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Local artists join national touring act for hip-hop, folk and a jazz-rock fusion concerts in the city this weekend. A showcase of some of the best Midwestern comedians is also an option for a night out.
Mr. Chair Album Release, Majestic Theatre
Thursday, Sept. 5, 8 p.m.
Classical/jazz/rock quartet Mr. Chair of Madison releases its impressive first album, "Nebulebula" — a double CD and triple vinyl package — at the Majestic Theatre with some of its many collaborators. Guest performers include members of the Mount Zion Gospel Choir, hip-hop vocalist Dequadray White, audio engineer and spoken word artist Buzz Kemper and University of Wisconsin–Madison geoscientist Stephen Meyers, who commissioned the band to compose and perform music for his lectures.
Strollin' Middleton Jazz Festival, Various Middleton Locations
Friday, Sept. 6. 5-10 p.m.
The fourth annual Strollin' Middleton Jazz Festival takes place Friday night. Eight venues on Parmenter Street and Hubbard Avenue — from the Middleton Senior Center, Middleton Public Library, National Mustard Museum, Barriques and Louisianne's Restaurant, among others — will host 15 bands playing jazz. A staggered schedule will allow walkers to take in groups like Johnny Chimes, the John Becker Quartet and Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet. The event is free.
Madison's Favorite Concert, Capitol Square and State Street
Friday, Sept. 6, 6-10 p.m.
Since it's named "Madison's Favorite Concert," how can it not be? Opening the annual event at the top of State Street at 6 p.m. is local comedic singer-songwriter Pat McCurdy, followed by queer-punk duo Gender Confetti. Wheelhouse, a Madison-area favorite country band, headlines. Several local vendors will be selling their wares in the vicinity, too.
Ellis Paul and Sam Lyons, Threshold
Friday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
Boston-based folk singer, storyteller and road warrior Ellis Paul comes to Threshold with 19 albums worth of material. Local musician Sam Lyons opens the show put together by The Wisconsin Room, a local folk music collective.
Dessa and Monakr, Majestic Theatre
Friday, Sept. 6, 9 p.m.
Dessa — a whipsmart rapper, singer and writer based in Minneapolis — returns to Madison Friday. A former member of the hip-hop collective Doomtree, Dessa's 2018 solo record "Chime" was critically acclaimed and a live album, recorded with a full orchestra, is due out in November. Zed Kenzo and Manakr open.
Outside Voices Album Release, Bos Meadery
Saturday, Sept. 7, 6-10 p.m.
Outside Voices, a multiracial crew of seven local rappers and producers, debut their second recording Saturday night at Bos Meadery. Expect the group's members to trade lines over beats. Additional performances by K. SANKOFA, 608suvi and Kē aka john doe.
"Phoenix from the Ashes," Playhouse Galley, Overture Center for the Arts
Reception Friday, Sept. 6, 6-8 p.m.; exhibit open until Oct. 27
Trees infested by emerald ash borers and felled by the Madison Parks Department have become works of art in the hands of 13 local sculptors. The Friday night reception will include a screening of the documentary short film "From the Ashes" and a city forester discussing the impact of the invasive insect. Before the wood was transformed into artwork, Wood Cycle of Wisconsin in Oregon kiln dried, milled and distributed it. The citywide ashwood reclamation project features the work of artists Eric Adjetey Anang, Gene Delcourt, Thomas Ferrella, Aaron Granat, Roald Gunderson, Richard Judd, Aaron Laux, Tom Loeser, Paul Morrison, Andrea Oleniczak and Taylor Kurrie, Sylvie Rosenthal and Katherine Steichen Rosing.
Best of the Midwest, Comedy on State
Thursday, Sept. 5, 8 p.m.
Best of the Midwest is the perfect opportunity to catch up on all the region's best comedy acts. With appearances from comedians Rory Rusch (winner of the 2019 Madison's Funniest Comic title), Moe Yaqub of Minneapolis, Chicago's Molly Kearney and several others.
Fortune Feimster, Comedy on State
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 6-7, 10:30 p.m.
You may be familiar with Fortune Feimster from her appearances on "Chelsea Lately," "The Mindy Project," "Workaholics" or "Drunk History." She currently stars in NBC's "Champions." Netflix released her stand-up special last summer. Don't miss your chance to see her live at Comedy on State.
Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.