Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hey! Remember?


Remember way back when “social media” was a new thing? Even back then a few wise heads expressed doubts about the ultimate good or ill of it all. Since then not only has the novelty worn off, Facebook and the others have become a pervasive presence in our lives. Perhaps perniciously so.

I’ve always been suspicious of a business that purports to give you something for nothing, and the history of Facebook has hardly proven such suspicions unfounded. Is connectedness valuable? Sure! But so is privacy. Perhaps preciously so.

A guy named Ross Douthat recently argued that if we really want to regain some of our privacy, we will need to set some limits. We will need to establish internet-free places and spaces. We will need to experience reality before it becomes virtual. We will need to rediscover ways to interact and socialize that don’t depend on smart phones.

This sounds like good advice, so we’re passing it on. And while we’re at it, check the Calendar below for places and occasions where just such reality-based socializing can be enjoyed. Turn of that smart phone and raise your glass, Wisconsinites.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who joined in with Big Wes Turner’s Trio for the opening weekend of Tyranena Brewing's 
summer entertainment season (live music every Friday and Saturday on Tyranena's spacious dog-friendly, family-friendly patio and backyard. Flying Cow Pizza brought their portable wood-fired oven onsite and the result was a perfect pairing with Tyranena's array of robust beers. Tom, Rick, and Gary had a good old time playing Wes Turner’s signature brand of "Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES."


The McMusical Calendar

Wednesday, May 15
The Maintainers keep Madison’s blues tradition alive. Mel Ford, Frankie Lee, Rick Becker, and Tom McCarty mix it up for fans of fun and FREE music. The Olin Park Shelter. 6 to 8 pm

Friday, May 17
The Sparks Band knocks musical nostalgia balls out of the proverbial park at The Atwood. 8 to 11 pm

Saturday, May 18
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings their Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES to Me&Julio in Fitchburg. On the patio if weather permits. 6 to 9 pm

Tuesday, May 21
The Birddog Blues Band plays for Heartland Credit Union’s annual meeting at Turner Hall. 5:30 to 8

Thursday, May 23
The Madison College Big Band and Madison College Jazz Ensemble play the Capital Brewery biergarten, in Middleton. 6 to 9


Friday, May 24
Big Wes Turner’s Trio brings the Big Wes brand of Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES to Chief’s Bar & Grill. Buck's Pizza (right across the road) delivers! 6:30 to 10 pm

Saturday, May 25
The Birddog Blues Band plays at The Friendly Inn Bar & Grill on 17th Street in Monroe. 4 to 8 pm

Sunday, May 26
No work tomorrow, right? So come down to Tofflers in New Glarus to hear The Birddog Blues Band. 8 'til late.

Check back for more June, and July dates, plus late-breaking McMusical news and corrections.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Reputation for Repetition


We’ve said it before (in so many words), so why not again?

Our wacky wintry weather (topic of conversation numero uno), just keeps comin’. Don’t succumb to SAD.* Take advantage of a predicted Friday break in the pervasive precipitation to toast the end of the week with Big Wes Turner’s Trio at the High Noon Saloon. Doors open at 4:30, so punch out early. The "biggest little band in Madland" starts up their "Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES" at 5 and goes through to 7 pm.

Many Madisonians depend on the official heralding of “The Weekend” that is heard without fail every Friday (mostly) at 2 pm on WORT’s long-running, highly acclaimed, somewhat notorious giggle-and-snort fest, The Mel & Floyd Show. See that you segue yourselves from there to the High Noon Saloon.

Note: Despite the recent listing in Maximum Ink indicating that this High Noon “Happy Friday” gig was “SOLD OUT”, such is not the case. More on this here.

*Seasonal Affective Disorder; aka “Shit. Another Day.”

The McMusical Calendar.

Wednesday February 27
The Sparks Band slathers on the sounds of the 60s at Me&Julio on Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm.

Friday, March 1
Turner returns! Big Wes Turner’s Trio (the biggest little band in Madland) plays Rockin’ RHYTHMN & Swingin’ BLUES for “Happy Friday” at the High Noon Saloon. Can you say, “It’s Madison time!” 5 to 7 pm. No cover. Lotsa beer.

