Enjoy a compilation of selected tracks by artists playing shows we’re excited about in Madison this week. For more information on these shows, read on under the playlist or check out all this week’s Isthmus Picks.
Latin Music Fest, Wednesday, Nov. 27, Majestic Theatre, 8 pm: It’s nearly impossible to sit still during a set by Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Band. The award-winning percussionist and band leader is a Madison institution, and his talented band features some of the region’s finest Latin jazz players, including Louka Patenaude and Dave Stoler. This kickoff of themed fests at the Majestic also includes local standouts Orquesta SalSoul del Mad, Rebulú and DJ Rumba. You will certainly be moved.
Hamilton, Wednesday, Nov. 27, Overture Hall, 1:30 & 7:30 pm: One of the most anticipated tours in Broadway history, Hamilton has finally arrived at Overture Center. The young, scrappy and hungry immigrant who played a pivotal role in shaping our country’s government and financial systems, Alexander Hamilton (Joseph Morales), will take the stage along with 34 other singers and dancers in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s extraordinary Pulitzer-, Tony- and Grammy-winning musical. Wholly original, wildly entertaining and presented at the breakneck speed of 144 genius words per minute, every performance is a triumph. ALSO : Friday (8 pm), Saturday (2 & 8 pm), Sunday (1 & 7 pm), Tuesday-Wednesday (7:30 pm), Nov. 29-Dec. 4. Through Dec. 8. See review.
Natty Nation, Friday, Nov. 29, High Noon Saloon, 7:30 pm: Madison reggae ambassadors Natty Nation provide a musical oasis each Thanksgiving weekend for those who are ready to dance off some turkey, or just recover with a beverage from frenzied Black Friday shopping adventures. Along with an extended NN set, this year’s show includes Afro-Latin folk by Acoplados (plus a dance lesson at 8:15 pm), traditional Ghanaian music by Atimevu, and DJ Trichrome.
A Celebration of Tom Petty, Friday, Nov. 29, Majestic Theatre, 8 pm: Since the sudden passing of the rock icon in 2017, this annual benefit concert for the Madison Area Music Association has already become a post-Thanksgiving tradition. The Petty songbook is thrown wide open once again by hosts Driveway Thriftdwellers, who curated a packed lineup featuring veteran Midwestern singer-songwriter Dan Tedesco, Madison Americana stalwarts WheelHouse, and a collaborative set by The Civil Engineers and Old Oaks.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Saturday, Nov. 30, Orpheum Theater, 5 pm: For those who watch the classic animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas every holiday season, there’s a new way to enjoy this heartwarming tale of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and the whole Peanuts gang as they discover the true meaning of Christmas. A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage is the theatrical adaptation of the beloved cartoon, complete with the original jazz musical score of Vince Guaraldi. Snoopy still outshines his companion by winning a decorating contest. Charlie Brown is still mocked when he buys a droopy pine twig for a Christmas tree. But when the snow begins to fall and the Peanuts kids try to catch the flakes on their tongues, it’s magical.
Reina del Cid, Sunday, Dec. 1, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: On their new album, Morse Code, the Minnesota band helmed by singer/songwriter Rachelle Cordova flaunts serene, meticulously crafted folk-pop. The lead single, “Bernadette,” joins eloquent guitar pluckings, surprising production choices and Cordova’s vocals, mixed to sound like they’re telecast from afar. It’s a song that’s simple on the surface but emotionally tumultuous beneath.
WORT Birthday Bash, Sunday, Dec. 1, Crucible, 5-10 pm: Madison’s longest running community radio station turns 44 and is celebrating with “A Circus Carnival Steampunk Affair.” Silk aerialists will perform and Prof Pinkerton’s Irrelevant Orchestra — which hails from Milwaukee — will headline, after Combo Noir gets festivities in full swing. Benvenuto’s Italian Grill in Fitchburg will be serving appetizers, and it wouldn’t be a birthday party without cake. Tickets are $15 and it all supports the mighty WORT-FM.
Krish Mohan, Wednesday, Dec. 4, Communication, 8 pm: There are nice ways to be mean, and comedian Krish Mohan has somehow captured that essence in a bottle with his “Politely Angry” tour. Mohan has a way of using his stand-up to help address serious social issues from a self-proclaimed outsider’s perspective. He’s won many an audience choice award, so why don’t you award him your time?
Beach Bunny, Thursday, Dec. 5, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: Chicago’s Beach Bunny is the singer-songwriter project and stage name of Lili Trifilio, who began self-releasing lo-fi bedroom pop EPs back in 2015. A few years later, she put together a full band, hooked up with indie label Mom + Pop and released 2018’s Prom Queen EP, full of catchy guitar hooks and songs about insecurity and heartbreak. On Valentine’s Day 2020 we’ll finally get a full-length album, Honeymoon. In the meantime, we have the album’s foot-tapping, feel-good “Dreamboy” single and this live show to carry us through. With fellow Chicagoans Lettering.
Samantha Fish, Thursday, Dec. 5, Majestic Theatre, 8 pm: Growing up in Kansas City influenced by blues artists, this singer-songwriter weaves together contemporary and vintage styles to create something undeniably fresh. On “You Got It Bad,” Fish leans heavily into her blues training, letting her guitar and vocal twang take center stage, but elsewhere, as on “Fair-weather,” her bluesiness is folded into a pop nucleus. With Nicholas David.
Staci Griesbach with the John Harmon Trio, Thursday, Dec. 5, North Street Cabaret, 8 pm: Vocalist Griesbach, a former member of the Wisconsin Singers, transmogrifies classic Nashville country-pop into jazz on her new album, My Patsy Cline Songbook. The recording features a long list of participants from both the jazz and country worlds; for a few Wisconsin shows, including this one, Griesbach will be joined by a trio led by a legend from closer to home: John Harmon, a talented pianist, composer and founder of Lawrence University’s groundbreaking jazz studies program.
Louis the Child, Thursday, Dec. 5, The Sylvee, 8 pm: Performances from Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett — the duo Louis the Child — feature them side by side behind a DJ booth, pumping their hands to a mix of originals and pop remixes. Also on the bill: John the Blind, solo project of singer John Ryan (a frequent co-writer and co-producer for One Direction and a slew of artists in the same genre), who produces sugary, peppy pop. But who is not to be missed is the South L.A. rapper Duckwrth. Sometimes his rap is funk-infused, but on his latest album, 2019’s The Falling Man, he takes a turn toward somber industrial trap.
Find the full rundown of this week’s Isthmus Picks here.