A weekly update about upcoming concerts around Madison and notes on the local scene.
Music/art space The Project Lodge was relatively quiet over the summer after founders Kendra Larson and Christopher Buckingham moved back to Portland, Oregon. But a group of new owner-coordinators -- Andrew Berry, Brooke Jackson, Hayley Thornton-Kennedy and Forward Music Festival organizer Bessie Cherry -- have worked through the transition process, and the venue's calendar is beginning to fill up. This week's 7:30 p.m. shows include improv jazz by locals Patrick Breiner and Luke Polipnick, with Chicagoans Caroline Davis and Dave Miller, on Thursday, Nov. 5; rootsy singer-songwriter Jonah Smith on Friday, Nov. 6 and the spacy soundscapes of touring act Cursillistas with local experimental popster Julian Lynch on Sunday, Oct. 8.
The Project Lodge has hosted a wide range of musical styles during the past couple years, and that won't change under new management. "In keeping with the former owners and their mission, our emphasis will be more on experimental and boundary-pushing styles, but that doesn't mean that traditional genres are out of the question," Cherry says. "We are encouraging music that fits the aesthetics and the acoustics of the space, and bands that are willing to do something a little different than the usual club show. (i.e. we try to present an interactive art project along with most music performances)."
Musicians and visual artists interested in a putting on show at the space can email the venue (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
On the horizon
Oldies and classic rock cover band The Relics will be playing at Paul's Neighborhood Bar in Middleton on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. The band was formed in the mid-1990s, but the members' history in the local music scene goes back to '60s Madison bands such as the Fugitives, Spectre Inc., the Rouges and others. According to the band members' biographies, the seed for the Relics was planted when three of the members (Pepper Ripp, Bix Olstadt and Mark Loder) played together in the Pepper & Bill Band in the '70s and '80s.
"We play some of the same songs we played in our respective high school bands (Spectre Inc., the Fugitives, Changing Tides Review and the Breakers) in the mid-'60s," says guitarist Loder. "We've come a long way! I guess they're timeless."
Loder says The Relics play at Paul's every other month or so, on the bar's monthly first-Saturday band night. "Paul is the same guy who used to own the Speedway Bar, a classic road house where we played routinely before it was torn down to build a bank (near the west side Target). We see some of the same clientele that hung out at the Speedway at Paul's."
Jazz violinist Randal Harrison will be visiting area coffee shops for some early morning music during November, with his Bach in a Backpack series. Harrison will visit Mother Fool's Coffeehouse on Mondays at 8:30 a.m.; Cafe Zoma on Wednesdays at noon; Mermaid Cafe on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.; and Ground Zero on Fridays at 9 a.m.
The concert series is a revival of an idea Harrison first put into action about a decade ago. "About a year or so after my daughter Mika was born, it was my turn to stay at home while Sandra, my wife, went to work. She needed to be at work by 9:30 in the morning and would be gone most of the day, making it difficult for me to get in any violin time," Harrison says. "The only time I had to play was between 7 and 9 a.m. Back then we were living in an apartment building and I didn't think my neighbors would appreciate my need to make noise at that time of day. I figured that ... I might as well make it a gig."
The logical place for an early morning show was coffee shops, Harrison says. "I use the term "shows" loosely. I really just sit by the window and play some music. It's a pretty wide mix of styles, though: classical (including Bach of course), jazz, Celtic, original compositions of various genre. None of it too heavy, though -- I keep in mind that many are there to enjoy their first cup of coffee (including me)."
It's hard to believe that time of year has come around already, but the Madison Area Music Awards is now actively seeking artist registration for the 2010 fete, which will mark the past year's achievements in more than 50 categories. The awards ceremony will grace a new venue, Overture Center's Capitol Theater, on Saturday, May 8. Co-founder Rick Tvedt says there's another significant change that is sure to make area musicians happy: submissions in selected categories will be free.
"Broadjam will be sponsoring the album awards, and Good 'n Loud will be sponsoring the instrumental and youth awards. This means one free entry for your album, instrumentalist or youth category submission," Tvedt says. "Album of the year includes some 20 genres or so. So you can enter an album into rock, for instance, for free. If you want to enter the album into another category, say pop, then the registration fee will kick in."
Registration continues through January 15, and the first round of voting will begin February 1. Need some extra incentive to get involved? "Smart [Studios] is still sponsoring the Artist of the Year Award with a day of recording that's worth close to a grand," Tvedt says.