Communication marks its first year of creative community-building with a weekend of music and art. Info
Tone Madison has a special relationship with Communication, the all-ages, sober venue and arts space that opened in 2018 on Milwaukee Street: Communication is our non-profit partner and provides us with a home base of sorts. That said, this multi-functional space has accomplished something noteworthy in its first year of shows, art exhibitions, and workshops. Madison has struggled to support music venues that don't sell alcohol, which means there's often been a lack of healthy all-ages performance spaces with community-driven programming. The last one of note was the Project Lodge on East Johnson Street, which closed in 2012. We're also lucky to have new non-conglomerated venues in town that care about elevating locally based artists and do sell alcohol—including Art In, The Winnebago, Café Coda, Crucible, and the North Street Cabaret—but it's good to know that different models can actually work.
Communication's one-year anniversary celebration, which will raise money for both Communication itself and for Tone Madison, starts off on Friday and features music from William Z. Villain, new Madison band Able Baker, and singer-songwriter M. Martin. It's fitting that William Z. Villain, who plays devilishly weird amalgamations of Eastern European swing and theatrical Americana, also performed at Communication's grand opening last summer. Friday will also mark the unveiling of an art show by T.L. Luke, Smere Tactics, and Clairanne Godfrey. On Saturday, things will start off with a 10 a.m. show for kids—building on Communication's efforts to offer programming for youngsters—and at 1 p.m., there will be a dedication ceremony for a new mosaic that has replaced a formerly crumbling section of the venue's facade on Willy Street. Saturday evening's music lineup doubles down on Communication's role as a space for local experimental music: Julian Lynch will be headlining in what I believe is his first Madison performance since the January release Rat's Spit, his fifth solo album and a high point in his tender, transportively catchy, and genre-dissolving body of work. Drone duo Woodman/Earhart and playfully bizarre vocalist and multi-instrumentalist will round out Saturday's music lineup. Saturday's music acts will play with live visuals created by Jeremy Nealis, who is also a member of the band Double Ewes and an accomplished digital artist. —Scott Gordon