While watching the football Badgers almost hand a gift victory to their guests from Northern Illinois University last Saturday, it occurred to me that another fall was under way in Madison, bringing a lot of new faces to town. It is our custom to recognize that fact in our pages and run a few stories this time of year that help the newly arrived access the local benefits. This week's cover story, "Ten Must-See Fall Concerts by Madison Bands," is such an offering.
Author Rich Albertoni, established Isthmus music contributor, gives the reader not just a list of shows, but also, along the way, an intro to the multifaceted Madison pop music scene. The piece also functions as an introduction to local pop history, a rich and fertile tradition that continues.
Madison, it seems, has always had a vital connection to the music of the day. In terms of the rock genre, it goes back well beyond 50 years. Does the name Sebastian Moon ring any bells out there? The genesis of the Steve Miller Band is probably the high point of notoriety for Madison's influence on rock 'n' roll, so far. Though Miller and company made their mark out of San Francisco, they got it together playing fraternity gigs and the like right here as the Ardells.
Post Miller, there were a number of Madison outfits that threatened to break out of the local scene, such as Oz and later Spooner, but they never quite made the leap. Spooner, however, laid the groundwork for Fire Town, then another Madison ensemble that made a big bang - Garbage.
The next big Madison thing? I don't know, but there's a chance that if you follow Albertoni's bill of fare, you'll see it or its predecessor in the process, because Madison does rock, in the truest sense of the word.