Slayer, Maple Stave, Micro-Wave Cinema, Damsel Trash, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Joel Shanahan, Mike Noto, Chris Lay, Scott Gordon
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THURSDAY MARCH 3
Missing ostensibly tells the real-life story of a filmmaker who goes missing in Chile and his wife (Sissy Spaek) and father-in-law's (Jack Lemmon) frantic efforts to track him down. Costa-Gavras’s 1982 Palm d’Or (co-)winner turns into a political potboiler with some deeply resonating real-life heft once it turns out that the U.S. government is somehow implicated in the cover-up. If a tensely heartfelt look at the secondary costs of radicalism isn’t enough to get you in the door, how about a soundtrack from electro-pioneer Vangelis, eh? —Chris Lay
The Grawlix. Comedy Club on State, through March 5, see link for all showtimes.
The Comedy Club On State has been host to a few double acts in its time, like the Sklar Brothers and two dudes from Broken Lizard, but so far as I know, the Denver sketch troupe The Grawlix will be the first time a comedy trio has landed a full weekend run there. I’m not sure what sort of performance structure Adam Cayton-Holland, Ben Roy, and Andrew Orvedahl will try and pull off, but since they’re all comics I’m thinking it’ll be three standup sets with some sort of transitional buffer of more group oriented material in between. Any which way expect some biting whimsy and, well, oddball premises that will be chased all the way into left field. Local comic Anthony Siraguse will be hosting Friday and Saturday. —CL
Zebras, Population Control, Aseethe, Tubal Cain. Frequency, 8 p.m.
It’s pretty rare that a sick metal show lands in Madison, let alone at a venue with a real PA (not to throw any shade to the DIY punk and metal soldiers that have busted their ass to provide these shows in the underground for years). As you can imagine, we’re pretty stoked that this particular exception features a few of our favorite regional destroyers, certain to fill both rooms of The Frequency with sludgy texture and larynx-rupturing howls. We’re particularly pumped for the return of Iowa City’s Aseethe, as they offer their artisanal brand of of no-bullshit, raining-anvils doom metal. Though Aseethe have a handful of fuzzy long-form dirges over the past few years on their Bandcamp page, we’ve been waiting patiently for a proper follow-up to 2011’s excellent Reverent Burden. Having parted ways with synthesist and texture lord Kevin Erhardt-Hansen, Aseethe are currently operating as a trio and are heading into the studio to lay down their second full-length this month. Madison’s own Tubal Cain is another crushing metal outfit that we’re itching to hear from in the long-form. The black metal-focused duo of former Antiprism and Sardonyx players Alex and Kristine Drake will round out the bill with the mighty Zebras and Milwaukee’s Population Control. —Joel Shanahan
Local Love Fest, Night 1. High Noon Saloon, 9:30 p.m.
In the annual Local Love Fest project, Madison bands learn other local bands’ songs and then record covers: after enough bands participate, a compilation CD is made and sold at a couple of shows where some of the bands perform. Thursday is the first night of two Local Love Fest shows this year (the next installment is March 12 at the Crystal Corner) and features, among others, local metal band The Beast Of Bray Road. The group has existed since 2014, and originally made use of the tension between frontwoman Christine Elaine’s black metal-esque vocal delivery and the group’s cold technicality. Jonathan Ferris-Bohorquez then took over vocals after Elaine’s departure, and brought a more hardcore-influenced streak to the band’s music. —Mike Noto
Well, the award for beautifully curated mindfuck-journey of the week goes to this one. Imagine blacking out at a crowded circus and waking up in a remote sect of the woods with ringing ears, wearing sweatpants of unknown origin. That’s the aural journey we’re looking at here. First, we’ve got Czarbles delivering their brain-busting, Zappa-infused math-rock compositions, still riding high on the densely batshit 12 minutes of last year’s long-awaited Nausea Trois. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’ve got Janesville/Madison electro-folkies Double Ewes, who in hard defiance of the norm, have managed to blend electronics and Americana in a way that isn’t precious, loaded with hyper-affected Muppet vocals, or lacking in the adventurous spirit that should lead one to electronic music in the first place. Double Ewes will be playing a wealth of material from the new album they’re currently working on. (For a glimpse into Double Ewes’ new work, check out their interview with Tone here). New York-formed trio Jobs (formerly killer BOB) play here behind the future-leaning, deconstructed post-punk of last year’s virtuosic killer BOB Sings. —JS
FRIDAY MARCH 4
Chicago industrial outfit Hogg’s unsettling debut Bury The Dog Deeper (which dropped last year on Andy Ortmann’s Nihilist imprint) offers a thrashed landscape of minimal, pulsing rhythms met with ominously hypnotic guitar riffs, processed howls, and searing synth noise, as the album contorts in and out of familiar song structures and crawling movements. Joining them here are fellow Chicagoans F-Dorm (featuring former Madisonian noisehead Connor Camburn of Lituus), whose demos promise an even deeper dive into the more surreal, repetitive, and psychedelic corners of industrial noise. On the Madison end of this bill, we’re pretty stoked to see space-drone institution Drunjus turn in a rare set, with their spaceship of pedals, gadgets, tape recorders, and synthesizers laid out before them on the floor. Rounding out the bill is piercingly confrontational noise destroyer 10584 and sinister cosmic synth explorer Conjuror. We’re excited to see such rare programming here, drawing from the darkest and dirtiest sectors of Midwestern outsider electronics. —JS
