On stage, Fishbone performs like an aged fighter backed into a corner and down on points. At the High Noon Saloon in Madison on Friday night, the band reinforced their reputation as uncompromising musical pioneers and thick-headed stalwarts even as bar-band doom stares them in the face.
Although the members of the Dave Rawlings Machine took the stage in Madison Friday night dressed as every rural American archetype, the reason wasn’t to get a start on Halloween trick-or-treating. This Appalachia-loving string band was just getting in character to do what musical evangelist do best: Bring the fire to the people.
After a 30-year absence, Elvis Costello returned to Madison on Thursday night for a performance that seemed designed to prove a single theory: He’s just gotten better over the years.
More than 20 years after releasing their seminal album and then breaking up, post-hardcore band Slint has temporarily reunited to highlight a box-set version of the record. But at the group’s recent show in Chicago, the combo proved they could still execute the music’s bold vision, but not with anything approaching a visionary’s passion.
After years of self-imposed exile from music-making, Jeff Mangum and his underground-rock group Neutral Milk Hotel have seen cult-like audiences grow in their absence — one that sees the group as indie-rock messiahs. Their concert in Madison on Saturday night was a second coming that proved miracles really do happen.
At a tour stop in Chicago on Friday night, a troupe of all-star performers including Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket captured much of that old folkie spirit of hootenanny collaboration and musical joie de vivre to an arena of fans. And rarely has such a six-hour musical lecture left such an impression.
Rock legend Elton John gave a Vegas-honed performance Thursday night in Madison that paraded some of the greatest pop-rock songs of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s in front of America’s Dairyland. And this without any assists from Cirque du Soleil.