About Tori Dexter

Just another highly caffeinated anthropology major at UW Madison trying to bust into the music industry. Likes: indie rap, dancing poorly, pretending to be funny, and having the keys to places that most people don't have the keys to. Dislikes: ketchup, country music, and heart shaped jewelry Find out more at http://toriann4493.wordpress.com/

WUD Music’s Official List of Lists: #2

Katy Lang (Sett AD): Top WUD Shows of 2014

As Tori said, it’s pretty much mandatory for every music blog to do a Top Ten list for just about everything imaginable, and we will not be caught slacking. I chose to write my list on the Top WUD Shows of 2014 because I think we’re pretty fan-freakin’-tastic and need to brag about all the awesome stuff we’ve done one more time before the year ends.

Listed below you will find (some of) the best music performances The Wisconsin Union had to offer this year. The following 10 (13 actually, whoops) shows were included because they satisfied at least one of the following criteria:

  • I went to this show and I danced. A lot.
  • I went to this show and I yammered nonstop about it to everyone I met for at least two weeks following the event.
  • The audience for this show rocked.
  • My fellow WUDdies loved this show.
  • I heard randos talking about this show in lecture halls, the library, Walgreens, etc.
  • I did not go to this show and I regretted it for quite some time afterward.
  • This show made me so incredibly proud of what WUD Music does I smiled like a lunatic/shed a tear.

So, behold, the official Top Ten Thirteen WUD Shows of 2014*.

  1. Denzel Curry and Deniro Farrar
  2. Asgeir
  3. Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers
  4. Vinyl Theatre & The Millenium
  5. Astronautalis
  6. Typhoon
  7. The Mowglis
  8. Betty Who
  9. Dizzy Wright
  10. San Fermin
  11. Caroline Smith
  12. Sharon Van Etten
  13. Joywave


*Listed in no particular order



WUD Music’s Official List of Lists: #1

What’s up, loyal blog readers! It’s your friendly WUD Music leadership team here. We’re a music blog, and everyone knows that in order to keep your official music blog certification, you’re required by law to publish at least one “Best-of” list every year. So we’re being overachievers, and having our whole team make a best-of list of their very own. We’ll be publishing a new one each day, so keep checking back! 

Tori Dexter (Director): Top 10 Concerts of 2014

This is a total cop out of a list. In addition to bending the rules in order to include 12 shows in my list of 10 (hey look at me, I’m the Big 10 Conference!), I added a whole bunch of honorable mentions. But hey, I’m in charge, I do what I want.

Honorable Mentions:

Jack White w/ Benjamin Booker (The Rave, Milwaukee WI)
Pretty standard explanation here – Jack White was amazing and this was a great introduction to Benjamin Booker but The Rave is just the worst. Bad sound quality, and about 6,000 degrees with 900% humidity. I looked like I’d just hopped out of a bathtub when we finally got out of there.

Jack White forbids photography at his shows, so instead, here's a picture of me doing stupid human tricks before the show started.

Jack White forbids photography at his shows, so instead, here’s a picture of me doing stupid human tricks before the show started.

Outkast (Lollapalooza, Chicago IL)
Seeing Outkast live, while fireworks exploded overhead, on what was probably their last tour ever made a ticket to Lolla worth it even if I hadn’t watched a single other show. This show would be higher on the list, but the stage was so packed that I was almost half a mile from the stage (and I’m only barely exaggerating). However, I could have been on the other side of the park and would have still mentioned Outkast on the list- c’mon, they’re living legends!

This is actually a picture that I took on my phone while physically witnessing this happen. I know, right?

This is actually a picture that I took on my phone while physically witnessing this happen. I know, right?

Revelry Music and Arts Festival (Langdon Street and Memorial Union, Madison WI)
Revelry was AMAZING, but I was working it for so long that I hardly got to see any of the artists. However, I managed to find a free half hour to watch Dillon Francis from backstage, and the experience of watching a crowd go nuts in front of a stage that you watched appear out of the back of a truck 12 hours earlier is an experience that 100% deserves a mention. Long live Revelry.