Madison duo Mended’s new EP, Be That As It May, celebrated at this show, tempers the grimy rage of hardcore with the fun of lumbering, chunky riffs. On tracks like “Incomplete” and “Sew Me Back Together,” drummer Caleb Muir and guitarist/vocalist Steven Harrison focus on churning, mid-tempo grooves and the occasional thoughtful twist in song structure, and Harrison’s excoriating scream ensures that even the more catchy and gratifying bits take a piece out of you. —Scott Gordon
SATURDAY MARCH 5
On their second album as Damsel Trash, Wasted $ Broke, the Madison duo of Emily Mills (drums/vocals) and Meghan Rose (guitar/bass/vocals) blast out punk songs with equal parts earnest political fury and snotty jackass goof-off humor. From telling the Governor to “eat a bag of dicks on “Scott Walker You’re A Piece Of Shit” to mocking the plight of straight white males in the Western-tinged “Men’s Rights” to spending 47 seconds screaming “you look the same now as you did in Jumani!” on “Kirsten Dunst,” the album draws its joy from the crude and campy. They’ll celebrate its release here with help from much-missed Madison punk outfit Screamin’ Cyn Cyn And The Pons, who’ve played only sporadically since singer/fabulous keytar slinger Shane O’Neill moved to New York City. —SG
Antonio Pietrangeli’s effervescent little romp through 1960s Italy follows Adriana (Stefania Sandrelli from Divorce Italian Style and Seduced & Abandoned) as she attempts to become a celebrity. Expect silly fun from this fashionably farcical and slightly surreal underrated gem (recently released by Criterion), but don’t be surprised when it takes some sharp turns towards the serious. —CL
It’s rare that an artist with such a recognizably gimmicky presence as Oakland-based power-pop stalwart Nobunny (née Justin Champlin)—who plays in a rotting rabbit mask, leather jacket, and briefs—can actually back up the spectacle with highly infectious tunes and razor-sharp songwriting chops. We’re still stuck on the charm of 2010’s Love Visions, a collection of expertly art-damaged garage-pop songs, loaded with Champlin’s equally yearning and sassy croons. In contrast to his backing band—Madisonian garage-punk duo The Hussy, who will also perform—Champlin hasn’t been terribly prolific, having not released a proper album since 2013’s solid Secret Songs: Reflections From The Mirror, but hopefully showgoers will get a taste of some new sugary jams on this tour.
John Statz, Hayward Williams. Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 p.m.
John Statz left Madison for Denver several years and a couple albums ago—2012’s Old Fashioned and 2015’s Tulsa, to be precise—but the singer and songwriter gets back often enough to maintain a connection. Tulsa showcases the husky but friendly baritone voice Statz refined during his time in Madison, but with writing and instrumentation that brings out the stark and hard-bitten side of his work. Statz will be playing a full-band set here, as will Milwaukee-based folk artist Hayward Williams. —SG
SUNDAY MARCH 6
Durham, North Carolina trio Maple Stave commits itself to the fraught, clanging heart of 1990s math-rock just by virtue of its instrumentation—two baritone guitars and a drum set. But there’s more to it than just dialing in those steely low mids: The band’s 2016 EP, V, uses that austere instrumentation to create a disarming intimacy on tracks like “Hiram The Blacksmith,” “Townsend,” and even the instrumental “Venkman.” Maple Stave leans a bit more into the cutting turmoil of Unwound (an obvious reference point, but one the band cites as an inspiration) on “Danzig Has All The Fun,” and all in all brings uncommon emotional range to this six-track offering. This show marks the live debut of Bell & Circuit, the longtime solo-electronic project of Madison musician and Tyranny Is Tyranny guitarist/vocalist Russell Hall. Bell & Circuit’s 2015 EP, Latency, uses a largely sample-based approach to explore dub, trip-hop, and some of the more abstract and textural corners of electronic music. —SG
Micro-Wave Cinema: Field Niggas, Buffalo Juggalos. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)
Here we have to very different new portraits of lower-class existence in America. In Khalik Allah's Field Niggas, an hour-long study of one corner in Harlem (125th Street and Lexington Ave.), we get to know the faces, forms, and various functions of the people in the neighborhood. There’s a deep and soulful artfulness to the framing of each shot, and the images are overlaid with audio from interviews with the various subjects. Following that, you’ll get the equally artful, if a bit more pointedly posed, Buffalo Juggalos, which finds director Scott Cummings “embedding” with the local gang of hatchet-wielding ‘los and coming back with one of the strangest documents yet of that seedy subculture. The half hour film is made up of a couple dozen minute long visual vignettes (from backyard wrestling and dirtbike ridin’ on up to literal cunnilingus), each of which could double as a Vice fashion spread. This is a pretty brilliant double feature, juxtaposing these two between-the-cracks social subsets and I doubt you’ll get another shot at seeing them back to back anytime soon. —CL
The Magician. Chazen Museum of Art, 2 p.m.
