Show Review: Horse Feathers with Special guests John Mark Nelson and Sara Jackson-Holman

Horse Feathers performing at Wisconsin Union Theater

Horse Feathers performing at Wisconsin Union Theater

Tonight’s performance by Horse Feathers at Wisconsin Union Theater was presented with openers Sara Jackson-Holman, then John Mark Nelson and band. Overall, I was exhausted from a late night of studying, a midterm in the morning, homework after that, and was still very impressed by the performances.

I arrived early to do an interview with artist John Mark Nelson and I took a front row seat in the theater. The theater seating was amazingly comfortable and the room was quite dark, which may have had an adverse effect on the crowd’s engagement with the artists. There was laughing and clapping as the artists interacted with the crowd, but no one stood or danced.

The first opener, Sara Jackson-Holman, re-started her first song just a line or two in. She asked for more volume on her vocals and continued. This awkward-laugh-inducing pause was well worth what followed. She sang, in my opinion, like a softer-voiced Adele. I unfortunately did not have time to research her music before this, so missed song titles, but my personal favorite included the lyrics, “I could be the one.” It had an awesome base, and even she got into dancing to it. The last song she performed was a cover of “Baby come back” by Player. Despite the completely different eras of music, she adapted it well to her voice and style. Her crowd interaction was pleasant, but minimal. She did say she was sick and when she spoke normally her voice was much higher. Given this, I still find it impressive that she went through seven songs.

John Mark Nelson and his band played next. He himself played electric and acoustic guitar, Kara Laudon sang and played keyboard, Steve Bosmans played electric guitar, Benjamin Kelly played base, and Gabe Hagen played drums. They came across as very crowd friendly especially as Nelson did a small introduction while playing his guitar. On a non-musical note, they presented themselves very well. Going across the stage they looked almost uniformed all in jeans cuffed at the bottom and either a light blue or plaid shirt. Watching how much they enjoyed themselves on stage actually made me smile back at them.

They opened with a song off of his album “Waiting and Waiting” called “Home.” It was well performed, but as I expected he asked sound for less base so his lyrics would be clearer for the next number. Slightly muffled lyrics were unfortunately common throughout the show, all artists included. The band interacted really well with each other and they were all clearly introduced. He next played “Boy”, and “The Moon and the Stars” which is about Duluth, from his album “Sings the Moon.” The band also played an original number by Laudon who is starting to compose. They played four other numbers with varying degrees of their modern folksy feel and connection to pop or singer/songwriter styles.

Horse Feathers, the headliner came on shortly after. Whereas John Mark Nelson had a unique sound because of creative composition, this band had similarly creative composition and unique instruments. They played a saw, a banjo, a trumpet and a harmonica throughout the show. The cast was introduced, but once again the sound was muffled and I could not make out who was there and who wasn’t. The band usually consists of Justin Ringle with Guitar and Vocals, Nathan Crockett on Violin, Mandolin and Saw, Dustin Dybvig on Drums and Piano, Lauren Vidal on Cello, and Angie Kuzma with Violin and Vocals. They were crowd pleasers but seemed less interactive than the earlier John Mark Nelson.

Horse feathers played several of their older numbers including “Fit Against the Country.” Next they played “Where I’ll Be” which is when they introduced harmonica to the performance. They played a total of ten songs and two as an encore. The encore included a catchy performance of “Belly of June” and it was in their last song that they broke out the trumpet. It was a total crowd pleaser and applause continued until the lights came on.

Interview: John Mark Nelson, touring the midwest with Horse Feathers

John Mark Nelson and band playing at Wisconsin Union Theater this past Wednesday night as openers for Horse Feathers.
John Mark Nelson and band playing at Wisconsin Union Theater as openers for Horse Feathers this past Wednesday night.

John Mark Nelson is currently, and for the last year or so, has been traveling with a band. It’s him and four other members. He plays electric and acoustic guitar, Kara Laudon sings and plays keyboard, Steve Bosmans plays electric guitar, Benjamin Kelly plays base, and Gabe Hagen plays drums. This group, with slight alterations has been working with Nelson for past year. They are playing here in Madison because Nelson’s manager caught word of the Horse Feathers tour and wanted the group to tag along with them for a portion of it. They have played in Madison before. They played at the Terrace about 2 years ago, then the Rathskeller, High Noon, and now Wisconsin Union Theater.

Are you excite to open for Horse Feathers on this First National Support tour?

Absolutely. I think it should be a blast. We are super excited to be along with them. As we were driving out here we listened to some of their tunes.

What are you working on right now? Any new music?