WRECKFAST (Somewhere on Charter Street, Madison WI)
The CATCH WRECK label in Madison put on a house show where $5 got you CRASHprez, Lord of the Fly, Kiazma, *hitmayng, whoever else played before I got there, AND unlimited beer, bacon, and pancakes. I have yet to go to a single rap show that couldn’t have been improved by the addition of bacon and pancakes. Everyone else should be taking notes.

Sumo Cyco and Tartar Control (The Bovine Sex Club – NXNE, Toronto ON)
This was possibly the single strangest night of my life. Have you ever seen one of those dogs that’s so ugly it’s cute? It probably had something to do with all the Vodka Redbulls or the fact that I’d only slept once in 3 days, but this show was so weird, it was good

Now, on to the list! Drumroll please…

10. The Mowgli’s w/ Misterwives (High Noon Saloon, Madison WI)
The Mowgli’s also did a show at the Sett that was SO much fun, which would have made this list over the High Noon show, EXCEPT for the addition of Misterwives at the High Noon. The Mowgli’s are such professionals and they put on a happy, dopamine soaked set every time I see them, but I fell newly in love with Misterwives that night, and at the same time as this show went rocketing into the top ten, their EP went rocketing into my “most played” on iTunes.


9. St Vincent (Yonge-Dundas Square – NXNE, Toronto ON)

I didn’t quite know what to expect going in to this one. I’d had her most recent album on repeat for months and she was one of the artists I was most excited to see at this festival, but her recorded stuff was just so perfectly weird that I couldn’t imagine how it would carry that over to a live show. Suffice it to say, I’m a convert, and I completely stand by the statement that a love of St. Vincent isn’t even complete until you’ve seen her live. She comes out blazing with metallic outfits and teased purple hair, dances robotically, falls off of set piece in slow motion, and does all this while continuing to be one of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen. We dipped out early to catch LE1F and Danny Brown (a show that also deserves a shout), but I’m so ready to see her again and stick around for the long haul this time. Check out this video of her set at Pitchfork Paris for a taste.

8. Volcano Choir w/ Sylvan Esso (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee WI) / Astronautalis w/ Steve Roggenbuck (The Sett, Madison WI)
Could NOT choose between these two, so I’m cheating and including them both. Volcano Choir is a collaboration between Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and members of Collections of Colonies of Bees, and this show was the last stop on their tour/maybe their last show together? Ya never know with Justin. Anyway, they had one of the most phenomenal stage and lighting setups I’ve ever seen and my GOD that music is beautiful. Justin Vernon’s voice just breaks my heart every time I hear it. Plus, Sylvan Esso was the un-announced opener, which was one of the more pleasant surprises I’ve ever experienced.
Astronautalis was part of LitFest at UW Madison, and was one of the WUD Music shows I most enjoy bragging about. For as much as I’d talked about him and obsessively listened to his albums, I’d actually never seen him live, so I was looking forward to this for a long time. Steve Roggenbuck, a spoken word artist, was a really interesting opener, but Astronautalis was the main attraction and he did NOT disappoint. After a great set in a packed room, he went on a glorious rant about getting what you want in life right before he left the stage, and then I got to take a picture with him and he complimented my shirt. It was a good day.


7. Dessa w/ Caroline Smith (The Majestic, Madison WI)
I know, I know, Tori put a Dessa show in her top 10, what a surprise. I don’t even need the sass from ya’ll right now. Dessa and her band regularly put on a great show, but the addition of the goddess that is Caroline Smith and Dessa’s glorious whiskey-soaked rant at the end of the show about how we live in a wonderful and unique place and should appreciate that made this show even better than any of the other 15 Dessa sets I’ve stalked.

At this show, Dessa recognized me in the crowd from when I booked her at the Sett and called me out by name - at least I hear that's what happened, but think I blacked out.

