What to do in Madison this week: Reverend Raven, Concerts on the Square and more Isthmus Picks – Isthmus

Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys featuring Westside Andy, Monday, June 24, Beach Park, Maple Bluff, 6 p.m.: The village of Maple Bluff’s free summer concert series kicks off with one of Wisconsin’s top blues bands, Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys. Westside Andy Linderman is well known to Madison audiences as the longtime co-leader of the Westside Andy/Mel Ford band, and the rest of this crew is equally as seasoned by decades of performances with a who’s who of blues legends. (For example, bassist P.T. Pedersen has been playing since the 1960s; he is currently fighting cancer and Reverend Raven is hosting a GoFundMe campaign to help with Pedersen’s medical expenses.)

Sharon Kilfoy + TetraPAKMAN, through Aug. 9, Social Justice Center: The Jackie Macaulay Gallery hosts paired exhibits considering the effects of climate change on our planet’s living creatures. TetraPAKMAN’s sculpture and other large-format works often focus on raising awareness of climate change, and this exhibit includes “The Climate Sheets,” wrapping around the gallery space and including records of the ever-raising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Rising global temperatures contribute to a higher danger of wildfires; Sharon Kilfoy shows some concrete examples of what fire does with a collection of objects recovered following a 2016 fire at Williamson Street Art Center.

Bashford, Monday, June 24, Mickey’s Tavern, 10 p.m.: This is a super summer triple bill that fits Mickey’s like a glove. Jaguar Stevens, out of Denver, plays garage punk like it should be played, fast and loud. Madison’s Bashford has some great grungy hooks and at the best of times may recall Kurt Cobain’s rawest vocals (“Asleep by the Phone,” from 2020’s Happathy). And ROBOMAN, also hailing from Madison, pumps out surfy speed riffs like something Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday Addams might shimmy to.

Shane Burley & Ben Lorber, Tuesday, June 25, A Room of One’s Own, 6 p.m.: Antisemitism has been increasing during the past decade in the U.S., and documented incidents exploded after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel. The problem is made worse by right wing conspiracy theorists and others seeking to increase division by confusing the definition of what constitutes antisemitism. A new book by journalist Shane Burley and research analysts Ben Lorber, Safety Through Solidarity: A Radical Guide to Fighting Antisemitism, seeks to clarify the debate and offer ideas on community building to fight hate. For a preview of their talk at A Room of One’s Own, hear Burley and Lorber discuss the book with host Esty Dinur on the June 14 edition of the WORT-FM show A Public Affair.

Sam Carlson + Josh Harty + Randal Harrison Hoecherl, Tuesday, June 25, North Street Cabaret, 7 p.m.: Three rootsy singer-songwriters for the price of one! Sam Carlson’s 2024 singles are a bit folky, a bit bluegrassy, and highlight his laid-back and soul-tinged vocal style. Josh Harty is a North Dakota native but has long been a leading voice in Madison’s songwriting scene; new music has been recently appearing on Harty’s YouTube channel. Violinist Randal Harrison Hoecherl is also a longtime Madison-area player and educator, currently in groups such as Piper Road Spring Band and Honor Among Thieves, and also plays solo. Tickets at

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tuesday, June 25, Barrymore, 8 p.m.: The beloved veterans have just added two shows at the Ryman Auditorium as part of their “All the Good Times: Farewell Tour.” And while the Dirt Band is far from the best bluegrass band to ever perform there, they may have done more in the early ’70s than anyone else to bring the mainstream, long-haired masses to Bill Monroe’s high lonesome sound, courtesy of the first Will The Circle Be Unbroken album. Founding members Jeff Hanna (guitar) and Jimmie Fadden (drums) will be joined by keyboardist Bob Carpenter, a newbie in the group having only performed with them since 1980. Tickets at

Concerts on the Square, Wednesday, June 26, Capitol Square, 7 p.m.: We’ll explain this one in case you are new to Madison. People flock to the Capitol Square, put blankets down on the lawn, or the sidewalk, or any available patch of ground, picnic intensely, and listen to lively, varied programs from the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. It’s definitely a scene. The Concerts on the Square season kicks off with guest artists Tiempo Libre, who play a lively Afro-Cuban-Caribbean mix. They were last year’s opening guest artists, but a string of bad weather days resulted in the concert never taking place. Blankets, as always, cannot be laid as placeholders until 3 p.m. Find the full season schedule (weekly through July 31) at

Xizhou Xie, through July 14, Garver Canvas; reception June 27, 6-8 p.m.: Art is an important part of the experience at Garver Feed Mill; director of public programming and business operations Bethany Jurewicz has a master’s degree in contemporary art theory and was determined to include art in the restored space. A spacious room on the first floor known as Garver Canvas is devoted to gallery-style public exhibits. For the next month and a half the space is devoted to the work of Xizhou Xie. “Layers of Self: Exploring Identities” ponders the question “Who am I?” While mostly abstract, Xie’s work does demonstrate some traditional Asian influences. A reception takes place from 6-8 p.m. on June 27. Gallery hours are noon-6 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Friday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday.

Graveslave, Thursday, June 27, The Annex, 6:30 p.m.: The lyrical themes of Minneapolis band Graveslave definitely put the death in death metal, but the band’s music pauses the punishing assault at times for prog moments (as in “Playing Dead” on the just released EP Relinquish Life). Madison’s Corridoré also has a new album, Abandon, on the way this fall, and recently previewed it in its entirety at a Wisco show. The heavy doesn’t stop at this show, which also features Madison thrashers Egödeath and doomy Tomah trio Thundergoat. Tickets at

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, June 27-Sept. 7, American Players Theatre, Spring Green: APT moves away from romantic comedy with this 1982 August Wilson play that centers on conflict during a recording session for blues singer Ma Rainey. Rainey’s real life inspired the play; “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is one of her own songs. Upcoming performances are at 7:30 p.m. on June 27 and July 3 and 8 p.m. on June 29; tickets and info at

Gully Boys, Thursday, June 27, Bur Oak, 8 p.m.: Gully Boys were born in a Minneapolis-area Ragstock in 2016, when Kathy Callahan met Nadirah McGill. Natalie Klemond later joined on bass, and finally Mariah Mercedes completed this garage power-pop/punk four-piece. Since this show was postponed back in January, the band released the banging “Bad Day” single, and their debut album is in the works. Madison’s LINE and Dad Bods open. Tickets at

Murder!(s), June 20-22 and 27-28, Broom Street Theater, 8 p.m.: Are We Delicious? resurfaced in 2023 following an extended pause due to the pandemic. The Madison ensemble most often writes, rehearses and performs a one-hour show in two weeks, but this time is back with a revival of a show the group produced in 2019. Murder!(s), subtitled “a (mostly) true crime story,” concerns a murder-for-insurance-money scheme gone awry. The production is a fundraiser to help defray the costs to mount the show at the Green Bay Fringe Festival. Tickets at

Find the individual Picks collected here, and as part of the full calendar of events.

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