Friday, March 8
The Sparks Band energetically wallows in danceable 60s nostalgia at The Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton. 9 to 1

Saturday, March 9
The Cashbox Kings hit the Rothschild Pavilion at 5 pm to help celebrate 20 years of Wausau’s Blues Café. Other performers: The Mark Cameron Band, Ivy Ford, Danielle Nicole Band, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

(Mr. McMusic takes time off to search for Big Wes Turner. Where he at?)

Friday, March 29
The Birddog Blues Band proves that combining Blues with “Happy Friday” booze is perfectly safe. Responsibly. High Noon Saloon 5 to 7

Saturday, March 30
The Cashbox Kings bring Chicago Blues to the North Street Cabaret The groove starts to move around 8 pm.

Check back for April dates and late-breaking McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

SRO or SOL?

They said it was impossible. “You can’t sell out a show if there’s no cover charge.” Right?

Well, theoretically, Yes. Which is to say, No, you can’t. But theory and practice have been confounded before where the legacy of mythic musical mentor Big Wes Turner is involved.

Thus this listing from the recent edition of Maximum Ink (Madison’s Music Magazine) for the upcoming March 1 early evening “Happy Friday” gig at the High Noon Saloon.

Be it known! Big Wes Turner’s Trio’s 3/1 performance is NOT sold out, because there’s nothing out of which to sell. Except cocktails and cold beer at happy-hour prices.

Perhaps the show later the same evening with some Led Zeppelin cover band actually IS sold out. Who cares? Come early ‘cause the Big Wes Turner’s Trio “Happy Friday” show is 100% cheaper and heaps higher on the happyometer. Crowding the High Noon Saloon to capacity for Friday happy hour is a goal to which we can all aspire. Hoist a few, then hit the dance floor, courtesy of the Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES sounds of Big Wes Turner’s Trio. 5 to 7 pm. (“It’s Madison time!”)

Mister McMusic Recommends
If you are ready to rock and roll on Wednesday, February 6, consider the High Noon Saloon and SIMO, guitarist/singer J.D. Simo’s band, three musicians who can power-trio in the best traditions of such. It’s been nearly two years since the trio handily passed the acid test of taste and chops by performing with high intensity at low volume for a special lunchtime Isthmus Live Sessions performance. You can find them all over Youtube, but here’s your chance to bypass the digital algorithmic overlords and strike a blow for live music resistance.

The McMusical Calendar

Friday, February 8
The Sparks Band, mostly masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at The Atwood (on Atwood Avenue) starting at 8 pm.

Thursday, February 14
Again, with The Sparks Band, plectruming playfully whilst the beer taps pour at Vintage Brewing in Sauk City. (On the shores of the mighty Wisconsin river.)  Early evening pm.

Saturday, February 16
The brewery tour continues as The Sparks Band rips riffs nostalgically at The Great Dane Hilldale on Madison’s fashionable near-west side. 8 to 11 pm.

Tuesday, February 19
The Cashbox Kings help Porchlight raise funds. Sample delicious dishes from great Madison restaurants while listening to Chess-era Chicago Blues sounds on the University Of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Contact Porchlight to get tickets for this delicious event.

Friday, February 22
Madison’s musical A-Team, The Maintainers (featuring Frankie Lee on harmonica and Mel Ford on guitar) play for keeps at Chief’s (right across from Buck’s Pizza on Cottage Grove Road). 6:30 to 9:30.

Saturday, February 23
The Cashbox Kings bring authentic Chi-Town Blues sounds back to that most venerable of east-side dives, The Crystal Corner Bar. 9 pm.

Sunday, February 24
Calling all Parrotheads! That other venerable east-side eatery/drinkery, The Harmony Bar & Grill, hosts a fundraiser for WORT Backporch Radio. Waste away to the Jimmy Buffett-esque sounds of Chuck Bayuk & the Drunken Sailors. (Tom on bass, but drunken responsibly).
3 to 7 pm.

Wednesday February 28
The Sparks Band slathers on the sounds of the 60s at Me&Julio on Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm.