At this show, Dessa recognized me in the crowd from when I booked her at the Sett and called me out by name – at least I hear that’s what happened, but think I blacked out.

6. The Naked and Famous (The Majestic, Madison WI)
Holy guacamole TNAF puts on a great live show. It was sold out, which is always fun in the Majestic, and the lighting was gorgeous. Everyone in the band just radiated energy and passion, and my ears were ringing for hours. I was not upset about it. I honestly don’t have much more to say, this show just filled me with so much joy and every time I listen to their album, it brings me right back.


5. Chance the Rapper (Lollapalooza, Chicago IL)
I’ve seen Chance a few times and it was honestly an amazing experience going from seeing him in The Sett with maybe 200 other people, to watching him headline one of the biggest music festivals in the world. Chance the Rapper is a natural performer – he’s goofy and charming and it was written all over his face how happy he was to be up on that stage. I really can’t say enough good things about this kid. But what really took this show from good to insane was the fact that R. FREAKING. KELLY showed up and they did “Ignition” together. Add that to the list of things I never in a million years thought I’d see. Also, shoutout to his surprise appearance during Vic Mensa’s set earlier that day – you can really tell how much those two genuinely enjoy performing together in the place they both call home.

4. Sylvan Esso (Majestic, Madison WI) / Lizzo (Some random streetcar – NXNE, Toronto ON)
Cheating again. Sylvan Esso is the coolest. With the notable exception of the topless chick gyrating all over her boyfriend directly in front of us, I loved everything that happened this night. Their album is great, but their live show blows it out of the water.
Lizzo bounced and twerked and rapped her face off on a moving train car as it careened around the city of Toronto. I have rarely seen someone tear it up as hard as she and Sophia Eris did, much less while standing on a seat or hanging off a handrail. The single bad thing about this set was that it didn’t go on for longer.


3. Doomtree Blowout (First Avenue, Minneapolis MN)
The Doomtree Blowout is an annual banger at First Ave, and it’s been going on for 10 years now. However, the Minneapolis rap collective decided that doing this for an 11th year sounded sad (I’d beg to differ, but nobody asked me), meaning that this year was the #LastBlowoutEver. Because it was the last one, they did a show every day of the week from Sunday to the following Saturday, and we drove 5 hours up for the Thursday one. If I hadn’t known, there’s no way I’d have guessed that we were watching their 5th show in 5 days because they tore it up like they hadn’t performed together in months. I’ve been to Blowout before, but there was an energy, an urgency to this one that was completely new. Add to that the fact that P.O.S. is finally healthy and performing again after a 2 year long health scare and the killer intermission set from a bunch of local performers (including the inimitable Har Mar Superstar), and you have a near-perfect way to spend a December night in Minneapolis while skipping your last two days of fall semester.

As many members of Doomtree as I could get in a single frame

As many members of Doomtree as I could get in a single frame.

2. Run The Jewels (Lollapalooza, Chicago IL)
Killer Mike’s dancing. That is all. On top of that, the banter between him and El-P always makes you feel like you’re kicking it in your living room with a couple of friends, if your friends happened to be some of the best rappers in the game. A lot of their material came from RTJ1, they played almost every song on the album, but the best part was that they also drew HEAVILY from RTJ2, which was still 2 or 3 months away from being released at that point. It really says something about what a devoted audience they’ve created that the crowd went nuts for every single track, old and new. Even though Run The Jewels performed at a small stage in the middle of the afternoon, they turned up like they were headliners and made the whole audience believe that they should have been.

Your girl was in the 2nd row for this one. Awwww yeah.

Your girl was in the 2nd row for this one. Awwww yeah.

1. Betty Who w/ DJ Nick Nice (The Terrace, Madison WI)
I’m almost certainly biased because I booked this one, but this was THE MOST FUN show. It was a gorgeous June night, the sun was setting, I got to hang out with Betty Who’s parents for a while, I danced a lot, Betty’s set was great, tons of people showed up for it, and I witnessed Nick Pjevach (the Director in 2012-13) pluck a mayfly out of a cup of beer and eat it whole. If I remember right, we even went to Plaza (the world’s best bar, for the uninitiated) after the show was over. It was as close as I’ve come in all of my 21 years to a perfect night.

