The Grouch & Eligh
Keeping up with Madison's concert calendar could be a full-time job. New shows are constantly being announced, often just after an Isthmus seasonal concert preview, the most recent being just over a month ago. Here are three best bets for the last few days of winter, plus 10 must-see acts visiting town this spring, which begins on March 20.
Feb. 23, High Noon Saloon
Atkins' new album, Slow Phaser, shows she has a way of combining the classic with the modern like few others. The powerhouse singerhas clearly embraced her sensual side. She draws listeners in with low, throaty vocals on the Americana track "Who Killed the Moonlight?" and sexes up the retro pop of "Girl You Look Amazing" in a way that's sure to drive the crowd wild.
March 6, Overture Center's Capitol Theater
This talented mini-orchestra's cocktail of pop, jazz and classical music has only grown better with age -- 20 years, to be exact. They've performed with ensembles ranging from the L.A. Philharmonic to The Tonight Show band, but nothing beats a local show topped off with "Smile," the Charlie Chaplin song that closes their album Get Happy. This concert will focus on Dream a Little Dream, an album with the Von Trapps due out March 4.
March 9, High Noon Saloon
Collectively known as G&E, these California-based hip-hoppers recently released The Tortoise and the Crow, which showcases their talents as both emcees and producers. They've also been busy collaborating with a diverse cross-section of artists, including electronic music mainstay Pretty Lights and raucous rapper Kreayshawn.
March 21, Majestic Theatre
One of Fuse TV's top picks at South by Southwest 2013, Ward is cultivating a new generation of blues lovers with her soulful take on the genre. She catapulted her debut single, "Put the Gun Down," from the AAA chart to the Billboard Top 40 chart, a feat many artists attempt but few accomplish.
March 24, Majestic Theatre
This band's minimalist songs move at a snail's pace, but that doesn't deter their fans. Instead, it's an invitation to savor each chord and lyric. In concert, they often perform covers of their favorite songs by other bands, so your wish for a Smiths or Outkast tune may be granted.
April 12, Majestic Theatre
This duo describe their sound as a mixture of "street beat" and "psych-pop," but all you really need to know is that it's addictive. Though they're touring in support of a stellar new album, Voices don't be afraid to clamor for some tunes from 2011's Eyelid Movies if you've never seen them live.
April 23, High Noon Saloon
Skating between drinking songs and feminist anthems with extraordinary ease, Loveless is a rising star with an ideal blend of toughness and vulnerability. Her new album, Somewhere Else, is bound to land on many critics' best of 2014 lists.
April 25, High Noon Saloon
The English psych-rock band's debut album, Sun Structures, hit stores earlier this month, and they’ve sharpened their live act at gigs supporting Suede and the Vaccines. They've already found some famous admirers across the pond, including Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher, but they're counting on Madison to help them build their American fan base.
May 3, High Noon Saloon
The drone-folk darling from Gowns may be one of the most blogged about artists of the past three years. See what all the fuss is about as she performs songs from The Future's Void, a new album slated for an early-April release.
May 6, Barrymore Theatre
Madison crowds are pretty shy when it comes to dancing, but this mesmerizing neo-soul group brought them out of their shells at the High Noon Saloon a few of years ago. See what sorts of moves the group inspire in a bigger venue with their first major-label record, More Than Just a Dream.
May 10, Stoughton Opera House
This talented two-piece got to perform alongside music legends like Patti Smith and Joan Baez in Another Day / Another Time, a concert film that pays tribute to the film Inside Llewyn Davis and the folk-music scene in 1960s New York City. The duo stop in Wisconsin while traveling between sold-out shows in Chicago and Minneapolis, so don't be surprised if there's a full opera house in Stoughton.
May 14, Orpheum Theater
The Dodos' latest album, Carrier, is a quieter affair than its predecessor. It also has a melancholy mood, which led Pitchfork to declare it "autumnal." That said, it's also a fine choice for a spring concert near the end of the school year, when Madison's latest crop of college begin their transition from student life to bona fide adulthood. Case unveiled one of the longest album titles of 2013 with the Grammy-nominated The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You. Her voice is as sterling as ever in this collection of indie folk and power-pop, especially when backed by the pipes of Wisconsin's own Kelly Hogan.