Friday, March 1
Turner returns! Big Wes Turner’s Trio (the biggest little band in Madland) plays Rockin’ RHYTHM & Swingin’ BLUES for “Happy Friday” at the High Noon Saloon. Can you say, “It’s Madison time!” 5 to 7
Not sold out. No cover. Lotsa beer.

Friday, March 8
The Sparks Band energetically wallows in danceable 60s nostalgia at the Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton. 9 to 1

Saturday, March 9
The Cashbox Kings hit the Rothschild Pavilion at 5 pm to help celebrate 20 years of Wausau’s Blues Café. Other performers on the bill: The Mark Cameron Band, Ivy Ford, Danielle Nicole Band, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

Sunday, March 10
The northern tour continues as The Cashbox Kings hit some joint in Stevens Point. Details will follow.

Friday, March 29
The Birddog Blues Band proves that combining Blues with “Happy Friday” booze is perfectly safe. Responsibly. High Noon Saloon 5 to 7

Saturday, March 30
The Cashbox Kings bring Chicago Blues north to the North Street Cabaret. The groove starts to move around 8 pm.

Check back for April dates and late-breaking McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Don't Be Cruel


Who said “April is the cruelest month”?

Actually, it was T.S. Eliot, and whatever whoever thinks he meant by it, let us agree that it was poetic opinion, not fact.

For my money, January in Wisconsin, could easily win the dampening-of-the-spirits prize. At least with snow, now that it has finally arrived, amplifying reflected light and literally brightening things up, it finally "feels like" winter. Enjoy it while it lasts.

And don’t fear the freezing temperatures, either. How else to preserve the time-honored tradition of Lake Mendota ice boating (sooo fast, sooo last century).

So “buck up, Buttercup.” There’s plenty of work that needs doing, and after a day of that, plenty of occasions for patronizing the musical arts and the taverns that host them. Examples below.

The McMusical Calendar.

Wednesday, January 23
Big Wes bassist Tom joins forces with Jimmy Voegeli and Perry Weber (of The Jimmys) for an evening of rowdy blues hosted by drummer Tony Wagner, all part of the Wednesday’s With Wags series at TheWheelhouse in Waupaca.

Friday, February 8
The Sparks Band, minor masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at The Atwood (on Atwood Avenue) starting at 8 pm.

Thursday, February 14
Again, with The Sparks Band, plectruming playfully whilst the beer pours at Vintage Brewing in Sauk City. On the shores of the mighty Wisconsin river. Early evening pm.

Saturday, February 16
The brewery tour continues as The Sparks Band rips riffs nostalgically The Great Dane Hilldale on Madison’s fashionable near-west side. 8 to 11 pm.

Tuesday, February 19
The Cashbox Kings help Porchlight raise funds with a pre-Mardis Gras party! Sample delicious dishes from great Madison restaurants while listening to Chess Studios-era Chicago Blues on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Laissez les bon temps rouler! Contact Porchlight to get tickets for this annual event.

Friday, February 22
Madison’s musical A-Team, The Maintainers (featuring Frankie Lee on harmonica and Mel Ford on guitar) play for keeps at Chief’s (right across from Buck’s Pizza on Cottage Grove Road). 6:30 to 10:30.

Saturday, February 24
The Cashbox Kings bring authentic Chi-Town Blues sounds back to that venerable of east-side dives, The Crystal Corner Bar. 9 pm.

Sunday, February 25
Calling all Parrotheads! That other venerable east-side eatery/drinkery, The Harmony Bar & Grill, hosts a fundraiser for WORT Backporch Radio. Waste away to the Jimmy Buffett-esque sounds of Chuck Bayuk & the Drunken Sailors (Tom on bass, but drunken responsibly).
3 to 7 pm
.

Wednesday February 28
The Sparks Band slathers on the sounds of the 60s at Me&Julio on Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. 6 to 9 pm.

Friday, March 1
Turner returns! Big Wes Turner’s Trio (the biggest little band in Madland) plays Rockin’ RHYTHMN & Swingin’ BLUES for “Happy Friday” at the High Noon Saloon. Can you say, “It’s Madison time!” 5:00 to 7:00 No cover. Lotsa beer.

