Madison calendar, May 19 through 25

Savages, Spray Paint, a Tony Robinson documentary, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Scott Gordon, Joel Shanahan

Savages play May 20 at the High Noon Saloon.

Savages play May 20 at the High Noon Saloon.

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THURSDAY MAY 19

Bad Cinema: Mommie Dearest. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

Look, in the real world, child abuse is never funny. Ever. That said, there are a couple of key performances in godawful, horseshit films about child abuse that are so bad, they’ll leave you with your Mountain Dew spurting out of your nostrils. Those include Robert DeNiro’s insane overacting as Dwight Hansen in 1993’s This Boy’s Life and, of course, Faye Dunaway’s trainwreck performance as Joan Crawford in the 1981 biopic Mommie Dearest. The Fred Perry film examines the memoir of the same name by Christina Crawford, which chronicles the author’s troubled relationship with her mother. It was an opportunity for a truly haunting film about mental illness, child abuse, and the culture of vanity, excess, and aging in Hollywood. Instead, we’re given Nicholas Cage-esque levels of accidental camp, including a cult-iconic scene in which Dunaway’s Crawford goes completely ballistic on her daughter for using wire coat hangers. It shouldn’t be funny, but it’s very funny, and we’re glad to see the Madison Public Library’s Bad Cinema series continuing to deliver the goods. —Joel Shanahan


A Giant Dog, Dash Hounds, Goldmines, Heather The Jerk. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

Cleveland band Goldmines’ new self-titled EP strikes a rare balance of atmosphere and straight-ahead rock swagger. Drummer Roseanna Safos’ rumbling toms, guitarist Mandy Aramouni’s sharp and reverb-tinged figures, and the whole band’s resourcefully layered vocal arrangements give tracks like “New Mane” and “Bruised Lips” a suspenseful undertow, but the ambience never detracts from the songs’ driving, melodic focus. This bill is solid up and down: Austin rockers A Giant Dog play here behind their Merge Records debut, Pile, Madison’s Dash Hounds contribute a set of morose jangly guitar-pop, and Heather Sawyer of The Hussy plays in her one-woman-band project Heather The Jerk. —Scott Gordon


FRIDAY MAY 20

Savages, Head Wound City. High Noon Saloon, 9:30 p.m.

After a hard listen to London-based outfit Savages’ recently released second album, Adore Life, it’s tough to deny that the foursome have truly refined their loose, dynamic, and kitsch-less approach to post-punk. The band’s 2013 debut Silence Yourself seemingly beamed in from another planet and catapulted them into a massive touring schedule and high expectations, and they’ve delivered on the hype with gripping and focused music. Part of what makes Savages so effective is the tension in the spacious build-ups for songs like “When In Love” and even the haunting, waltzing ballad “Adore.” When the snare hits fade in, the guitar shrapnel thickens, and Jehnny Beth’s powerful crooning snowballs into intense howls, Savages always sound like a timebomb—as though everything could fall apart at any second. However, it never does, and it’s hard to find any holes in a group with such a unified, prodding sound. —JS


Strollin’ Verona. Multiple Venues, 4:30 p.m. (free)

The Strollin’ series launched two years ago with a promising model for showcasing local jazz: Pick a local neighborhood and book a varied lineup of free jazz performances in its businesses, from bars to hair salons, all within walking distance of each other, and all for free. After successful events on the near-east side, on Monroe Street, and in downtown Madison, the series boldly ventures into...the suburbs. Strollin’ Verona will mostly center on the bedroom community’s old Main Street, with performers including guitar duo Mal-O-Dua, drummer Miguel McQuade’s trio, and vocalist Susan Hofer. The night wraps up with a slightly less walkable detour to the Wisconsin Brewing Company with The Jimmys and Todd Phipps And The Organization. —SG

Mr. Jackson, Kleptix, Mid Waste, Frandu, Loop Retard, Frandu. The Wisco, 9 p.m.

