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Wild Belle, Fred Thomas

  • High Noon Saloon 701 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Fred Thomas. Photo by Jimmi Francouer.

Fred Thomas. Photo by Jimmi Francouer.

Fred Thomas' work as the mastermind of Michigan pop outfit Saturday Looks Good To Me earned him a reputation as a crafty, wistful songwriter and a producer with an ear for warm pop textures and weird dubbed-out tricks. That band always came off as disarming and genuine, but given its rotating vocalists and layers of pop tropes, you could understandably feel like you weren't hearing directly from Thomas himself. Maybe something got pent up behind SLGTM's retro-pop artifice and the gentle experimentalism of his other collaborative and solo work, because Thomas' latest album, 2017's Changer, is an unloading. On songs like "Voiceover," "Misremembered," and "Brickwall," Thomas pours out conflicted memories, self-doubt, and frustrations in cathartically crammed verses. It's a lyrical approach that began to take shape on 2015's All Are Saved (especially on "Cops Don't Care Pt. II"), but Changer doubles down on that and channels it through some of the most raw, direct, guitar-centered work he's ever done. There's still plenty of melody and sweetness to be found here, but it's also refreshing to hear Thomas just let this stuff out. He opens here for electro-pop outfit Wild Belle. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: September 24
Gear And Beer Fest Wisconsin #2 (free)
Later Event: September 24
Andrew Cyrille + Bill McHenry