Released in 1958 between the masterpieces Wild Strawberries and The Virgin Spring, Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician is sometimes sadly overlooked in the context of his larger filmography. Magician (the Swedish title, Ansiktet, translates directly as “face”) tells the story of a traveling prestidigitator and hokum huckster, Dr. Vogler (Max von Sydow). He succeeds in fleecing the masses until his abilities are called before the court to perform for the pragmatic Dr. Vergérus, who seeks to poke holes in Vogler’s misdirections. It should serve as a solid transition from the darker films seen so far in UW Cinemateque’s Bergman series to next week’s significantly lighter Smiles Of A Summer Night. —CL
MONDAY MARCH 7
Let’s be honest for a moment and acknowledge that maybe ninety percent of those two-reel grindhouse flicks are actual trash when you have to sit down and watch them end to end. The trailers, though, are by and large sleazy little populist masterpieces that pack as much punch into two minutes as you’re likely to find in the features’ full runtime. Following the success of their “Trailer Apocalypse” crud-fest (I mean that in the best way!) from a couple years back, we get another megadose of punched-up genre nasties to burn through in a single seating. —CL
This lecture, hosted by UW-Madison’s Sex Out Loud organization and named for the bridge of Beyonce’s “Blow,” actually offers an intriguing window into hip-hop lyricism. Darline Morales, a graduate of UW-Madison’s First Wave program and a grad student in cinema and media studies at the University of Southern California, specializes in examining the roles of gender and sexuality in hip hop, and here she’ll use rap lyrics about cunnilingus to explore “topics of desire, agency, consent, and cultural expectations.” —SG
TUESDAY MARCH 8
New York rapper R.A. The Rugged Man has been around since the early 1990s, but hasn't released many of his own albums throughout his career. Some of that was due to record company trouble stemming from his roots in Crustified Dibbs, a hilarious, disgusting and maximally offensive proto-horrorcore project. The group’s debut, Night Of The Bloody Apes, was shelved at least in part to songs like the astonishingly obscene “Cunt Renaissance,” which featured The Notorious B.I.G. spitting one of the filthiest guest verses of his career—although perceived lack of commercial potential and the frankly titled “Every Record Label Sucks Dick” didn't help things either. Nevertheless, R.A. (what the initials stand for has been a closely guarded secret) eventually regrouped and recorded assorted songs and many guest verses in the hip-hop underground throughout the late ’90s and early ‘00s, making acclaimed appearances on Rawkus Records’ Soundbombing compilations. He got particular notice for his feature on Jedi Mind Tricks’ “Uncommon Valor,” an unsparing reflection on Vietnam through the eyes of his veteran father. In 2004, he finally released his solo debut Die, Rugged Man, Die, and 2013 saw him put out Legends Never Die, which featured the single “Definition Of A Rap Flow.”—MN
Super Serious Songwriter Series: Joe Darcy. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m.
Joe Darcy is best known in Madison music as the singer and bassist of Paint, a punk trio that embraces both thrashing, cathartic numbers and more vulnerable, slow-building numbers. He’ll be playing his first-ever solo-electric set here, as part of the Mickey’s Super Serious Songwriter Series (which aims to pull more band-centered local musicians out of that comfort zone), and he tells me he’ll be playing new songs, a few covers, and old songs from Paint and his other projects. Paint has been on hold since drummer Jake Stamas moved away, but did record an album this past summer, and Darcy says the band hopes to get it out soon. As usual, this show will also feature a set from series host and organizer (and Midwest Beat leader) Matt Joyce. —SG
WEDNESDAY MARCH 9
The transcendentally nasty groove in the main riff from “Dead Skin Mask” was bastardized by nu-metal and the timelessly evil breakdown in “Angel Of Death” was completely exploited by metalcore, but Slayer rose to prominence by not compromising and always pushing metal a few steps further into the darkness than many were willing to go. In recent years, the band’s albums, including last year’s Repentless, have felt solid but far less inspired, and two of the band’s most crucial members are gone: Legendary shredder Jeff Hanneman tragically passed in 2013 and Dave Lombardo, perhaps one of the most innovative metal drummers of all time, was fired in 2013. What lures us to a Slayer show in 2016? The fact that its two remaining captains, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King, are now in their 50s and likely standing on a sinking ship. For all we know, every Slayer tour could end up being our last opportunity to catch their still-pummeling live show, which is enough for us. Also, another pair of hugely innovative metal bands in thrash titans Testament and death-metal warriors Carcass are opening, so we don’t recommend missing this. —JS
Madison’s Funniest Comic Finals. Comedy Club on State, 9 p.m.
While it doesn’t especially matter who wins the Comedy Club on State’s annual stand-up comedy competition, the long six-week cull does say something about the people who make it through to the late rounds. Contestants can’t repeat material from round to round, and each week the pool gets smaller and the sets longer. This week, it’ll be down to the final three, and whoever wins over the most votes from the audience and judges, it’s more than worth finding out how each comic handles the culmination of a creatively demanding process. —SG