A longtime Madison noise veteran with one of the most heinously unforgettable aliases in Wisconsin, Madison’s Loop Retard treads a similarly gnarly path of outsider audio and performance art that his former, meat-tossing band Right Arm Severed did throughout the aughts. While we can all but guarantee that you’ll hear some of Sven Bollan’s thrashed, handmade tape loops, it’s tough to predict which one of his bizarro characters he’ll be slipping into as they play, be it some kind of fucked motivational speaker or a workout guru. Joining Bollan on the bill is Kleptix, the damaged machine-music brainchild of experimentalist Troy Peterson, who will likely be bringing an arsenal of both home-built and home-mangled gear to perform a collection playful and bizarre electronic vignettes. It’s also worth mentioning that Peterson usually runs some nuked visuals through a video synthesizer when he plays live, adding another surreal layer into his performances. Contributing another layer of unpredictability here is the inclusion of Madison comedian and performance artist Frandu. —JS


Dave Chappelle. Orpheum, 7 & 10 p.m.

The last time Dave Chappelle announced a run of stand-up shows—breaking a long absence from the road—it triggered a hysterical cascade of sell-outs and added-show announcements, and this week’s two shows at the Orpheum were announced with just 10 days’ notice. But with all that pent-up demand, it Chappelle can basically do whatever he wants, and he does seem genuinely excited about actually doing stand-up shows again, what with all the surprise bookings and talk of a new HBO special. —SG

SATURDAY MAY 21

Major Vistas. Mason Lounge, 7 p.m. (free)

Madison-based trio Major Vistas’ debut album, Minor Anthems, crafts flowing and subtly ambitious instrumentals from a gentle palette of jazz, rock, and electronic sounds. Chris Bucheit’s mostly clean-toned guitars, Mike Weiser’s electric piano, and Geoff Brady’s drums give these songs an approachable surface, but also give the band a lot of room to explore a variety of textures and feels. Weiser and Bucheit dart around each other through the ascending figures of “Deep Space” as Brady weaves tastefully mutating grooves. “Beginning Mind” uses rich piano chords ands delay-streaked guitar loops to craft a melody that’s at once conversational and ominous, with rhythms that alternate between mid-tempo rock and nimble swing. That versatility—and the band’s balance of hooks and improvisation—makes Major Vistas a worthy addition to Madison’s jazz offerings. —SG


Tin Can Diamonds, DJ Boyfrrriend, Chris Plowman, Afro Intellect. Bright Red Studios, 7:30 p.m.

Madison band Tin Can Diamonds play an amiable mix of folk-pop and blues, as singer Aarushi Agni delivers lyrics that explore politics, trauma, and self-worth. The band’s new self-titled album, which they’ll celebrate at this show, can feel a bit unfocused as it skips between slow-building blues numbers like “My Short Life” and plucky up-tempo ones like “We All Gotta Eat,” but the songwriting and vocals still show promise. On the standout track “Impression,” Agni sings about the way that romantic relationships can screw with a person’s identity, in a lyrical approach that brings together the personal with feminist politics. —SG


SUNDAY MAY 22

Frank Bures. A Room of One’s Own, 2 p.m. (free)

Twin Cities-based journalist Frank Bures’ has delved into subjects ranging from the Nigerian phenomenon of penis theft to the highly questionable “creative-class” theorizing of Richard Florida. Bures’ new book, The Geography Of Madness, focuses on a common thread in his travel writing: “culture-bound syndromes,” or maladies that exist at a bizarre intersection of superstition, delusion, and esoteric cultural traditions. That can include, of course, believing that someone has magically stolen your penis, but as sensational as that might sound, Bures is after something more subtle here, and he’ll explore that as he reads and signs from the book this Sunday. —SG

The Black Dahlia Murder, Fallujah, Disentomb. Frequency, 8 p.m. (sold out)

Among the myriad At The Gates- and Carcass-worshipping death-metal bands that broke out in the metalcore explosion of the early aughts, Black Dahlia Murder’s 2003 debut Unhallowed stood out as promising. It showcased a band that seemed more concerned about writing concise tunes with melodically rich and memorable guitar riffs, not merely making every song a vehicle for some brainless hardcore breakdown. This was a rarity back then and, despite how insanely indebted Unhallowed was to an album like At The Gates’ Slaughter Of The Soul (or any other classic death-metal album), it made relentlessly battering death-metal crushers like “Funeral Thirst” or “Thy Horror Cosmic” feel refreshing. While the metal landscape has changed so much over the past 13 years since Unhallowed dropped, with metalcore being pushed aside for post-metal, crust, and doom, there’s something still pretty refreshing about Black Dahlia Murder’s seventh and latest album, Abysmal, which—while very polished—finds the band staying true to its melodic death-metal roots. —JS


Madison Unique Lives: Sissy Spacek. Capitol Theater, 7:30 p.m.

