A weekly update about upcoming concerts and notes on the local scene.
Help 'em out
Isthmus Entertainment, a DJ service owned by German Art Students bassist Andy Larson, will be hosting a benefit for Gilda's Club on Saturday, Nov. 28. The show will take place from 7 p.m. until midnight at the Barrymore Theatre, and will feature the "groove rock fusion" of The Shrunken Heads (a different band than the middle school group who also performs in Madison) at 9:30 p.m. and No Kill I at 10:30 p.m., along with music by DJs.
The show will mark the debut performance of No Kill I, a band formed by veteran players performing on different instruments than they normally do. Larson says No Kill I is working up a set of mostly '80s covers, plus a few surprises.
"We're gonna just rock the lights out," says Larson. "I've been rehearsing with these guys for the last couple months, and it's really coming together."
Admission is by donation, with a suggested range of $10 to $25; all proceeds will go to Madison's Gilda's Club, an organization offering free support services for families with a member fighting cancer.
On the horizon
If you're staying in town for Thanksgiving and live near the Williamson/Eastwood corridor, a pair of veteran Madison bands will bookend Turkey Day with walking-distance bar shows for your listening enjoyment. Crystal Corner regulars Earl Foss and the Brown Derby have been on a break from their weekly Wednesday gig, but they plan to return to regular honky tonk duty as of Jan. 6, says rhythm guitarist and singer John Kunert. Until then, they do have a couple Wednesdays on the schedule, including 9:30 p.m. shows on Nov. 25 (Thanksgiving Eve) and Dec. 9.
Brown Derby also currently includes Nick Brown on bass and Andrew Harrison on lead guitar, with Kyle Urban more often than not behind the drum kit during the past year; Kunert says Josh Barnhart will take over the drum chair by January.
The origin of their oft-shortened (or outright scrambled) name comes from a pair of diverse sources, which Kunert related via email:
"Earl Foss came off the back of a semi on a drive back to Minnesota, and I later found out that it is the name of a tugboat based out of Maine so I decided to go with it. The Brown Derby was a ... strip club in Austin, Minn. My best friend (and former band mate) and I had to go out one Christmas to get a beer and the night of bar hopping and running into people we went to high school with left us with a few stories to tell. The Brown Derby was scuzzy, but the actual bar had a really cool art deco design that kind of fit and didn't fit with the place. The cabinets were all old dark wood with the huge silver hinges that those old bars had back then. That place didn't start out as a stripper bar -- maybe it was one of the classier places in Austin back in the day -- but times changed and the strippers came in. The whole place made an impression on me, so I named the band after it. I guess it's funny now that the city tore it down in order to build a new county jail. Things go from bad to worse! Classy bar, to strip club, to county jail. What's next?"
Up the street, toward the intersection of Eastwood and Atwood, Mr. Robert's will once again host "Donksgiving", eccentric rockers El Donk's annual post-Thanksgiving affair on Friday, Nov. 27. Showtime is 10 p.m., and they'll alternate sets with The Pinch.
"We felt a bit stuck with the date the first year -- kinda' like getting stuck with playing September 11 -- but we made it a lot of fun," says bassist Chris Ash, aka "The Baron." "Now we look forward to it."
El Donk proves that it's possible to lay down some serious music while still maintaining a sense of humor. The band has created various entertaining show concepts over the years to mark both holidays and random dates. Fans with a working knowledge of Donkstory will recognize some past traditions on Friday, says Ash. "We can promise a return of the cakewalk, which goes back at least to the old days at Ken's. This year we're having a Donksgiving Stimulus Potluck. If anybody brings something to eat, that will definitely be a surprise."
Looking ahead, Ash says El Donk plans to release a pair of live CDs in December compiled from tribute sets of Pink Floyd and Doors material, with another disc of El Donk originals due in 2010.
Madison Area Music Awards partner Broadjam will once again host the annual registration kickoff party at the Broadjam offices, located at 6401 Odana Road, from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Staff will be on hand to assist musicians with the registration process. There'll be refreshments and possibly an informal jam session as well. Registration for the 2010 MAMAs continues through Jan. 15.
Another one of the biggest boosters of local music is community radio institution WORT-FM; over the weekend the station officially announced its revised Friday overnight lineup, which has been in flux since the sudden death in April of longtime jazz host Lawrence "Uncle Larry" Hancock. Taking the place of Crazeology will be a trio of shows, two of which will have a strong local music component.
A few months back, WORT began broadcasting the weekly Mad Toast Live podcast, featuring music and conversation with many local and regional musicians. The live show is hosted by Chris Wagoner and Mary Gaines on Tuesday nights at the Brink Lounge, and will continue as part of the regular WORT lineup Fridays at midnight. At 2 a.m., The Manic Exec presents Milky Twilight, a genre-crossing mix of soft psych sounds and free association. And at 4 a.m., The After Party will feature hip-hop, R&B and house, with host Julian Holt particularly focusing on Madison and regional artists.
The station's 34th birthday party is also coming up, Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the High Noon Saloon. Sets by the Bob Westfall Band and Madisalsa will get underway at 5 p.m.