Madison bands flex their muscles this weekend, with the slate of shows representing some of the best the scene has to offer. The complete live music calendar includes performances by Buckcherry, Graham Colton, The New Standards, Wisconsin Singers, Robert Fulghum, Rose Polenzani and Anne Heaton, Harmonious Wail, We the Living, German Art Students, Over the Rhine, The Crest, Matt & Kim, Blueheels, a WORT benefit with the Low Czars and V05, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, Loudon Wainright III, the Pro Arte Quartet, and Deerhunter. This mid-November break also brings productions of Winnie the Pooh and Dancing With My Other, the Ten Percent Society 25th Anniversary Coming Out Dance Party, and the Winter Art Festival.
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 6:30 pm
What's old is new. Amid ever-deepening oceans of inscrutable indie-rock bands, the Los Angeles hard rockers distinguish themselves -- in party anthems ("Too Drunk") and arena ballads ("Sorry") -- by exploring foundational rock 'n' roll themes like having sex and consuming drugs and alcohol, preferably all at once. And the songs are catchy. Also appearing: Avenged Sevenfold, Shinedown, Saving Abel.
Majestic Theatre, 7 pm
The Oklahoma dreamboat plays pop-inflected rock 'n' roll, and it's good stuff. Along with the fine music have come chart action, high-profile song placement on American Idol and, for a time, the romantic attention of Kelly Clarkson (he toured as an opener with the Texas dreamboat).
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 7 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Nov. 15 & 16
Hey, kids, check out this musical production featuring A.A. Milne's beloved bear, with songs by Allan Jay Friedman.
The New Standards
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
This Minneapolis trio, featuring members of Semisonic and the Suburbs, plays jazzy, vibraphone-drenched renditions of both familiar standards ("My Favorite Things") and rock staples you wouldn't otherwise associate with the vibraphone ("London Calling").
Orpheum Theatre, 7:30 pm
There was a time about 20 years ago when you couldn't escape the Unitarian Universalist minister's collection of folksy, musing essays All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. And you know what? It's a fine book. This fall he's promoting his latest collection of essays, What on Earth Have I Done?
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Nov. 15, 7:30 pm
You love singing, right? And dancing, too? What about fresh-faced college kids who sing and dance? We're crazy about them, and that's why we never miss an opportunity to check out the Singers, whose latest revue, "Let Us Entertain You!", features popular hits and Broadway showstoppers. (Don't all their revues feature Broadway showstoppers?)
Dancing With My Other
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Nov. 15 & 16
The sine qua non Williamson Street company debuts its latest, about life after prison for a woman who killed her husband. The play was written by Kathie Rasmussen, who died unexpectedly last year.
Rose Polenzani and Anne Heaton
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Though they were both raised in Wilmette, Ill., these two Americana singer-songwriters never crossed paths until moving to the East Coast and winning awards in Mountain Stage's 2008 NewSong Competition. Despite touring in support of separate albums, Polenzani and Heaton team up for a special visit to the Midwest, including this week's show at Mother Fool's.
Concourse Hotel Bar, 8:30 pm
The excellent local practitioners of Django Reinhardt's gypsy jazz sound celebrate the release of a new CD, Resist Temptation.
We the Living
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9 pm
While their main influences are British rock bands such as Coldplay and Radiohead, the members of We the Living formed out of the remnants of the Profits here in Madison last year. They've since moved to L.A. and released an album, Heights of the Heavens (Deus ex Machina), that's received quite a bit of attention thanks to a shout-out from Perez Hilton. Jeremy Messersmith opens.
Winter Art Festival
Monona Terrace, 9 am-5 pm. Also Sunday, Nov. 16, 10 am-4 pm
Are you panicking about holiday shopping yet? We are, but we'll procrastinate anyway. But you shouldn't, and that's why you should attend this companion to the summer Art Fair on the Square. The name of the game is scores and scores of Wisconsin painters, jewelers, sculptors and such.
German Art Students
Frequency, 5 pm
The German Art Students take over the early-show slot at the Frequency to celebrate their 10th anniversary and a new 7-inch vinyl release, 79 AD, which features two new songs by the band. Chicago's Teenage Imposters open.
Over the Rhine
Majestic Theatre, 7 pm
Inspired by old church hymns and classical music as much as the grunge artists who surrounded them during their early years, Ohio's Over the Rhine have found a cult following among fans of the Cowboy Junkies, the band they joined as adjunct members for a stretch of time during the '90s. Haley Bonar opens.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9 pm
If you missed them at the Pigeon John show, now's the time to see local hip-hop VIPs Jack Cracker, AD, Skrabble and Jason Blare. They've added a new song to their live act, the show is all-ages, and it's just in time to pick up a Wiscompton T-shirt for the holidays. Also playing: Fall Guys, L.O.S.T S.O.U.L.S, Rickaby.
Matt & Kim
Club 770 @ UW Union South, 9 pm
Brooklyn-based dance-punk duo and YouTube sensation Matt & Kim hit UW-Madison in anticipation of their new album, Grand, which is slated for a Jan. 20 release. Also playing: Best Fwends, Best Friends Forever.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
The local alt-country trailblazers play this weekend to raise money for the local chapter of the Bring the Guard Home. Details about the group's campaign are available on Peace Action's national website, M*A*S*H. Jentri Colello opens.
Pro Arte Quartet
UW Mills Hall, 7:30 pm
The UW's resident string quartet -- did you know it was founded in Belgium in 1912? now you do -- performs music of Joseph Haydn, Béla Bartók and Franz Schubert.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Atlanta indie garage combo, beloved of the Pitchfork set, tour on the strength of a new release, Microcastle. On stage, the group's enigmatic front man Bradford Cox sometimes wears frocks.