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Orton Park Festival (free)

  • Orton Park 1103 Spaight Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Alejandro Escovedo. Photo by Nancy Rankin Escovedo.

Alejandro Escovedo. Photo by Nancy Rankin Escovedo.

The Orton Park Fest music lineup always has some gems, but it's exceptionally good this time around. Saturday brings a headlining set from Alejandro Escovedo, whose signature meld of country, glam, punk, and Mexican folk music has been in rugged, roaring shape over the past decade. The Texan has been putting out extraordinary solo records since the early 90s, but the stuff he's made since narrowly surviving a case of hepatitis C has been some of his best, from 2006's gorgeously bleak The Boxing Mirror to last year's bright and gritty Burn Something Beautiful. Saturday also boasts the twangy, rollicking proto-rock of Appleton band Dusk, featuring members of Tenement and Holy Sheboygan. For the early risers on Sunday, the fest's annual "jazz brunch" will feature jazz/hip-hop/neo-soul hybridists Soulmen, who boast a gifted instrumental lineup as well as solid young MC Protege The Pro. Later highlights on Sunday include the Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Band and deep-digging cover band The Low Czars. It's also definitely worth catching Madison's Cycropia Aerial Dance group, who perform Thursday and Friday nights. —Scott Gordon

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