Squarewave and Chuck Prophet are among the highlights at this year's Orton Park Fest. Info
The east side's summer music festival season crests with the four-day Orton Park Festival, and as always the local outfits playing in the afternoons and early evenings are just as good a reason to go as the touring headliners. Shakey (Friday, 51:5 p.m.) is a deep-reaching Neil Young covers project whose lineup boasts Madison veterans like Pete Kaesberg (who currently lives in Eau Claire but came up in the 1980s playing in local punk bands including Mecht Mensch), Dan Hobson (who played drums in Killdozer), and Maggie Weiser (who has played in outfits including Reptile Palace Orchestra and the late Marques Bovre's band). Saturday's Madison-based highlights include the Cajun-tinged country of Evan Murdock & The Imperfect Strangers (11:45 a.m.), the immaculately crafted psych-rock of Squarewave (2:45 p.m.), and the Acoplados Latin Jazz Project (5 p.m.).
Chuck Prophet, a wry and underrated San Francisco singer-songwriter and guitarist (and occasional collaborator to Alejandro Escovedo, who played a wonderful headlining set at last year's Orton Park Fest), headlines on Saturday behind his 2017 album Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins. Waco Brothers, a rough-and-tumble country-punk outfit led by Jon Langford of British punk legends Mekons, closes out the festival on Sunday night. As always, Madison's Cycropia Aerial Dance troupe take to the park's lush tree canopy for a mix of movement, visuals, and sound on Thursday and Friday night. —Scott Gordon