Rolling from Madison to Spring Green’s Shitty Barn is a pleasure indeed, casting off the summer construction and surrounding traffic of Wisconsin’s capitol into the territory of Taliesin and the American Players Theater. The air becomes more pure, particularly after you pass the half a dozen farms strung together by fields and timber that line Route 14 on the 45-minute drive to The Shitty Barn (left at Rainbow Road, left at Madison, right into the Barn zone). The skyline emerges, particularly interesting as a threatening storm front alternately circled and struck the tiny town Wednesday. As always, if tornadoes approach when you’re outside in an open area, you know what to do: lay in a ditch! Luckily, that course of action was uncalled for.
Few chairs dared show their… backs? in the typically sit-down venue as the sold-out (or damn near) Control and Czarbles show engaged. The pair of Madison-grown bands’ prog-as-fuck, precision-based grooves kept listeners intrigued against the gusty, wet backdrop outside.
Control unleashed their ToolVoltaGazi sound (with just a *hint* of Snapcase) with nary a pause between songs nor a lyric interspersed. Control guitarist Stephen Baraboo told me before the show that 90% of lyrics are horrible. I begged to differ, but that comes from one whose singer songwriter/skills outshine their instrumental prowess. Lyrics or no/few, and prowess aplenty, Control’s tight, tight set satisfied many a pair of ears hungry for crunchy, yet rolling, jams. Check out their newest record. Your organs will rejoice.
Barn proprietor and Furthermore Beer co-founder Chris Staples introed Czarbles‘ set as “if Frank Zappa, Primus and Black Flag had an indiscreet three-way.” These ears detected a sprinkling of White Zombie, if White Zombie came in a sprinkleable form (please, Rob, one day). Raucous as that description suggests, Czarbles kept the full house guessing with odd meters and daredevil transitions that wound around and came back to tap you on the shoulder and yell in your ear (and possibly your rear, as I originally mis-typed) when least expected.
It was an early night at The Barn, a bit of a godsend for those trekking back to Madison on a stormy school night. So, The Shitty Barn, an inviting venue for all. Fraternize with stimulating concert goers of all ages and walks of life. Eat some delicious local food from Enos Farms, whose wholesome and delectable pozole (in a compostable bowl! with a compostable spoon!) was available pre-show. Hominy… who knew?
The ambient, earthy awesomeness continues all summer and into the fall. Get your tickets to hang out with the sexy, brilliant cast and crew of The Shitty Barn, folks, cause they’re going fast.