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World's Largest Brat Fest 2018 (free)


  • Alliant Energy Center 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way Madison, WI, 53713 United States (map)

Monday's Gin Blossoms show looks to be the highlight of Madison's annual sausage throwdown. Info

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Some years it's all too easy to rip on Brat Fest, yet every so often the massive pork-gobbling party nabs an impressive headliner. It may not top last year's visit from George Clinton, but this year it's a pleasant surprise to have Tempe, Arizona jangle-pop crooners Gin Blossoms playing a Monday afternoon set. Sure, it's a '90s nostalgia trip, but sweetly wounded singles like "Hey Jealousy" and "Til I Hear It From You" wormed their way into my heart in middle school and I'm still here for it.

The band had a successful but rough initial run after the release of their 1989 debut album Dusted, enjoying a few hits but also enduring the firing and suicide of co-founder Doug Hopkins, who also wrote some of the band's best songs. The band started a second chapter in 2001, and in June will release their third post-reunion album, Mixed Reality. You can probably expect to hear some of that, but the band is still obliging about playing the old favorites. Those in search of the more standard Brat Fest thing can catch former Staind frontman Aaron Lewis doing his country thing on Friday and Bobaflex doing their post-grunge mouth-breather thing on Saturday. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: May 24
WisCon 42 (multiple venues)
Later Event: May 25
Sun Speak, Space Junk