Here it is, ladies and gentlemen: our first list of must-see concerts for the 2014-2015 academic year. Madison’s concert lineup for this fall is absolutely amazing and more stacked than we’ve ever seen it before. Read through our list and check out a couple shows next time you’re sitting on your couch on a Friday night, wondering what to do with your life. Cheers, and happy listening!
Vocalist Amelia Meath weaves her incredible vocal range around Nick Sanborn’s heavy and deliberate bass drops to make tracks that are both liberating and empowering. They’re an electropop sound that will be great to get down to.
Like chopping wood or eating meat and potatoes, listening to Trampled by Turtles’ music is an activity that can instantly transport a person to the Northwoods. Music that tastes like whiskey.
An electropop duo with a loyal Madison following, Cherub is the perfect concert choice for people who like their songs to be about doses, mimosas, champagne and cocaine.
If you’ve seen “Reno: 911!” or an Adam Sandler movie recently (we’re sorry for you), you’ve probably laughed at Nick Swardson. Laugh with the Minnesota native in person this September.
Spoon is one of the most consistently critically-acclaimed bands working today. The band’s latest album, They Want My Soul, was released to rave reviews. You’re assured a good show with these guys.
A six-piece band out of Seattle, Washington, with a feel-good indie folk sound that feels very complete and powerful. They are a great band to sing, feel emotions and sway along to.
Hot off the release of one of the most acclaimed albums of the year, The War on Drugs have dominated the 2014 indie landscape with their infectious brand of shoegazey Americana.
A Chicago-based band that somehow sounds like an 80s pop-punk band, a power jam band and David Bowie rolled into one. Their experimental yet simple sound is great to mosh and headbang to.
Ab-Soul is in good company as a member of Black Hippy, a West Coast hip-hop group that includes Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. He’s an ambitious artist: His latest LP has a 23-minute closing track.
Panda Bear might be better known as the most melodic member of Animal Collective. His lush, psychedelic fingerprints can been seen all over their most acclaimed album, Merriweather Post Pavilion.
This show may be sold out, but those of you lucky enough to have snagged tickets to Tim & Eric can expect a hellish, hilarious experience. Comedy of the darkest, strangest degree.
If you’re in love with someone and you like music that exacerbates your love for that person, please take them on a date to Mutual Benefit. You’ll never feel closer to a lover.
Joey Bada$$’ last Madison show at the Rathskeller had to be shut down because the crowd was too rowdy and the stage was too small. Expect the same energy, but with less altercations.
A great family show, for country, bluegrass or folk fans that love to hear the classics. The band is best known for playing others’ classics, like “Wagon Wheel,” originally written by Bob Dylan.
Probably one of the weirdest live bands you’ll ever see. For their last show in Madison, a free Halloween concert at the Majestic, singer Kevin Barnes and his band wore giant condoms on their heads.
Don’t be disappointed Dinosaur Jr. fans: Although J. Mascis is now touring solo as a guitarist and singer, he has still maintained his distinct and recognizable vocals, inventive guitar riffs and catchy hooks.
While their most recent release was critically-panned, Pixies have finally reunited and are touring live. That’s enough reason to catch them now while you can. Someday you’ll tell your children about this show.
The producer-vocalist duo frequently brings their musical tunes to college campuses, and this is not their first time in Madison. Their crossover electronic/pop sound will pack the Orpheum with dance-happy students.
He belongs to the club of slow-paced indie, folk artists along with Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens. Hailing from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he attended University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and was a drummer and supporting vocalist for Bon Iver.
If you’ve ever laughed at a Vine, there’s a pretty good chance it was one of Chris D’elia’s. His mean-spirited humor targets everyone. But sometimes the meanest people are the funniest.
The three producers meld various electronics together to make a truly exhilarating sound. They have a distinct experimental sound that doesn’t weigh too heavy on the bass but can still make something great to move your body to.
A three-piece French band that has put a light synth twist on traditional electronic- pop. Their songs are fun and eccentric. The lyrics may be in a different language, but the beats are universally spunky and fast-paced.
John Hodgman, one of two “Daily Show” correspondents who will be passing through Madison this semester, is a funny guy. And you’ve heard of him: he’s the PC in the Mac vs. PC ads.
If you’ve ever felt angsty and sad and have just wanted to feel emotions to the sounds of shoegazey bands with female vocalists, Dum Dum Girls are here for you.
One of the most critically-acclaimed metal acts of the 21st century, Mastodon is sonically malleable band that never recycles old tricks. If you’re a metal fan, this is the must-see show of the year.
Probably the best middle school throwback you’ll find in this calendar: Tokyo Police Club has performed some of the world’s biggest festivals; now they’re bringing their catchy, groove-worthy indie rock to you.
Somewhere between Phish and Pink Floyd, Umphrey’s McGee are known for their extensive jam sessions during performances, but they identify more with progressive rock bands. They have a large cult following, their own hand signs, stickers and a trademarked expression of endearment: Umph love!
ICYMI, Minneapolis is a haven for independent hip-hop. None of these Midwest artists reaches out into the community more than Brother Ali, whose booming voice spits conscious lyrics over infectious beats.
Perhaps the smartest comedian alive, John Oliver is best known for his work as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” Because of the Brit’s success, he now has own HBO show.
Let’s just put this bluntly: If you’ve never been to a Dillon Francis show, you’ve never experienced the full potential of turning the fuck up. Very YOLO. Such EDM.