Long story short, Diane Keaton was scheduled to appear at this installment of the Madison Unique Lives series, but had to cancel, so they somehow managed to book fellow actor Sissy Spacek in her place. Unique Lives is a national lecture series “developed in response to women's requests for intellectual entertainment”—which sounds a bit like a mixture of TED Talks and “something special for the ladies!” condescension, and tickets are steep. Still, it should be worth it to hear Spacek discuss her massive filmography, which has ranged from 1976’s Stephen King adaptation Carrie to 1980’s Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter to more recent work like the Netflix thriller Bloodline. —SG

WORT Block Party. 200 Block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, 11 a.m. (free)

TUESDAY MAY 24

Future Punx, Spray Paint, Samantha Glass. Frequency, 8 p.m.

It was just last year when Austin-based post-punk trio Spray Paint dropped two maddeningly dystopian, full-length steamrollers in Punters On A Barge and Dopers. So, it’s pretty impressive that the band is now getting ready to drop another pummeling and disorienting exploration into hooky dissonance, primal rhythms, and swaggering howls in Feel The Clamps (the street date is June 3). Fit to score any sadistic, Richard Kern-esque nightmare scenario, Clamps’ lead anti-single “Burn Barrell” keeps prodding for those abrasively cold blue-notes lost between the familiar ones, as a cloudy, ominous guitar mess billows out over a pounding four-on-the-floor that’s better suited for wandering off the edge of a high building in step than it is for dancing. It’s also worth noting that Spray Paint’s Facebook page states that they’ll have their new album in tow early for this tour. —JS


Super Serious Singer Songwriter Series: Alex Reilly. Mickey’s Tavern, 10:30 p.m. (free)

WEDNESDAY MAY 25

19, The Tony Robinson Shooting, A Case Of Deadly Bias. Central Library, 6:30 p.m. (free)

Tim Poehlmann-Tynan’s new documentary 19 delves into the March 6, 2015, death of unarmed black man Tony Robinson at the hands of Madison police officer Matt Kenny, who did not face criminal charges for the shooting. The documentary investigates Kenny’s history as an officer, his behavior on the night he shot Robinson in a Willy Street apartment, and the way that Madison’s overwhelmingly white media covered the event. After the film gets its premiere screening here David Klein of Madison film website LakeFrontRow will host a panel discussion with Poehlmann-Tynan; Young, Gifted and Black co-founder Brandi Grayson; and Wisconsin State Representative Chris Taylor. —SG

Sam Moss, Jen Clare Paulson, Kerosone Heaters. Arts + Literature Laboratory, 7 p.m.

While we understand that Boston-based fingerstyle guitarist and songwriter Sam Moss is navigating a really crowded area with the sensitive folk troubadour vibe that’s alive in this year’s Fable, it’s his ability to sit back and explore the space in his tightly (but not too tightly) constructed tunes that really draws us in. Shuffling waltz “Postman” is accented with gorgeous tremolo guitar that’s gently punctuated with gentle acoustic guitar flourishes every few bars, as Moss’ voice gently lashes out and reels itself back in with the utmost control and taste. We’re also huge suckers for the swiftly finger-picked chords that serve as the melodic backbone for “Beast,” which gently fade in and out of the mix, as a slow burning backdrop of bass-y notes lurk behind. It’s always refreshing when a singer-guitarist pulls more from the pages of John Fahey and Bert Jansch than Bob Dylan, and this feeling seems fairly present throughout Moss’ 2016 album Fable. —JS