Earhart
Madison band Cement Pond formed in 2002, combining members of other local outfits including Killdozer, The Gomers, and Drug Induced Nightmare #4. Their 2005 album Vanilla Guerrilla captures a pleasantly scorched approach to rock that makes it pretty impossible to overlook a strong Meat Puppets influence. (Guitarists/bassists Stephen Burke and Tim Sullivan once even formed a tribute band that covered Meat Puppets and other SST Records artists.) But songs like "The Man With The Golden Voice," "Dreams Of The Dead," and "Teach The Ghost To Dance" have a twangy, unvarnished charm of their own. The band hasn't played much recently, what with Burke living abroad, but reunite here for a show that's being billed as Cement Pond "and some Gomers." —Scott Gordon
Knuckel Drager, Wife, Roboman, DJ Majorager, DJ El Diablo, DJ Max Wedge. High Noon Saloon, 9:30 p.m.
Knuckel Drager's revved-up surf-punk instrumentals and monster-masked stage antics have made the band a Madison staple. Beyond their local following, Knuckel Drager also had the honor about 10 years ago of touring with X singer Exene Cervenka, as both her opening act and backing band. They'll be playing here to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first show. Members of the band will be spinning DJ sets throughout the night, guitarist Rob Oman will be playing a set as one-man-band Roboman (which is sort of like a compact version of Knuckel Drager, though a blast in its own right), and recently reunited local metal outfit Wife will be playing too. —Scott Gordon
SUNDAY JULY 2
Putting Dos Malés and Corridoré on a show together basically lets people experience two distant points on the spectrum of heavy music in Madison. Dos Malés, the duo of former Panther/Pyroklast drummer Nick Stix and Bongzilla guitarist Michael Makela, is rooted in bare-bones doom, though the two use their vocals to work in a melodic element, and Makela's guitar is less sludge than a thick, filthy dust storm. They're currently working on a follow-up to their self-titled EP from last year. Corridoré, a more recently formed trio, take a more progressive approach: Their recent two-song demo runs close to half an hour, spanning everything from pensive melody to cathartic blastbeats, from tormented black-metal screeches to stately clean vocal harmonies. Different as these two bands are, they're both very good metal outfits that we're looking forward to hearing more from. They share the bill here with two Chicago metal bands, the noise/grind-infused Den and epic-sounding doom outfit Barren Heir. —Scott Gordon
WEDNESDAY JULY 5
Vancouver band Blessed draw on elements of bright guitar-pop, but contort their clean-toned melodies into complex, multi-faceted, and weirdly effusive passages. Songs like "Phase" and "Endure," from the band's 2017 EP II, draw on the playfully twisted guitar acrobatics of Deerhoof and Polvo, as Drew Riekman's vocals swerve from staccato chants to earnest outpourings. Basically it's a melodic take on post-punk, a little brighter than usual on the surface, but with no less capacity for experimentation or bite. They share the bill here with Madison bands The Square Bombs, Exploration Team, and Straka And Sphinx. —Scott Gordon