Note: Many venues and businesses may continue to maintain individual requirements for masking, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative test for entry. Before heading out for any in-person event, confirm it is still taking place and check for any attendance guidelines on the relevant business websites or social media accounts.
Robyn Hitchcock, Tuesday, April 19, Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 p.m.: Since surfacing in the mid-1970s club scene of Cambridge, England, Robyn Hitchcock has followed his muse in often surprising directions. Currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, Hitchcock’s most recent, self-titled album displays his evergreen talent at painting images on your brain with wryly off-kilter words and music. Hitchcock is likely to pull out just about any song you can think of at any time during wide-ranging sets drawing from all eras and past groups (The Soft Boys, The Egyptians). His most recent project, Somewhere Apart: Selected Lyrics 1977-1997, published in 2021, focuses on the words and includes some of Hitchcock’s visual art to boot.
Ingrid Andersson, Wednesday, April 20, Crowdcast, 7 p.m.: Madison midwife and poet Ingrid Andersson has written a volume of poetry that brings her callings together. Jordemoder: Poems of a Midwife addresses the mysteries and the realities of birth, as well as themes of body autonomy, social justice and climate change. She’ll read from her work and converse with Madison midwife Miranda Welch in this A Room of One’s Own Crowdcast presentation. Find a registration link at roomofonesown.com.
Humbird, Wednesday, April 20, North Street Cabaret, 8 p.m.: Four months after she opened for Milwaukee’s progressive bluegrass band Chicken Wire Empire at the Stoughton Opera House, Minneapolis-based Americana/folk singer-songwriter Humbird returns to the Madison area to headline this intimate show. Humbird (real name: Siri Undlin) is touring in support of her second album, 2021’s Still Life, which was recorded at her home in the neighborhood where George Floyd was killed. The record is soft and lovely and challenging, and it shimmers with echoes of Joni Mitchell and John Prine. Prepare to be captivated. With Coyote Brother, the duo project of Hayward Williams and J. Hardin.
System Exclusive, Wednesday, April 20, Dark Horse ArtBar, 9 p.m.: The self-titled debut album by System Exclusive is one of those rare beasts that sounds instantly familiar while being brand new (it was released via Castle Face in March 2022). The duo of Ari Blaisdell and Matt Jones draw on influences from the world of synth music back to its 1970s beginnings and mix it with pop-rock by adding Jones’ steady live drums and Blaisdell’s postpunk guitar and coolly emotive vocals. Opening is Wristwatch, a new project from Bobby Hussy making their local live debut.
Doug Moe, Wednesday, April 20, Mystery to Me, 6 p.m.: One of Madison’s most beloved journalists has written books about everyone from local philanthropists Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman to celebrated newspaper columnist Mike Royko. Doug Moe’s latest — released at the end of Women’s History Month — explores the life of Kit Saunders-Nordeen, the first director of women’s athletics at the University of Wisconsin. Her tenure began in 1974 (two years after the passage of Title IX, the landmark gender-equity law) and lasted until she retired in 1990 (the year a women’s volleyball match in Madison drew nearly 11,000 fans). Moe will discuss The Right Thing to Do, published by Milwaukee’s Henschel HAUS, with Isthmus contributor Jane Burns. It’s free, but tickets are required; the event also will be livestreamed on Crowdcast. Find info at mysterytomebooks.com.
Madison’s Funniest Comic, Wednesdays, April 6-May 4, Comedy on State, 9 p.m.: Take a deep dive into the pool of emerging comedians with the Madison’s Funniest Comic competition, returning after a pandemic hiatus year. Preliminary rounds take place April 6-27, with the finals on May 4; showtime is 9 p.m., but the room fills up quickly so arriving closer to door time (7:30 p.m.) is a good idea. Stand-ups who would like to participate should sign up by March 31 at madisoncomedy.com.
Earth Day 2022: Water on the Rise, Thursday, April 21, UW campus and online, 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.: The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison examines an issue that affects all life on Earth: maintaining the proper amount of water. Not enough or too much, and you’ve got trouble right here in River City, folks. Events are mostly virtual, with some talks taking place at venues on campus. It’s free, but registration is required at earthday.nelson.wisc.edu. The event is paired with the annual Water@UW Symposium on April 22; find out more at water.wisc.edu.
The Floridians, April 21-May 1, Governor’s Mansion Inn: Russian money-launderers working as travel agents would prefer to be in musical theater; retirees looking for something, anything, to do decide to become amateur investigators and run afoul of an FBI agent on a similar track. Comedy ensues, as written by TNW Ensemble Theater co-founder Danielle Dresden in the new play The Floridians. The company produces the new play at the restored, historic Governor’s Mansion Inn; performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Buy tickets here.
The Quebe Sisters, Thursday, April 21, Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 p.m.:Texas siblings Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe have spent 15 years perfecting three-part harmonies and triple fiddles to deliver their grin-inspiring contemporary take on neo-traditionalist western swing music. Part Bob Wills, part Count Basie, part Willie Nelson, and all charm and class, The Quebe Sisters (pronounced “Kway-bee”) infuse their performances with original songs, traditional compositions, cover tunes and instrumentals. The sisters are backed by a guitarist and upright bass player, and collectively they gracefully breathe new life into old-time music.
We hope it’s handy for you to find Picks grouped together in a single post. The individual Picks can still be found in the usual places online: collected here, and sprinkled throughout all the events.