Betty Who

Welcome Back!

Happy Labor Day weekend, WUD Music friends and family! We had an absolutely amazing summer here at The Terrace, dancing along to everything from Celtic rock bands, to sunny pop singers, to killer hip-hop groups. However, we’re SO excited and energized to have all our students back on campus and we’re ready to get to work booking, promoting, and watching awesome live music on campus and beyond.

Head on over to the “Calendar” tab to check out our list of announced shows for fall, then take to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and let us know what you’re most excited for.

Sign up for our email list here to get our email newsletter, containing updates, new announcements, and info on upcoming shows.

If you’d like to join our team of enthusiastic, music-loving students, come say hi to us at the Union South Sunburst Festival (9/4), the Student Org Fair (9/10 and 9/11), or our fall kickoff meeting (9/18 at 8:00 PM). We’d love to meet you!

And finally, stay tuned for more fall announcements – we’ve got a great semester lined up.

Summer Terrace Lineup Announcement!

Terrace After Dark

Yes, the rumors are true, it’s finally that time of year again. May 7th is truly the most wonderful day on the calendar because (drumroll please)

…our lineup for the entire summer has been released! We have some incredible fun ready for you on the shores of our beautiful Lake Mendota between the months of May and August. Check out all of our concerts (along with all the Lakeside Cinema movies and other special events) at TerraceAfterDark.com, for more detailed descriptions, times, contact information, band websites, and more. This website will become your go-to resource for all things “Terrace”.

As always, WUD Music will feature a weekly Open Mic Night, Wednesday nights from 7:45-11 PM. Singing, instrument playing, Comedy, poetry all welcome. No house instruments provided, backing tracks can be accommodated.

We will also be bringing back our much-loved Thursday Bluegrass Series, taking place from 5-7 PM. 

Our Friday “happy hour” series, Behind the Beat, will also continue as it has all school year, continuing to happen from 5-7 PM

And we have some INCREDIBLE headlining acts coming through, bringing you live music from 9:30-Midnight on every single Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Get pumped, you guys. It’s going to be another great summer.

Check out our band listing below: 

Fri 5/16/14 Behind the Beat: Tritonics

Fri 5/16/14 16 Candles (Graduation Weekend Dance Party)

Sat 5/17/14 V05 (Graduation Weekend Dance Party)
(two sets)

Fri 5/23/14 Behind the Beat: John Widdicombe Blues Band Combo

Fri 5/23/14 Handphibians

Sat 5/24/14 Jeffrey Broussard

Thurs 5/29/14 Kishi Bashi w/ Busman’s Holiday

Fri 5/30/14 Behind the Beat: The Firebirds

Fri 5/30/14 Swearin’

Sat 5/31/14 Trinidad Tripoli Steel Drum Band

Thurs 6/5/14 Bluegrass Series: Sparetime

Thurs 6/5/14 Brett Newski w/ Pete Donnelly

Fri 6/6/14 Behind the Beat: Drobka/Hastil/Christensen Trio

Fri 6/6/14 JR Donato w/ L.E.X.

Sat 6/7/14 Kikeh Mato w/ Limanya Drum and Dance Ensemble

Thurs 6/12/14 Bluegrass Series: tba

Thurs 6/12/14 Betty Who

Fri 6/13/14 Behind The Beat: The Sundogs

Fri 6/13/14 lazydeadpoet

Sat 6/14/14 The Whiskey Farm w/ Whitney Mann

Thurs 6/19/14 Bluegrass Series: tba

Thurs 6/19/14 Haley Bonar

Fri 6/20/14 Isthmus Jazz Fest (All Day)

Sat 6/21/14 Isthmus Jazz Fest (All Day)

