Madison finds itself in a music tour sweet spot this week, with performances by The Decemberists, The Budos Band, The Black Angels, Low, Jeremy Denk, and Rusko. The calendar also includes: a talk by Billy Collins, the "Beyond Donkeys and Elephants" panel discussion, and stand-up by Jon Lajoie.
BIRTHDAYS: Pollyannaish actress Hayley Mills, 1946; cable television star Conan O'Brien, 1963.
UW Union South's Varsity Hall, 7:30 pm
The former U.S. poet laureate has a knack for attracting a following with his accessible verse.
NOTEWORTHY: 168 die in car-bombing of Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, 1995.
BIRTHDAYS: Singer-songwriter Dar Williams, 1967; actress Kate Hudson, 1979.
Union South's Marquee, 7 pm
In this UW Lit Fest event, experts including The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny, UW professor Jim Baughman and Isthmus' own Bill Lueders talk about how journalists' convictions relate to their work.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
The chart-topping, organ-loving storytellers take a step back from the British folk revival of the 1960s to explore American country and blues on their latest release, The King Is Dead. Find out more in this week's Tour Stop. With Justin Townes Earle.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
This Daptone dozen tap into funk rhythms and Afrobeat song structures with a percussion section so lively that they don't even need a vocalist. With Charles Bradley.
BIRTHDAY: Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange, 1949.
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
This Austin psych-rock band are drawn to other bands with "black" in their names, touring with the Black Keys and earning comparisons to Black Mountain. See if they belong with this company, or if they should start pursuing bands of other hues. With Suuns.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Low's slow, minimalist gems never seem to grow old; songs like "California" just turn into classics. Catch their spellbinding live show with an opening set by local indie-pop purveyor Icarus Himself.
BIRTHDAYS: Singer/stooge Iggy Pop, 1947; actress Andie MacDowell, 1958.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm
The accomplished pianist plays Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in their entirety, as well as Charles Ives' Sonata No. 1.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The Canadian comedian has turned a series of amusing Internet music videos into a big-time career. His songs are about topics that perhaps can't even be described in an alternative newspaper.
Orpheum Theatre, 10 pm
With a dubstep background and the huge hit "Cockney Thug," which Diplo, Santigold, Switch, and others put in heavy rotation, this English musician is on the up-and-ups. With Dirty Disco Kidz.