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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Alternative music autumn: Underground concerts to check out this fall

Indie, rock, alternative concert performances coming to Madison soon
Abigail Leavins

If you are looking for fresh sounds, oddball rockstars and unconventional concert venues, Madison is the place to be this fall. Getting out of the cold and into Madison’s off-the-beaten-path music scene will certainly liven up your schedule and expand your aural universe.

The High Noon Saloon, one of Madison’s most celebrated venues for hosting independent, underground artists, welcomes the authentic and heartfelt indie band Palehound on Nov. 15. To spice up what might otherwise be a mundane Wednesday night, be at High Noon Saloon at 8 p.m. for Palehound’s set. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

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Palehound’s lead guitarist and vocalist, El Kempner, will attract awe with their muscular yet seamless riffs and raw vocals. Multi-instrumentalist Larz Brogan is a heavy contributor to Palehound’s classic, celestial indie sound — and as a longtime friend of Kempner, Brogan works off Kempner mid-performance to make each show unique and entertaining. Palehound, in a phrase, is the personification of what indie music is all about. Their unapologetic individuality, introspective lyrical style and blending of musical genres creates a sound that is truly their own.


If you are into — or looking to get into — Madison’s tougher punk and metal music scene, Mickey’s Tavern is also hosting a musical rendezvous Nov. 15. Mickey’s Tavern is located on Williamson Street and admission to the event is free. The show starts at 10 p.m.

Headlining the evening is Madison’s very own Whippets. The band’s guitarist Bobby Hussy, bassist Tyler Spatz and drummer Riley Heninger are known for their unrestrained sound and grungy vibrations. The guitar will surely be electrifying and the bass drum thunderous.

Joining Whippets will be Cincinnati’s charismatic garage-punk band Beef, applauded for their maverick energy, heavy drums and subversive lyrics. In fact, the band says their inspiration comes from “punk, sex, violence and red meat,” according to Bandcamp. Clean Room will also be in attendance, ready to fill the atmosphere with their edgy garage rock energy.

For those who are more tame but enjoy under-the-radar independent artists, the violin and cello duo the Brittingham Players are playing from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 14 at Leopold’s on Regent Street. Known for their diverse collection of covers, the duo’s sweet orchestral tunes will pair nicely with Leopold’s cozy and neo-retro atmosphere. And, admission is free!

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Leopold’s will also host their Django Gypsy Jazz Jam every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in November. While not alternative or indie per se, jazz is certainly underappreciated around Madison. The weekly jam session is inspired by early 20th century jazz superstar Jean Reinhardt — commonly known as “Django.” Django, a Romani-Frenchman, inspired U.S. jazz with his unique European style and effortless celebrity. Leopold’s celebrates Django by inviting local jazz musicians to play his classics, as well as their own repertoires that capture jazz’s spontaneous, virtuous sound.

Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press is playing Nov. 17 at the Majestic Theater and will delight the crowd with an interesting mix of their personal indie folk rock sound and well-done covers they curate for every individual show. Their harmonies and outstanding light show will inspire any crowd.

Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press, hailing from Chicago, claim themselves to be “unclassifiable,” according to the Rod Tuffcurls website. They sport 1980s baseball tee-shirts while onstage, reminding audiences of times gone by, but their new-age sound works to bring the past into the present. Welcome to all ages, Rod Tuffcurls & the Bench Press at the Majestic will be a fun time for anybody who enjoys great musicians and a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

If you plan on staying on the isthmus over the University of Wisconsin’s Thanksgiving recess and enjoy classic indie-rock and alternative-pop, you will want to be at The Annex on Regent Street Nov. 25. Four bands — Dead & Buried, Savior, Common Threads and GP Lemonade — will play all your favorite tunes from A Day to Remember, Rise Against, Blink-182 and Green Day.

The Annex’s large stage, club seating and incredible strobe and laser lighting capabilities provides the ultimate concert-going experience. Be at The Annex at 6:30 p.m. to support local bands, jam to your favorite not-so-mainstream music and maybe make a few new friends who share your musical interests.

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Continuing this fall’s excellent Madison alternative music lineup is a performance by The Trouble Notes, an indie band recognized globally for the ways in which worldly genres inspire their music. To hear The Trouble Notes’ creative blend of music styles, join them Nov. 26 at the High Noon Saloon at 7:30 p.m.

The group describes itself as “somewhere between traditional folk, gritty punk rock and tribal dance,” according to The Trouble Notes’ website. Violinist Bennet Cerven hails from the U.S., guitarist Florian Eisenschmidt from Germany and drummer Julian Lardis from Australia — the group utilizes their diverse cultures to develop a truly global sound.

Discovering new music is not as easy as it should be. We often get caught listening to what’s popular, artists we already know or what our friends are listening to. The remainder of this fall is your chance to traverse new and exciting musical landscapes right here in Madison.

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