We’ve just wrapped up a long series of writing so we’re going to get into the studio and record a new record in January. We’re kind of in the process of starting to introduce some of those tunes and get a feel for playing them live. I think as I move forward my songs still speak to a lot of different elements of my life – people I know or stories I’ve encountered. They are all very much story songs and have elements of who I am woven into them.

How did you develop your style and do you have a favorite artist that inspired you?

I actually like a lot of different kinds of music. I can point to a couple of different artists. A lot of the music I listened to as I was growing up I think shaped what I do now. My mom was very much into the pop music of the 60’s and 70’s so Peter, Paul and Mary and Simon and Garfunkle. My dad was very influenced by classical and jazz music. I think somehow a lot of what I make is sort of influenced by a meeting of those two worlds where there’s arrangements and compositions with different instruments, but blended in a very kind of like pop-relatable way.

How old were you when you started writing and what inspired you to start doing this?

I think I started really having a sort of idea that I was making songs with lyrics and stories and stuff when I was maybe 13 or 14. What inspired me was a very slow gradual process. When I was younger my dad brought home one of the first Mac computers with Garage Band on it, where you can take the loops, drag them around and rearrange them. I would make horrible loop songs and then I bought my first microphone. I started recording myself playing guitar. I just fell in love with recording and capturing sound. That slowly, over a couple of years, morphed its way into writing original songs.

What was the first song you ever wrote?

I don’t think I could pinpoint one exactly because the first record I put out was called “Still Here.” It was just a hand-picked assortment of different songs I had done. It wasn’t that I sat down at the beginning thinking I wanted to make an album.

How did you learn to play all the instruments featured in your videos?

I don’t actually play all of them but I can play guitar, drums, and accordion. Those are the three instruments that I actually feel comfortable playing. I certainly tinker on the keyboard and can play a base, but I shouldn’t.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

As soon as you can start doing what you love, do it. If you have a passion for songwriting or for any form of art, just find outlets for it. There is that intimidating first step of “I want to do this but I don’t know how” or “I don’t know where” and you just need to find an outlet. If you’re a songwriter, start going to open mic nights. Don’t be afraid to jump into it and figure things out as you go.

TRAP SHOW IN THE PLAY CIRCLE – DJ Sidereal w/ Soundkill3r and Zendro

Do you like hard-hitting, loud, bass-in-your-face trap and hip-hop? Then don’t miss out on this Saturday’s show in the Play Circle Theater! This weekend we have DJ Sidereal along with Soundkill3r and Zendro playing a FREE trap show that’s sure to get the whole building crackin’.

At just 18 years old, Minnesota native DJ Sidereal is taking the world of hip-hop by storm. Having survived brain surgery at the age of 11, Sidereal turned to his passion for music and has been relentlessly pursuing his dreams ever since. Opening for rappers Macklemore, B.o.B, Mike Stud, G-Eazy, Waka Flocka Flame and many more has earned him a reputation as one of hip-hop’s most exciting DJs to watch. Sidereal brings a wild energy to every single show; known for crowdsurfing, confetti cannons and spraying champagne on stage. Playing at every major venue in his home town of Minneapolis has given Sidereal the chance to prove himself as a top-notch performer, earning him a spot on the Paid Dues tour and at Rock The Bells in 2012 in San Bernadino, CA. This exposure has earned him sponsorships from both G-Pen and Young & Reckless, along with the release of his clothing line and a number of hit singles that have reached the top 20 on the indie hip-hop charts. Check out his new mini-film about his journey from Tragedy to Triumph:

 

 

Don’t forget to arrive at 8pm to catch Soundkill3r and Zendro! Both student artists here at UW, these DJs are bringing their A-game along with sets full of hard-hitting trap to get the crowd turnt up. Soundkill3r has been producing electronic music since his teenage years, earning him opening slots at Segredo for artists like Cedric Gervais as well as a headlining his own club shows. He’s known for expertly mixing various genres of EDM, crafting sets that get crowds off their feet and lost in the music. You don’t want to miss Soundkill3rs live show this weekend! Head over to his facebook page and hit that like button! https://www.facebook.com/Soundkill3r

 

 

Zendro will be getting the night started with a set full of heavy trap beats that would make Gucci Mane quiver in fear. Also a student at UW, Zendro has been honing his production skills for a number of years. If you like heavy bass and trap, get to the show at 8pm to catch Zendro! Check out his page here: https://www.facebook.com/Zendro

 

 

TRAP SHOW IN THE PLAY CIRCLE

Saturday, November 15th from 8-11:30pm

DJ Sidereal with Special Guests Soundkill3r and Zendro

Located in the Frederic March Play Circle Theater on the second floor of Memorial Union

ITS FREE!!