Check back for more March dates and late-breaking McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Yule Love This


Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow? No, it’s not a re-screening of the classic Brit chiller, Children of the Damned. It’s the merry, jolly, joyous season of Christmas (also winter solstice). Or, as Andy Williams is oft wont to repeat from playlist purgatory, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”



You already know how many shopping days are left before Christmas, but keep reading to find out where to find the mostest soul-satisfying LIVE music right through the whole blinkin’ Holiday season.

McMusical Calendar

Friday, December 21
Yuletide is Blues time, at The KnuckleDown Saloon. Come out, and hear The Birddog Blues Band with Mel Ford on guitar, Ken Olufs on harmonica, Tom McCarty on bass, and Derek Hendrickson on drums.
8 to midnight


Saturday, December 22
Tyranena Brewing taps Wisconsin’s best beers, and Big Wes Turner’s Trio (Rick Becker on drums, Gary Hendrickson on guitar, Tom McCarty on bass) sings and swings Blues and rocks & rolls Rhythms for discerning groove aficionados. An easy drive to nearby Lake Mills. 7 to 10.

Friday, December 28
The Sparks Band, (Rich Larson on drums, Mark Loder on guitar, Tom McCarty on bass) those administrators of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at Chief’s. 6:30 to 10.

Saturday, December 29
Again, with The Sparks Band, this time at The Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton. 9 to 1.

Monday, December 31
Ring in the new year with the authentic Chicago Blues sounds of The Cashbox Kings at The Knuckle Down Saloon.
Music starts this year, ends next.

And what will 2019 bring? Besides some well-deserved hibernation?

Wednesday, January 23
Tom joins forces Jimmy Voegli and Perry Weber (of The Jimmys) for an evening of Blues with drummer Tony Wagner, host of Wednesday’s With Wags at The Wheelhouse in Waupaca.

Check back here for more breaking McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Moose Call


When Moose says, “Can you?”
Big Wes Turner’s Trio replies, “Absolutely.”

Thus this late addition to the McMuscial calendar. We’re talkin’ this Friday, folks! Dress for the weather and hoist a few with the Wes ones at venerable far westside hang, The Club Tavern (home of the one and only Mooseburger).  

McMusical Calendar

Friday, November 16
When the chips are down, who ya gonna call? Big Wes Turner’s Trio! Thus the late addition to The Club Tavern line-up, but a perfect night for Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll (and even a few Country & Western classics). The “biggest little band in Mad-land” puts all six hands to many musical tasks at this venerable west side venue. 9 to 1.

Tuesday, November 20
"Birthday Party for Dave M." at the Bristled Boar (Middleton), with music by The Sparks Band. All are welcome! 7 to 10:30

Wednesday, November 21
When in Wisconsin’s Little Switzerland (aka, New Glarus), where better to party hearty to swingin’ sounds than at Toffler’s Bar & Grill. Enjoy their pre-Thanksgiving customer appreciation bash along with The Birddog Blues Band. 7:30 to 10:30

Friday, November 23
Hey Kids! The Cashbox Kings play kid-friendly Blues (seriously) before and after lunchtime at The Overture Center. Bring the family. Feed the wild blues musicians in their unnatural habitat.

November 30
The Sparks Band returns to The Atwood (formerly Mr. Roberts) on Atwood Avenue with the most rockingest of their 60s repertoire.

Sunday, December 2
Tom goes bowling for The Blues (Society). Yes, the Madison Blues Society sponsors this fun event. Bowl away with the Packer game onscreen and groove to the Madtown Mannish Boys after the game.

Wednesday, December 5
Big Wes Turner’s Trio heads north for an evening of Rockin’ RHYTHMN & Swingin’ BLUES at The Wheelhouse in Waupaca. Great food, friendly folks, and all the Central Waters taps you could wish for. First of the wintertime “Wednesdays with Wags” series. 8 to 10:30

Friday, December 7
Wintersong! Faux Fawn, brainchild of singer/songwriter Paul Otteson, joins a plethora of notable Madison performers to present original seasonal songs. Feel the spirit of the season, and help raise funds for Second Harvest foodbank. The Barrymore Theater, Atwood Avenue.

Saturday, December 15
Tyranena Brewing with The Cashbox Kings. ‘Nuff said. 7 to 10.

