Winter Time Blooz Outta the Bleak

It’s cold and dark in Madison, but Wisconsinites refuse to let SAD get to them, so there’s still some live music happening around town, though not so many touring folks… Played a fun New Year’s Day improv set with Kathleen Baird of Spires That In the Sunset Rise, Joel Shanahan of Golden Donna and harpist Jeff Stanek. While a challenging one to control at the time (balancing synthesizers and amplified acoustic instruments in a living room on the fly ain’t easy) the end result was very cosmic and a perfect way to start off the year. Hope it can get released one of these days… Also on the bill was local jazzbos Brendan Connors & Stray Passage and former local bassist Ben Willis, who I’ve always enjoyed seeing in his combos the WeatherDuo and The Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps, but his solo upright bass work was a true testament of his chops- simple yet physically intense and utterly riveting minimalist exercises that hit you like a perfect 2 minute punk song. He’s currently located in Ann Arbor, so if you’re in that neck of the woods keep an eye out for him if you’re into talented progressive jazz folks.

Also got to see what will probably be one of my top shows of the year this month: Carter Tucci Play Chris & Cosey. I probably could have given them a pass even if it wasn’t good, but they did a long set of reworked classic 80s material that was nowhere close to a nostalgia show. Pretty sure every gal in the place started screaming when they did “October Love Song”, and with good reason; C&C are still the cutest couple in industrial music. John Elliot’s new project Outer Space opened, and was way more minimal dance than I expected, but they also took advantage of the Metro’s giant-ass PA to make the audience’s internal organs wiggle. Some deep competition for that top shows of 2014 coming up though; Charlemagne Palestine is playing a free gig in Chicago on March 14th… not an event to miss!

In other upcoming gig action news, I’m helping to host the very impressive Rene Hell at Good Style Shop February 1st alongside locals Circulation of Light, Noxroy and Victor Portsmouth. Should be a killer night of wide-ranging experimental solo acts, and if you’re a local I’d advise you to not miss this one. Some more good live things in the works too, but we can’t go spoil the surprise, now can we?



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