LIST: Watch Madison musicians through online livestreaming
See here all the music festivals cancelled, rescheduled or moving online
Madison’s many live entertainment venues cancelled events and shuttered a week before Gov. Evers ordered all nonessential businesses to close to help stem the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus. Evers’ safer-at-home” order took effect on March 25. Although an extension of that order was overturned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, most venues have remained closed for the summer.
Casualties of the pandemic include several summer music festivals in Madison:
- The World’s Largest Brat Fest — initially moved from Memorial Day weekend to late August — has been called off completely.
- Also cancelled this year are The Waterfront Festival, Fete de Marquette, Art Fair on the Square and the Sugar Maple Music Festival.
Music fests still scheduled to take place:
- Orton Park Festival, Aug. 27-30.
- Taste of Madison, a popular celebration of area food and music held on the Capitol Square, is tentatively still on for Sept. 5-6.
Up in the air:
- As of May 20, the websites for AtwoodFest and the Willy Street Fair were not updated with information to indicate whether those events will happen this summer.
- The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square was pushed back to start on July 28. WCO plans six Tuesday night performances ending Sept. 1.
- Summerfest, held in Milwaukee, was rescheduled to take place on three weekends in September.
- Starting this Friday, May 22, Live on King Street becomes Live on King Stream. Tune in via the summer series’ Facebook page to watch 8 p.m. Friday performances by Delta Spirit (May 22); Steez (May 29); Reverend Horton Heat (June 5); Eric Hutchinson (June 12); Keller Williams (June 19); Tapes ‘n Tapes (June 26); and PHOX (July 3).
- Opera in the Park will take place online July 25.
Live performance to return, but it will be awhile yet:
- It isn’t until August or later when concerts and other live performances will return to the Overture Center for the Arts, The Sylvee, Majestic Theatre, High Noon Saloon and other venues, according to their websites.
Livestreaming music continues:
Meanwhile, local musicians and bands continue to livestream — to provide some welcome relief to the many people who are still homebound and provide a source of income for the performers.
Virtual concerts by local musicians continue to be scheduled, often on short notice. Here are the latest. (This list will continue to be updated as we become aware of shows taking place online):
DAILY AND WEEKLY LIVESTREAMS
Some local musicians are livestreaming shows every week — daily, in some cases.
Every night at 7 p.m., Verge Manyen is livestreaming on Facebook his funky, solo drumming sessions in his backyard. “Let’s all make some noise and communicate with each other across the backyards, streets, alleyways and rooftops,” the Library Mall regular and member of Motherhive and MoodTrain wrote in a call out to all Madisonians. “Drum, play an instrument, beat on pots and pans, sing, chant, howl, or just follow your flow in any way you enjoy.”
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Robert J. Conaway plays 6-7 p.m. every Wednesday on his Facebook page. Watch his first performance here.
Bos Meadery, the currently closed live music venue on East Washington Avenue, hosted its first virtual open mic at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 17. Taking place every Sunday, the event is open to musicians, poets and comedians. For more info and to sign up, go here.
Paul Filipowicz of The Paul Filipowicz Blues Band played the music of the legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker during a May 8 livestream. Inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2015, Filipowicz says he will continue to livestream at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays “until we can start playing live again.”
As a fundraiser for Crucible Madison, a currently closed east side dance club, a DJ Acideon livestreamed a set on the night of May 7. Acideon spins hard dance, dark psy, goth, and industrial records the fourth Thursday night of the month at Crucible. But until the club can reopen, this show will take place every Thursday night. Check it out here.
Sunspot — the enduring power-pop trio known for its original songs about weird creatures and paranormal phenomena —livestreams at 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The band gets together over Skype and broadcasts their conversations on Facebook Live, during which the members interact with viewers. They also play videos of themselves playing — recorded and shot separately in the three members’ homes. “We prepare three to four of those videos per week,” says vocalist and bass player Mike Huberty. Here are examples of a Sunspot livestreamed discussion (from April 23), and one of the band’s videos.
Huberty and Sunspot drummer Wendy Lynn Staats also lead a paranormal discussion live on YouTube at 2 p.m. on Sundays that are then edited into episodes of “See You On The Other Side,” their weekly podcast about the paranormal. Every podcast episode ends with a Sunspot song related to the subject matter. The track “Patty,” about a female sasquatch, is a recent standout.
Send a Facebook friend request to family entertainer Ken Lonnquist to see his “Kenland Cafe Live!” shows at 10 a.m. each weekday. Find more details here.
Reach out similarly to Bradley Fish, who has multiple cameras trained on him as he plays and gives music lessons regularly in his instrument-laden psychedelic studio. Check out his show at 8 p.m. on Sundays here.