Thurs 6/26/14 Bluegrass Series: Mad Pole Cats

Thurs 6/26/14 Wild Cub w/ Escondido

Fri 6/27/14 Behind the Beat: Little Margie’s Soul Band

Fri 6/27/14 Natty Nation

Sat 6/28/14 Roots Collective

Thurs 7/3/14 Bluegrass Series: Eric Lambert and Friends

Thurs 7/3/14 Carsie Blanton w/ Briar Rabbit

Fri 7/4/14 Behind the Beat: tba

Fri 7/4/14 Hometown Sweethearts

Sat 7/5/14 Gabe Burdulis w/ Sexy Ester & Beth Kille

Thurs 7/10/14 Bluegrass Series: Sortin’ The Mail

Thurs 7/10/14 tba

Fri 7/11/14 Behind the Beat: tba

Fri 7/11/14 Big Leg Emma

Sat 7/12/14 Maffa Rico w/ Zaramela & Ben Karbank

Thurs 7/17/14 Cajun Strangers

Thurs 7/17/14 Sharon Van Etten w/ Jana Hunter

Fri 7/18/14 Behind the Beat: Charlier Painter

Fri 7/18/14 tba

Sat 7/19/14 F. Stokes w/ Frankie Flowers

Thurs 7/24/14 Bluegrass Series: tba

Thurs 7/24/14 tba

Fri 7/25/14 Behind the Beat: tba

Fri 7/25/14 Madison County w/ Mark Croft

Sat 7/26/14 WADOMA w/ Tani Diakite and the Afro Funk Stars

Thurs 7/31/14 Bluegrass Series: Jack Klatt Trio

Thurs 7/31/14 San Fermin

Fri 8/1/14 Behind the Beat: tba

Fri 8/1/14 Ariada w/ Honey & the 45s

Sat 8/2/14 ROE

Thurs 8/7/14 Bluegrass Series: tba

Thurs 8/7/14 Matrimony

Fri 8/8/14 Behind the Beat: Tim Whalen Trio

Fri 8/8/14 Adelyn Rose w/ Softly Dear Jake & Armerding

Sat 8/9/14 Caroline Smith

Fri 8/15/14 Alison Margaret Jazz Quintet

Fri 8/15/14 Pat McCurdy

Sat 8/16/14 Johnny Chimes w/ The Queenie McCarter Band (Blues Fest)

Fri 8/22/14 Behind the Beat: tba

Fri 8/22/14 Kissers (Irish Fest)

Sat 8/23/14 Whiskey of the Damned (Irish Fest)

Fri 8/29/14 Behind the Beat: tba

Fri 8/29/14 Steez

Sat 8/30/14 John Vietnam Day

Fri 9/5/14 David Gerald

Sat 9/6/14 The Dig

Saturday in Der Rath: No Bird Sing w/ deM atlaS & Max Meridius

No Bird Sing Cover Photo


* The start time of this show has been pushed back from 9:30 to 10 PM.*

If you’ve spend any amount of time with me (on the blog or in *GASP* the real, live, actual world), you’ve probably figured out that I’m slightly obsessed with midwest hip-hop. So naturally, this Saturday is an exciting one for me.

No Bird Sing is making their triumphant return to Madison, this time playing at Der Rathskeller after opening for Dessa at the Sett this past fall. They’re a socially conscious hip-hop group consisting of a drummer/producer (Graham O’Brien), a guitarist/producer (Robert Mulrennan), and an emcee (Joe Horton), repping the FIX Artist Collective out of Minneapolis. Most recently, they’ve been on the road with Atmosphere, Strange Famous labelmate Toki Wright, and the newest addition to the Rhymesayers roster, deM atlaS (more on him later), on the Welcome to Minnesota tour, where they got the chance to exhibit their unique style to packed houses across the frozen north.

