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Friday, July 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 67.0° F  Overcast


Madison Music Scene and Heard: Mercury Players benefit, Malt House tunes, solstice jazz

The Shabelles join the Apologists and Foxy Veronica's Peach pies at the Mercury Players Theatre benefit.
The Shabelles join the Apologists and Foxy Veronica's Peach pies at the Mercury Players Theatre benefit.
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Help 'em out

The holidays are a time for giving, and special concerts. A trio of local ensembles will combine the two when they unite to raise money for Mercury Players Theatre with a 9 p.m. show Thursday, Dec. 17, at the High Noon Saloon. The lineup includes benefit warriors The Apologists (who also played the John Sarris benefit a couple weeks back), the "caburlesque" of Foxy Veronica's Peach Pies and pop-rockers the Shabelles.

"Anything The Shabelles can do to support the local theater scene, we're up for doing," emails bandleader Adam Schabow. "In particular, the Mercury Players Theatre is a great organization that gives local writers, actors, directors, musicians and others an outlet to express their creativity. How can you not support that? We're also happy to be playing the benefit with the always great Apologists and the always sexy Foxy Veronica's Peach Pies. Ggrrrrrarrr!"

Fans of Schabow's songwriting and Christmas songs may also be interested to know that his solo holiday project released a couple years back, There Isn't a War on Christmas, is now available as a free download over at Dane101, where Schabow is a frequent contributor.

Club watch

Though there are still no TVs at the Malt House Tavern -- a cause for celebration in itself -- a bit more live acoustic music has gradually been joining the always intriguing selection of beers at the former Union House. It's been about a year since The Oak Street Ramblers began appearing on a monthly basis, and they'll be back on their usual third Monday (the 21st in December) with a special holiday show. Anyone bringing a canned food donation will be entered in a raffle featuring prizes from the Malt House and the band, who will also be making cookies for the audience. Who can resist cookies from a bluegrass band?

"The musicians playing at The Malt House all live in the neighborhood and are regular customers anyway, so it's nice to hear your neighbors play and have such fun doing it," says Malt House owner Bill Rogers. "Most of the bands set up in the corner of the barroom. We rearrange the tables a little on those nights. The Irish-style musicians like to sit at a table in the middle of the room, as you would in a pub in Ireland. They've also brought a small amp and mic set for the vocals only. The barroom is not big, and the acoustics are lively, so there's been no real need to amp the instruments."

Also on the Malt House schedule this week are pub rockers (and former Kissers members) the Whiskey Lash All-Stars on Monday, Dec. 14, and country rockers Swamp Auger on Tuesday, Dec. 15. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and there's no cover charge.

On the horizon

Free jazz fans will have a chance to warm up at Mother Fool's Coffeehouse on one of the longest nights of the year, Friday, Dec. 18. Longtime collaborators JoAnne Pow!ers (saxophones) and Jennifer Pendur (bass) have played concerts at Mother Fool's on or near the solstice and equinox dates for the past year, and this time they will be joined by drummer Michael Brenneis, who also plays with Tomato Box and The Active Percussion Duo. Music will get under way at 8 p.m.

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