Erik Kjelland, frontman for The Mascot Theory, has staked out Wednesday nights for livestreaming shows. Check out the April 15 show in which Kjelland’s teenage daughter Amelia joins him to sing a folkified version of “Mean” by Taylor Swift. Scroll down for links to earlier Kjelland shows.
Despite being called livestreams, many of these concerts are recorded and available to watch at a later point. Below are shows and other music projects by Madison musicians you can enjoy at your leisure.
Frank Martin Busch, a founding member of WheelHouse, played mostly original music on May 7. He played a show on Mother’s Day as well. In late March he pulled up a seat next to a outdoor fire pit and sang and strummed his way through 90-minutes worth of his country-blues songs.
Kerosene Kites — the duo of Beth Kille and Erik Kjelland — chatted and played music with a few others on May 6. Also check out Kille and Kjelland providing guest vocals on “Black Water,” a new song by hip-hop band Wolves & Sheep.
Folk singer-songwriter Josh Harty and guitarist David Hecht teamed up for a May 1 show hosted on the Cafe CODA Facebook page. The one-hour show can be watched here.
Johannes Wallmann — a composer, recording artist and director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison — put in a solo jazz piano performance on May 1 that you can watch here.
Jazz-rock outfit Mr. Chair on April 30 premiered a video of the band playing “Ground Underground,” a piece commissioned by ongoing collaborator Prof. Stephen Meyers, University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Vilas Distinguished Professor of Geoscience.
Half of the Americana four-piece WheelHouse played a 90-minute show on April 28 you can still see here.
Frank Laufenberg, frontman for Mount Horeb-based bands Old Oaks and WURK, played cover songs by recently departed greats John Prine and Bill Withers during his solo acoustic set on April 26. Check it out here.
Derek Ramnarace of the Baraboo-based band Old Soul Society, has livestreamed solo acoustic shows on Tuesday nights. You can watch his April 21 and 28 here and here.
The host of Sean Michael Dargan’s Rock and Roll Supper Club livestreamed on April 17, and the solo show can be watched here. Dargan wrote a song for the times, titled “The Bright Side of the Virus,” which you can hear here. He also talked about the song and performed it for a segment on News 3 Now.
Tyler Fassnacht’s solo acoustic project, TS Foss, is a departure from the punk rock played by his bands The Hussy, Fire Heads and Proud Parents. But with a new full-length, self-titled cassette released in March and a livestreamed show on April 8, Fassnacht is spreading his wings. Watch his performance here.
Six-string bass player Josh Cohen livestreamed his April 8 Make Music Madison show, which can be seen here.
Kelsey Miles puts her powerful pipes, harmonica and acoustic guitar to use playing bluesy versions of several cover songs on April 8 here. Miles played an April 15 noon show for Make Music Madison which you can watch here. You can also tune in to her YouTube channel for “Coffee with Kelsey” live at 9 a.m. every Thursday. Here’s one of those.
Madison singer-songwriter and multi-instumentalist Bryan Drewyor, aka One Human Band, played an hour-long set on accordian and guitar in his backyard on April 6 as part of the Socially Distant Fest. He moved indoors for his April 13 performance.
Ethereal pop singer-songwriter and Portage native Madison Malone livestreamed from her L.A-area home on April 2, as part of the Uncancelled Music Festival. It was a pay-what-you-can concert. Malone is also releasing videos weekly and livestreaming a lullaby nightly on her Facebook page and Instagram account.
Gender Confetti, a self-identified queer punk band, livestreamed on April 3. Comprised of Elyse Clouthier and Sylvia Johnson, the duo’s “message is radical and explicitly political.” The show can be seen here but suffers from poor video and sound quality (which is pretty punk rock, actually).
Erik Kjelland so enjoyed his first solo acoustic livestream on March 25 that he put on another on April 1. Watch his first livestreamed show here and his second here. Kjelland released his solo EP “Andromeda” on April 29 and assembled a socially distanced band to debut it via livestream. You can get a taste of it here where Kjelland is joined Nick Fry, Shawndell Marks and masked musicians Congo Cat and Electric Donkey.
Yuri Myshkin, frontman for the fake Russian rock band Optometri (which disbanded in 2014), performed a live solo show on March 30. He played a new power ballad titled “From a Social Distance” — a song, Myshkin says, is “destined to become the official unofficial anthem of the current pandemic, and probably all other future pandemics, if we’re being honest here.” Watch his solo show here.
Sharona Danz, former lead singer of the popular Madison cover band Charm School Rejects, on March 29 sang 45 minutes worth of pop songs while accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Watch here.