Their sound, “ranging from stark minimalism to lush expansiveness”, cuts through crowds with an intense, concentrated power that makes people shut up and listen. Their newest album, Definition Sickness, dropped November of this year, featuring guest spots from FIX cohorts (Kristoff Krane), SFR artists (Sage Francis), and other acclaimed Minneapolis musicians (Aby Wolf and Sadistik).

And speaking of acclaimed Minneapolis musicians, deM atlaS. After signing to Rhymesayers this fall and immediately joining the Welcome to Minnesota tour, he’s generated some considerable buzz, and for good reason. After dropping his Charle Brwn EP in early 2013, everyone took notice of his fast paced, wildly energetic delivery and lyrics describing his feelings of kinship with cartoon character Charlie Brown.

UW’s own Max Meridius will open the show up. Check out his newest single, Heir on iTunes, or Olympians, a cut from his upcoming Elysium mixtape, featuring campus favorite CRASHprez.

Call it a brain trust, call it a party, call it a rap show, but whatever you call it, you’re going to want to get to the Ratheksller on Saturday to see of some of the midwest’s best hip-hop. Show starts at 10 PM and as always, IT’S FREE.

If you want monthly updates on FREE live shows in Madison, click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Tapedeck Tuesday: 2013 Wrap-up

It’s been one hell of a year here at WUD Music.

WUD dj table

We booked THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY EIGHT different bands. We’ve hosted rappers, comedians, and poets. We’ve booked a country fest and a reggae fest. We’ve set up for bands ranging from a guy and his guitar to a full orchestra. Our shows have survived thunderstorms, snow emergencies, power outages, construction, equipment malfunctions and insanity of all kinds.

And now we’re here, completely finished with shows for 2013 and looking back on the year, filled with deep satisfaction and desperately needing a nap. But before we say goodbye to the year for good, we thought we’d wrap things up properly. Below is a playlist of just some of the artists that made a stop here at our humble home during this arbitrary period of the earth’s rotation around the sun.

Check it out, and let us know what you loved, what you didn’t, and what you’d like to see on the playlist by this time next year. And until then, stay warm, listen to lots of good music, and have a wonderful holiday. We’ll see you back here in 2014.


Saturday in Der Rath: Cymbals Eat Guitars w/ Stagnant Pools

cymbals eat guitars

This show is currently topping my “Favorite Band Names of the Semester” list, and with a lineup like ours, that’s quite an impressive feat. But, the (slightly frightening) imagery that the names evoke are most certainly NOT the only impressive things about these two bands.

Cymbals Eat Guitars has a sound that is NOTHING like the musically cannibalistic cacophony that their name suggests. They display incredible cohesion as a band, allowing them to stay true to their indie rock origins while also experimenting with more adventurous ambient and psychedelic sounds. The result is something really inventive, full of interesting hooks and melodies that rarely do what the listener expects.

This complexity is what landed them gigs opening for Lost Campesinos! and playing at Lollapalooza after they dropped their debut album, Why Are There Mountains. After an international tour and a retreat back to New Jersey to record, their second album, Lenses Alien, came out in September of this year. It’s a really interesting listen, with dark and fragmented lyrical lines, that Pitchfork called “a cosmic, philosophical treatise disguised as an indie rock record”. For those of you who like bands that give you something to think about, Cymbals Eat Guitars is your match made in musical heaven.

Stagnant Pools joins Cymbals Eat Guitars on their fall tour, following them all the way from sea to shining sea. The band is made up of a pair of brothers from Indiana, who released their first album, Temporary Room in 2012, right after graduating from college (so naturally they’ll be right at home here in Madtown). They’ve been jamming out since they were kids, and all that practice has indeed made perfect, as their sound has earned comparisons to Sonic Youth and Joy Division and they’ve toured the country with their label-mates, Japandroids. And if these accolades don’t convince you, just take a listen for yourself.

The Rathskeller starts rocking at 9:30, with Cymbals Eat Guitars on at 10:30. And, since you can’t put a price on live music, we didn’t (as with all our usual WUD Music shows, this is FREE).