Half a century after his death in a plane crash in Wisconsin, singer Otis Redding still has an uncanny power to move people. Here’s a compilation of songs that offer ample evidence of why Redding deserves a treasured place in pop-music history.
George Clinton and the latest lineup of Parliament-Funkadelic headlined Friday night’s beginning of Madison’s annual Brat Fest celebration, demonstrating to those who attended why Clinton and his merry band of funkateers are both beloved and essential in the evolution of pop music despite offering a truly conflicting, confusing performance.
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.
Elvis Presley would have turned 80 years old on Thursday. Amid the remembrances and reflections on Presley’s transformational impact on stardom and his unquestionable role in popularizing rock music, few might know that Wisconsin was the setting of two remarkable incidents that occurred as Elvis’ life neared its end.
A Kickstarter campaign has started to support the creation of a documentary detailing the history of Smart Studios, the now-defunct recording facility in Madison, Wis., that yielded some of the biggest alternative-rock albums of the 1990s and ’00s.
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.
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.
Like the hobbled hero from some Hollywood movie, a clearly ailing Levon Helm rallied his strength during Tuesday night’s performance to give those who gathered at a downtown Milwaukee casino an enthralling lesson in American roots music.