Champaign, Illinois' Nectar is a standout in this nine-band lineup. Info/tix
The High Noon's "Tony Hawk Appreciation Fest" event is maybe actually about the famed skateboarder and maybe just a playful way to get a bunch of local and regional punk rock, much of it with a melodic bent, under one roof. Attendees will apparently be able to play some Pro Skater while taking in the nine-band lineup, which ranges from hardcore to full-on pop-punk. One welcome tangent here is Nectar, from Champaign, Illinois. There's enough melody and brightness on the band's 2018 debut album, Knocking At The Door, to make a connection with anyone who appreciates a good hook, but this music doesn't always take its punk influences completely head-on. Guitarist-vocalist Kamila Glowacki embraces vulnerability and frayed edges in her songwriting, even when the music is seemingly at its fastest and happiest: "Need to find another way / Hard to stare back at your defeated face," Glowacki sings on "Smile." Glowacki and fellow guitarist Aaron Shults favor warm, shaggy tones and slip just a bit of dissonance into their punchy figures. Bassist Isabel Skidmore and drummer Jake Mott give the band a lot of flexibility, whether plowing into the giddy tempos of a song like "Days" or slowing down to bolster the sense of both tension and weariness on the album's excellent closing track, "Birthday." Nectar played with Proud Parents at Art In about a year and a half ago and won me over immediately, so I hope they keep coming back to Madison.
Milwaukee's Direct Hit headlines here, playing cheerfully catchy punk that often takes a volatile turn and pulls in a little bit of everything from across the continuum represented in this lineup. Another kinda-outlier on the bill is Madison band Dear Mr. Watterson, which recently put out a new single, "Adam Flottmeyer Must Be Stopped." Named for a member of fellow local outfits Wash and Like A Manatee, the charmingly frantic track manages to pack in a lovely rapid-fire guitar hook and lyrical images that range from pillow forts and a "big green couch" to dark corners and monsters. We'd usually list all the bands in the headline of these previews, but there are a lot, so here are the rest: Why Not, Coasting, Delinquents, Middle Aged Overdose, Mud Dog, and Schmoolio. —Scott Gordon