Saturday, December 22
Tyranena Brewing with Big Wes Turner’s Trio. Even more ‘Nuff said. 7 to 10.

Friday, December 28
The Sparks Band, those masters of 60s nostalgia, rock out early at Chief’s. 6:30 to 10.

Saturday, December 29
The Sparks Band at The Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton. 9 to 1.

Monday, December 30
Ring in the new year with The Cashbox Kings at The Knuckle Down Saloon. Music starts this year; ends next.

Who knows what 2019 will bring? You will, if you just check back here for breaking McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Socially Serendipitous


(Check the McMusical calendar below for a late, last-minute addition!)

Be careful. Domestic bliss and modern creature comforts are conspiring to keep you basking in the glow of LCD screens and confined to the contours of a recliner. Don’t risk the disconnect from the real, live, face-to-face social networking opportunities in your community. (And you can dance, if you want to.)

To further paraphrase and plagiarize: Get up! Get up!! Get out of (wherever you are)!!! You won’t know if you don’t go.

Just such efforts were rewarded last night when the only Little Vito (Stacatto) himself, AND two of the (original) Torpedoes, somewhat spontaneously assembled at Chief’s Tavern to take in some suds and the sounds of Big Wes Turner’s Trio. An unplanned but welcome mini-reunion. Not to mention the appearance of friends-of-Big-Wes Jim and Sarah, band photographers Jen and Rochelle, and random raucous revelers.

But that was just the beginning. A quick nick over to the nearby Knuckle Down Saloon where The Bad Companions (featuring former members of Phil Gnarly & the Tough Guys) were jamming into the wee hours found not only the regular denizens of the venerable eastside Blues venue, but longstanding Madison songwriter of note Robert J, plus former Essen Haus BFF of Big Wes Mitch F., and next-door neighbor, Mark B.

Hey! Us humans are social animals. Let’s not let our humanity wither away by passing up opportunities to meet, greet, and put our social graces into practice. (This advice courtesy of Hermit Crab McCrankypants.)

Naturally, the best spots for socializing are those where you find LIVE music being performed. Such as...

McMusical Calendar

Saturday, November 3
The Cashbox Kings (Joe Nosek and Oscar Wilson) hold court in Chi-Town at The California Clipper. Back-up Blues groovers will include our own bassplayist, Tom McCarty.

***Just Added!***
Saturday, November 10
Big Wes Turner’s Trio (featuring fabulous fill-in guitarist, Billy Flynn) plays for party people at The Athens Grill (on Highway M, just down from Skipper Bud’s) for a tag team tap-takeover event featuring two amazing threes—we’re talkin’ ThreeSheeps Brewing Co. (of Sheboygan) and ThreeFloyds Brewing Co. (of Munster, IN). Taps open at 6pm. Music starts at 7:30.



Wednesday, November 14
Would it tequila-ya to come hear The SparksBand at Me & Julio on Fish Hatchery Road? Of course not. 6 to 9 pm.

Thursday, November 15
The Sparks Band heats up an Autumn evening on the shores of the Wisconsin River at TheVintage Brewery in Sauk City. Eat, drink, and rock out to 60s sounds.

Wednesday, November 21
When in Wisconsin’s Little Switzerland (aka, New Glarus), where better to party hearty to swingin’ sounds than at Toffler’sBar & Grill. Enjoy their pre-Thanksgiving customer appreciation bash along with The Birddog Blues Band.

November 23
Hey Kids! The Cashbox Kings plays kid-friendly Blues (seriously) before and after lunchtime at The Overture Center. Bring the family. Feed the wild blues musicians in their unnatural habitat.

November 30
The Sparks Band returns to The Atwood (formerly Mr. Roberts) on Atwood Avenue with the most rockingest of their 60s repertoire.

Check back soon for December dates in McMusical news.

NoteBig Wes Turner’s Newsletter has an amazing new option: POSTCARDS! Whaaaaa? Yeah, you heard right. Most well-informed Turnerites receive their sporadic action updates via email, but now they can alternately (or additionally) get a scrap of cheap cardboard with information scribbled thereupon... FOR FREE!!! Just ask.

'Nother Note
: BWTN postcards are redeemable for a drink wherever Big Wes Turner’s Trio is found.