Here are this week's Isthmus Picks. The Guide provides an extended listing of events in and around Madison.
Central Park, 5 pm
This benefit concert for WORT-FM, the Urban League, Centro Hispano and Project 1808 features music from several parts of the African continent. The bill includes Tani Diakite & the Afrofunkstars, who put a Madisonian spin on Malian music, and Mokoomba, a group from Zimbabwe.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 5 pm
Klatt, a talented guitarist and songwriter with a penchant for roots music, hits the Terrace with his band to warm up for a Friday-night set at the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival. Toast the group's Midwestern work ethic as you watch the sun set.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
Led by New York City composer and keyboardist Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin combine classical influences with modern indie pop; they're frequently compared to the National.
Lake Farm County Park, 5 pm-midnight. Also Saturday, Aug. 2, noon-11 pm
Bring on the banjos: It's a weekend of camping, concerts, workshops and informal jam sessions with Americana acts from around the country, including the Jack Klatt Trio (Friday, 7:45 pm), the Tillers (Friday, 9 pm), Blind Boy Paxton (Saturday, 5:15 pm), the Dom Flemons Duo (Saturday, 7:45 pm) and the Drunken Catfish Ramblers (Saturday, 9 pm). Madison's Count This Penny kick off the event on Friday at 5:15 pm. (See Music.)
Monona Terrace Rooftop, 5:30-9:30 pm
Each Friday in August, the Monona Terrace Rooftop turns into a ballroom for the free Dane Dances! concert series. DJ Pain 1 will get the crowd moving at 5:30 pm, and funky jazz act the Christopher Project will turn up the heat at 6 pm. Be on the lookout for fancy footwork around 8 pm, when salsa and rumba band Charanga Agoza start unleashing Latin rhythms.
TAPIT/new works, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (4 pm), Aug. 2 & 3. Through Aug. 10
A political activist and a real estate developer both have designs on a convenience store in Schenk's Corners in this original production featuring opera arias, tap dancing and even a walking tour of the near-east-side neighborhood. (See Theater.)
Christ Presbyterian Church, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday, Aug. 3, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3 pm
Each summer, this choral group convene several dozen of Madison's top singers for two weeks of rehearsals and a pair of elegant concerts. Masterworks by Brahms and Rachmaninoff are on the docket, as well as a nonsense song inspired by the Muppets' Swedish Chef.
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
This enthusiastically titled concert commemorates the last 20 years of Madison rock with some fine specimens of the genre, including masked surf band Knuckel Drager, stoner rock specialists Droids Attack and intense art rockers Transformer Lootbag. With PowerWagon, Bugatti Type 35, Wheelie King and Zebras.
Five Nightclub, 9 pm
Which two lucky contestants will get dragging rights in this singing, dancing, lip-syncing competition? Find out at what promises to be a fabulous evening, hosted by the infamous Dear Ruthie. The winners of the coveted crown and sash, determined by who gets the most tips, receive a primo ride in the OutReach PRIDE Parade on Aug. 10.
Frequency, 9 pm
If you know what this band's name means, you're probably aware that web surfers tend have a very short attention span. That's one reason the group will release No Time for Sleep, an album of short and surfy pop tunes, at this show. With Heavy Looks and Hello Dmitri.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
DJs Nick Nice and Amos Smith will duke it out at a Prince-themed dance party that includes music videos projected on a big screen. You don't have to be rich to pay the $5 cover charge, but the festivities are free if you wear purple.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
Often compared to the Doors, Umphrey’s McGee and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, this indie jam band have made waves on the Chicago scene in the last year. "Keep It Together," a track on their self-titled album, is a lively introduction to their sound. With Honey and the 45s.
National Mustard Museum, Middleton, 9:30 am-4 pm
Celebrate mustard's condiment-ributions to the world with tastings, games and kid-friendly music from the Poupon U Accordion Band, Funky Chunky and the Red Hot Horn Dawgs.
Tex Tubb's Taco Palace, noon-9 pm
Named after the TV show Austin City Limits, this new outdoor fest celebrates the near-east-side neighborhoods bordering Atwood Avenue. The concerts are free, and the lineup includes local Americana songbird Whitney Mann, Kristy Larson and her honky-tonk trio, Tyler Preston & the King Street Band, and headliners the Lucas Cates Band. The owners of the Austin-inspired eatery will also perform when they're not serving beer and — you guessed it — tacos.