Night Moves w/Pony Bwoy and The Great Duck War: Saturday, November 15th, der Rathskeller

I’m normally not one to put genre labels on bands. But today, I AM THAT PERSON. “Psychedelic Country” is TOTALLY Night Moves. If I had to describe them in terms of other bands (which I’ve been trying to do for years now with almost no success because they are so original) I would mayyyyybe say something along the lines of Fleetwood Mac beats with twangy/Tame Impala-ish/Temples-ish vocals. But even that cannot describe them in all their glory.

Look at at all that hair.

Look at all that hair.

I listen to a lot of hip-hop/rap and alternative artists, and not much country music. However, I find myself scouring the interwebz in search of more Night Moves.

Between their charming twang, groovy bellbottoms, and echoing vocals, there is something for everyone to love.

This Minneapolis-based group has played on campus before. I first saw them on complete accident in high school in 2011, and INSTANTLY fell in love. Since then they’ve returned every year, probably Madison’s music taste is impeccable and we don’t want to escape those dreamy chords.

Check out their live performance of “Headlights” on KEXP here:

Night Moves’ return to Madison is special this time. They’re bringing some friends with them: Pony Bwoy.

Pony Bwoy must have caught the Night Moves fever.

Pony Bwoy must have caught the Night Moves fever.

When wandering around Youtube Narnia one night I discovered Pony Bwoy’s most chill music video; it oozed synth and bled passion. My eyes were glued to my Ba$ic Bitch Macbook Pro. I was hooked.

Here is that video, PREPARE YOSELF:

TURNS OUT THEY’RE FRIENDS WITH NIGHT MOVES— WHO KNEW?? It was perfect. This show was ‘bout 2 be off da hook.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Who doesn’t like jamming to your friend’s band like you would in a house show??
The Great Duck War to the rescue!

Reid Kurkerewicz and Noah and Justin Huber combine Modest Mouse-esque vocals with energetic drumming and delicate guitar to create one hell of a sound.

How could you not love these g00nz??

The Great Duck War killin' the photo game.

The Great Duck War killin’ the photo game.

You can catch all these gnarly bands this Saturday in der Rathskeller. You don’t want to be that person at your neighbor’s house party next week who missed this show, do you?

Oh, did I mention it’s FREE?!

Tapedeck Tuesday- November 11th, 2014

Happy Veteran’s day! Celebrate those who fight for our nation’s freedom by enjoying a variety of great shows this weekend.

On Friday, local indie-folk group Tin Can Diamonds will be playing at Der Rath.

The same night, Great Britt will be headlining at the Sett, ready to get rowdy with you all. Check him out below:

And Last but not least, Night Moves will be coming to Der Rath Saturday night. Check out their haunting performance of “Horses” right here:

Getting Cosmic with Hurt Everybody

This Friday, Chicago based rap duo Hurt Everybody will be taking over The Sett with UW’s own Lord of The Fly and CRASHprez. Ever since they began dropping tracks almost every week on Soundcloud, Hurt Everybody have quickly become one of rap’s most fascinating and experimental artists to watch. Formed in early 2014, Hurt Everybody is comprised of 17 year old rapper Carl, 24 year old rapper Supa Bwe, and recently added 19 year old producer Mulatto Beats. Their sound is often described as “cosmic rap” – a mixture of spacey-sounding beats and lyrics that cover everything from space goddesses and DMT trips gone wrong. This summer they dropped the Hurt Everybody EP, their first project to be released for free download. With such a short history as a group, Hurt Everybody has developed a surprisingly dedicated fanbase. The reason? Because people care what these guys have to say. When asked “Why Hurt Everybody?”, rapper Carl responded – “Because change is uncomfortable, and we’re forcing it”. It’s clear that Hurt Everybody are ready to blow up, and they’re perfectly aware of it. This won’t be a show you want to miss!

Hurt Everybody Article 2

Don’t forget to get there early to catch Lord of The Fly and CRASHprez! Daniel Leonard and Michael Penn II, better known by their rap monikers Lord of The Fly and CRASHprez respectively, are rappers who recently have garnered a rather impressive local buzz. Students at UW themselves, they have performed at Madison’s annual Revelry and FreakFest festivals, as well as a number of local shows. Most recently, they hosted a basement show themed around breakfast food (keg included, of course!). These two are some of the most talented and hard-working lyricists I’ve heard recently. Come check them out this Friday at The Sett and SUPPORT LOCAL HIP-HOP!!

 

WUD Music Presents: Hurt Everybody w/ Lord of The Fly and CRASHprez

Friday, November 7th at The Sett

Doors 9pm, Show at 9:30

ITS FREE!!