Two of the four members of Mount Horeb cover band The Remedy, Taylor Schereck and Eric Osterholz (both of whom also play with local ’90s-centric cover band Foo Foo Dolls), put on a two-hour acoustic show on the afternoon of March 29. The duo’s extended set can be watched here.
Madison jazz and soul singer Lo Marie livestreamed March 28 and April 17, during which she played several new songs. Watch her solo shows archived on YouTube here and here. More recently, Marie teamed up with fiddler Kenny Leiser for an hour-long live show in front of the Garver Feed Mill. Watch it here.
Thirty-year veterans of the Madison music scene and standard bearers for gypsy jazz, Harmonious Wail livestreamed its March 27 “Quarantini Concert” from the eastside home of members Sims and Maggie Delaney-Potthoff. Watch the concert here.
Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets, a trio consisting of Jen Farley, Shawndell Marks and Beth Kille, livestreamed on March 20. The show is posted here.
Hip-hop outfit Wolves & Sheep played a solid 24-minute live show on March 20 as well, opening virtually for the GC&BR show above. Watch the W&S set here.
VO5, Madison’s “disco ambassadors,” had to cancel a March 14 concert at Bowl-A-Vard Lanes due to the coronavirus. But that same night several members of the large party band livestreamed a house concert. Watch clips on the band’s Facebook page.
OTHER MADISON MUSIC PROJECTS
On May 13, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the infusion of $100,000 in the Dane Arts Need Grant Program, or DANG!, to go to local artists who have lost income during the pandemic. Eligible for individual grants up to $500 are musicians, dancers, actors, poets and writers. More information and the program application can be found on the website of the Dane County Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, or Dane Arts, which is overseeing the program.
Mama Digdown’s Brass Band was in New Orleans the first weekend in March kicking off the second-annual New Orleans Original Brass Fest, which raises money for the nonprofit Save Our Brass Culture Foundation. Mama Digdown returned to a locked down Madison — their hometown for the past 27 years — unable to put on live shows.
“We miss playing, and we also wanted to help our friends in New Orleans,” Roc Ohly, co-leader and and co-founder of the band wrote in an email.
So in April the band recorded — with all nine members playing their parts while quarantined in their individual homes — “Just the Two of Us,” a song by the recently deceased Bill Withers. Released May 5, the cover is available for purchase on Mama Digdown’s Bandcamp page. Ohny says all the money raised from the song will go to the New Orleans Brass Band Musicians’ Relief Fund.
Dequadray, a hip-hop artist in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s First Wave Program, has been prolific lately — releasing uplifting new music and music videos on Facebook and Instagram. In an effort to inspire other artist to create in this time of quarantine, Dequadray kicked off National Poetry Month [April] with a challenge: “I will be posting prompts every week for people to freestyle, experiment and make some dope art to! THEIR ARE NO LIMITS! You can use any medium (music, drawing, video, dance, etc.) and you don’t even have to stick firmly to the prompt. This is to keep you on your toes and expand the beautiful, colorful universe you already have inside you.” See the prompts, results and dig into Dequadray’s output here.
On YouTube, Madison’s Rob Franklin, aka Rob Dz, posted “Social Distance,” a hip-hop song with the repeated refrain “I just want to go outside.” He continues, “How long is this going to last? Got me going online checking face masks.” Watch it here.
To make up for lost gigs, young guitar phenom Raine Stern is taking cover song requests in exchange for donations via Venmo. Stern introduces the concept at the end of the video of her first cover, a truncated version of “Santeria” by Sublime. The second cover is a much more ambitious multi-instrumental cover of “Stigmata Diaboli,” a song by Finnish goth metal band HIM. Stern impressively nails the vocals despite having first heard the song only a few days earlier. Then on April 6, she released a gorgeous version of “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
Madison power metal band Lords of the Trident went, well, viral with a parody video about the effects of the coronavirus. Ty Christian, aka Fang VonWrathenstein, made the best of being home alone and unable to meet up with his fellow band members. Going stir crazy in his basement, Christian barely had to change the words of the song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness to create the parody “I Believe I’m in Quarantine.”
The video racked up over 19,500 views within three days of being posted, and it was ranked No. 3 on a list of “a bunch of coronavirus-themed song parodies” published by The Onion.
Christian also took karaoke requests for a few hours on the night of May 2. Viewers paid to have Christian sing songs from a pre-determined list and more than half of the proceeds went to a COVID-19 relief fund. Despite technical difficulties that caused the live feed on YouTube to crash, interrupting the event, Christian said more than $1,000 was raised for charity.
Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.