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Scaphe, Closet Witch, The Central, Czarbles (free)


  • Mickey's Tavern 1524 Williamson Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Minneapolis band Scaphe heads up a night of delightfully weird heavy sounds. Info

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Minneapolis band Scaphe takes a wonderfully unhinged approach to heavy music, wielding two basses and an unmistakable sense of mischief. (The name could refer to a kind of sundial or an extremely gruesome method of execution.) Scaphe's 2018 album Factory Gleam also captures the range and sheer sonic freedom of this band, swerving from the grisly lurch of noise-rock on tracks like "People Like Me (Need To Be Stopped)" to moments of tenderness and restraint, like the hazily tuneful "Looks Better Without You" and the field-recording soundscape of "Are You Having Fun?" Even in Scaphe's most dense and sludgy moments, bassists Nate Johnson (who sometimes also plays guitar) and Sam Cramer tease a lot of textural variety and nimble melody from their instruments, and Bryce Beverlin II's drumming is brutal and resourceful all at once. It's a good fit for the point-blank environs of Mickey's.

Scaphe is well matched here with Iowa's Closet Witch and Madison bands Czarbles and The Central. Closet Witch's self-titled 2018 album is a spasm of grindcore-fueled violence that often expands into more complex territory, creating a sickly but satisfying tension on tracks like "Rule By Bacon" and "Personal Machu Picchu." The Central recently released its fifth full-length album, Van Dyke Browne's Crystal, on which the duo continues to explore a variety of sonic interests, from punishing math-rock to free jazz and intricate polyrhythms. Not unlike Scaphe, it manages to come off as playful and difficult at the same time. It's hard to think of a more perfect addition to this bill than long-running Madison trio Czarbles, whose instrumentals are both brain-teasingly complex and devilishly catchy. —Scott Gordon