Tenney Park, 4 pm
This Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin benefit features music by Americana band Double Dubbs, electronic trio Red Rose, Brazilian percussion ensemble the Handphibians and more. There will also be games, food and an after-party at the High Noon Saloon (10 pm) with music by electronic dance band Intelescope, roots group 4th Coast and Ween tribute act Warm Wet Rag.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
The members of this indie folk and rock act are all the children of immigrants from Asia. Their songs often address themes of identity, homecoming and belonging. With Seasaw and Reverie.
Kiki's House of Righteous Music, 9 pm
Bassist and vocalist Sweeney of Two Cow Garage will likely perform acoustic covers and original songs from his solo album, The Finding Time, with friend Ryan Parker.
Pick of the Week
Saturday, Aug. 2, UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
This Chicago hip-hop artist's stage name is shorthand for "rising over envy," an approach that's all too rare in the dog-eat-dog world of showbiz. Despite the humble-sounding moniker, R.O.E. is not afraid to trumpet his victories to the masses with songs like "I Won," the 2011 single that catapulted him onto numerous blogs and mtvU. Combining smooth rapping with hints of soul and jazz, he excels at creating a laid-back vibe fit for an outdoor concert. Pair it with a Terrace beer, and you've got a perfect antidote to a hectic week. With Trackless.
Frequency, 8 pm
This husband-and-wife duo call Nashville home, and that city's musical heritage shows in their goose-bump-inducing cocktail of country, folk and blues. Bonus: They take their name from a terrifying scene in Jaws.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
It was an emotional wedding; even the cake was in tiers. Atheism is a non-prophet organization. I'm reading a book about anti-gravity; it's impossible to put down. If you're still reading, you're the target audience for Pundamonium, a slam-style pun contest. Get ready to groan — in a good way.
Frequency, 9 pm
Allen Russell pairs improvisational fiddling with hip-hop beats in this Milwaukee-based electro-acoustic project. With adoptahighway and the Demix.
Capitol Square (King Street corner), noon
Pack a picnic and enjoy a free concert by Cates, a local artist who performs pop, R&B and funk. Fans of John Mayer should dig his earthy style.
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
Stray Dog Charm Comedy brings hilarious standup comedian Erin Judge (Pink Collar Comedy Tour, Comedy Central, NBC's Last Comic Standing) to the Brink. Judge is known for her smart, relatable comedy, and she loves performing in college towns. Milwaukee comic Greg Bach hosts the shindig, which also features locals Nick Hart (a finalist in the Madison's Funniest Comic competition) and Sarah Connor.
Frequency, 8:30 pm
Garage rock, blue-eyed soul and synth-pop are all in this local band's bag of tricks. Cheer them on as they perform songs from the self-titled EP they released in June. With Gentle Brontosaurus.
100 Block of State Street, 5 pm
Dancing in the street is the name of the game when the free, outdoor Jazz at Five series begins its 20th year (see Music). Whalen, a jazz pianist, composer and UW alum, did the string arrangements for the Oscar-winning song "El Otro Lado del Rio," which was featured in the film The Motorcycle Diaries. With Nuggernaut.
UW Discovery Building, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday, Aug. 7, 7:30 pm. Through Aug. 9
Fermat's Last Theater Company presents Shakespeare's tragedy about love, perfidy, war and death. The innovative troupe invites new perspectives on the play while tackling thorny social justice issues. This is the group's second production (last year they staged The Merchant of Venice), so their ideas are extra fresh.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Butch Vig, cofounder of Madison legend Smart Studios and the band Garbage, is the drummer in this rootsy act featuring Phil Davis on vocals (see Tour Stop). Bits of hard rock and pop poke through from time to time, like a sneaky saguaro cactus. With Christopher Gold.
Alchemy Cafe, 10 pm
Air guitar is a thing, but what about air washboard? We say it is, and this is the concert to try it out at. Boo Bradley uses a real washboard as a percussion instrument in old-fashioned blues tunes that'll make you want to dance when you're not making silent music.
Edited by James George Janos