Madison has finally returned to its lively state as the 2017 fall semester begins for thousands of UW-Madison students. Along with the start of the semester comes the start of an even more exciting time: fall concerts. Pulling from upcoming events held across the city at classic Madison venues, here is a semi-comprehensive list of some of the must-see shows for the first half of the semester:
Kicking off the first weekend after classes resume, students have a handful of amazing shows to choose from. On Sept. 9 at The Frequency, students can visit the annual Snake on the Lake music festival run by UW-Madison’s student radio station 91.7 WSUM. Snake on the Lake is a spectacular opportunity to discover and enjoy artists who push music to new limits. In addition to a few other bands from the Midwest, the festival will host up-and-coming Madison band greenhaus, who will also perform at Freakfest this year.
Sept. 9 will also showcase alt-rock favorites Foster the People, who will headline at The Orpheum. Their tour coincides with the release of their third full-length album, Sacred Hearts Club—a record that combines their signature catchy melodies with a cross-genre exploration of styles. After seeing the band perform an outstanding set back in 2014, I look forward to their return.
On Sept. 10, the Memorial Union Terrace Stage is a must-visit. UW-Madison alumnus CRASHprez will be headlining the fifth annual JVN Day. As part of the JVN Project, JVN Day is held in honor of UW-Madison student John Vietnam Nguy?n to unite the community under the founding principles of hip-hop culture. CRASHprez’s devotion to the evolution of hip-hop makes him the perfect contender to wrap up the event.
WUD Music consistently comes through with wonderful, and often free, concerts for UW-Madison students. Just six days into the fall semester, they’ve scheduled Oakland artist Jay Som to headline the Terrace Stage. Releasing one of this year’s best albums so far, Jay Som brings intimacy to a new level—a quality that is sure to be conveyed on the small lakeside stage.
“Let’s go hard, get drunk and travel down a rabbit hole,” is the final line on the opening track of Thundercat’s latest album, Drunk. In a way, it encapsulates everything Thundercat represents—diving into the unknown and being excessively quirky. His music is fun, bizarre and everything but mundane. On Sept. 19, the genre-crossing bassist will headline at the Majestic Theatre. Bringing his own sense of spunk, Thundercat will be, to quote the man himself, “out here, doing the most.”
As if the first week of class hasn’t supplied enough musical entertainment, High Noon Saloon will host Chicago rapper Open Mike Eagle on Sept. 20. Fuzing smooth production and delivery that seems effortless, Open Mike Eagle layers comedic wordplay and references throughout his music, making him truly one of a kind.
After two performances in 2016, singer/songwriter (Sandy) Alex G will be returning to Madison on Sept. 28. Ranging from guitar-led anthems to experimental auto-tune-laden interludes, (Sandy) Alex G has become a critical figure in modern music. As an extremely talented guitar player, his show will blow people away as he croons over his wide variety of instrumentals.
Thanks again to WUD Music, Japanese Breakfast will grace the stage at The Sett in Union South on Oct. 3. The solo venture of musician Michelle Zauner focuses on grief that we all share and how to overcome it. Her dream-like music captures what it feels like to mourn while moving on.
A personal favorite of mine, Milwaukee band GGOOLLDD is set to swing through The Frequency on Oct. 14. If the past is any indication of what to expect, fans are in for an outrageously fun and energetic show. Drawing from their origins of playing at house parties, GGOOLLDD treat each performance as its own major event. Their synth-pop mixed with heavy drum and bass lines makes for a combination that envelops the entire crowd with a common feeling of bliss.
As the semester progresses, there will be countless shows thrown onto rosters across the city. Keep your eyes peeled not only for national artists, but local musicians as well. Happy concert going everyone.
CORRECTION Sept. 6, 2017: A previous version of this article stated that GGOOLLDD is performing at the Majestic Theatre on Oct. 14, but the band is actually performing at The Frequency on that date.