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Lucien Parker, Mic Kellogg, Ran Harper (free)

  • Memorial Union Terrace 800 Langdon Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

With the latest in a fertile string of one-off tracks, “Changes,” Lucien Parker has cemented himself as a thoroughly well-rounded MC and singer. While this foray into poppier R&B bears resemblance to mainstream artists like Bryson Tiller and foregrounds Parker's knack for melody, it also contains a sort of hidden depth. (Other recent tracks, like "Impossible," find him focusing more on rapping.) Parker's lyrics weave together experiences and emotions in ways that strike a solid balance between showing and telling. "When my head is sick I know it change my presence / My best efforts go to effortless expressions, keep 'em guessing," he sings on "Changes," leaving the meaning open enough for listeners to link things with their own experiences. He will be joined at the terrace by Milwaukeean and former Madison resident Mic Kellogg. The breakfast-themed rapper-singer is kind of the light to Parker's shadow. Many of his songs, like the recent “Up,” are drenched in a particular emotion, in this case a mix of nostalgia and expectation. There’s no hiding or abstraction with Kellogg. Instead, the strength in his music lies in crystallizing a feeling in sonic form and bringing it to the listener with a bit of extra polish. —Henry Solotaroff-Webber