The University Inn at the intersection of Frances and State streets is again serving as the police command center for the Halloween event in downtown Madison.
Today's highlighted Madison musical act is Digibot.
Melding lefty politics with onstage improv, Digibot rips through punchy songs (and into the targets of their ire) to produce punk jam that garnishes any loud night out.
Like many bands, Digibot comes complete with its own mythology:
Born into a world they did not create, four mutants collectively known as Digibot desperately attempt to make sense of it all. Bastardized man-chines T-Bot, Shmandroid, Homeborg, and Bort struggle musically between their shared humanity and their inherent programming. Perhaps attributable to their conflicted nature, the Digiboys sonically alternate between random blasts of chaotic chordage and laser beams of focused fury. Come see them stick it to The Man as well as The Machine at a cyber-dive near you.
Behind every mythology, though, stands those responsible for it. In Digibot's case, it's Mike Hess (vocals), Bart Tulpo (on the drums), Tim Radl (on guitar), and Andy Russell (on bass). One point of lore to note is that the drum set displayed in the flatiron window above Myles Teddywedgers at the top of State Street belongs to a 'bot, displaying a thick dose of derision for the pols leaving the Capitol building for lunch every day.
There are three Digibot tracks featured on its MySpace page. They are: "FB," "Fortress Amerika," and "Pimpin' Digibot," all tender love letters in their own way to the current administration and its sycophants. Comments about their show include props from a Toronto zine during a 2002 tour with Oneida, an impression later ratified when a member of the Brooklyn indie band later said, "the most honest band we ever played with was Digibot." Meanwhile, one hipster wag described their act as "straight-ahead old-guy punk rock," though there's a more colorful and interesting description care of local music documentarian Kiki Schueler. She writes:
Taking their subject matter from current events and politics, they're also known for their improv. Tonight's song was a stinging assessment of the Michael Jackson trial, the verdict of which had just come down that day. "What it means to be a celebrity" with its claims that "I can touch the little boys" and then "sell the rights to movies and TV," also contained the recommendation of "more surgery to make you look human," was only slightly less offensive than the opener which was either titled "Viagra" or "Stick it to Me." Um, yeah, you get the idea
Digibot has a big Halloween weekend, performing at the Klinic on Saturday, Oct. 28 at a CD release party alongside Arlo Leach, The Beeves and other special guests. The CD is a tribute to Art Paul Schlosser, the well-known State Street kazooist, and Digibot is responsible for the sixteenth track on the album, "Just Made It Up." On Sunday, the 'bots are heading back out to play at Mr. Roberts with Merrick and Pistols and Dawn. Hopefully there will be something left between those two bars after the Halloween parties Saturday night.
This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.