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FRZN Fest 2018 (multiple venues)

  • High Noon Saloon 701 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)


Every January, FRZN Fest seems to approach with relatively little fanfare. In the dead of winter, bookers at Frank Productions cobble together what touring acts with reasonable appeal will bear the abominable cold of Januaries in Wisconsin and house them all in the High Noon Saloon over the course of three to four days, as if for communal warmth, under the guise of a festival. This year the bookers and their partners at the Majestic are doubling down, booking six concerts' worth of bands, spanning three days and both venues. Still, curmudgeonly and cynical as we tend to be, even we must cede that this year's FRZN Fest packs some actual heat. On night one, Shredders, an outfit featuring P.O.S. and other members of Minneapolis' Doomtree, and some fellow Midwestern hip hop acts seize the High Noon. Shredders' 2017 debut Dangerous Jumps, feels like a needed new wave in the rap movement that Doomtree has helped define. Over percussive and electronic beats on songs like "Flipping Cars,'" Shredders' emcees brandish and flex tack-sharp lyrics and cadences like broadswords. The next night marks a return for Dan Bejar as Destroyer, the project under which he's received pompous accolades like "rock's exiled king." Still, the Canadian singer-songwriter's work holds up as enduring and inventive. His newest album, 2017's Ken, is a departure. Tracks like "Sky's Grey" are sparser than the norm, requiring careful attention but rewarding the listener with unexpected peaks and valleys. Night three, at the High Noon, brings a stateside visit from Spanish band Hinds. Sweet, slow and garage-y, the four-member outfit write songs like "Garden" that take their time strolling with sweet riffs and unison singing, but never meander. There's more at this year's maybe-a-festival, so see the full schedule—Henry Solo

Earlier Event: January 16
Timecrimes (free)