Wisconsin Funk Fest, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. Tickets: $10. Call 608-255-0901.
The 2018 Wisconsin Funk Fest features four acts guaranteed to warm up even the coldest January night: Porky’s Groove Machine, Red Rose, DJ Phil Money and headliners The People Brothers Band.
The People Brothers Band performs an original take on rhythm and blues, funk, rock and soul music. The six-piece band has become a local favorite for its eclectic blend of high-energy, soulful music. The band’s two lead singers—Teresa Marie and Bobby G—rank among the top vocalists in the Midwest. When backed by this powerhouse band that includes first-rate musicians on lead guitar, saxophone and keyboards, they’re sure to have audiences up and dancing from beginning to end.
The band bills itself as a rhythm and soul group, and “at least half of us are rooted in the jam band scene and are influenced by The Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers and Phish,” said co-founder Tim Lochner, who sings and plays rhythm guitar.
The band also turns out the occasional slow dance song written by one of its lead singers.
“We do mostly original music,” Lochner said. “We strive to write a lot of our own material. Our keyboard player, Bobby Gronna, and singer Teresa Marie write almost all of our songs, but everybody else has a part in the arrangements. It’s really a true democracy in this band.”
Lochner said band members perform solely for the pleasure and joy of making music.
“Nobody’s making money in this band,” he said. “But we’ve found the perfect balance. The common denominator to making it in this band is you can’t let money be the driving force.”
Porky’s Groove Machine is an eight-piece band featuring top players on tenor sax, trombone, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums and lots of percussion. The group formed in 2011.
Red Rose is a five-piece “trip-hop” band that integrates live electronics and nonstop loops, similar to a DJ with live instruments. The band combines live loops with heavy dance beats powered by keyboards, bass, guitar and a tight horn section.
Tribal Seeds, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., Madison. Tickets: $15. Call 608-255-0901.
Reggae band Tribal Seeds was formed in 2005 by the Jacobo brothers, singer Steven and producer Tony-Ray. The group issued its debut album, “Youth Rebellion,” that same year.
The album was the first of several to be released on the group’s own label, including a self-titled album in 2008 and “The Harvest” the next year. The band released an EP in 2011, and in 2014 recorded “Representing,” an album that cracked the Billboard 200 albums chart. It featured guest appearances from Don Carlos, Mykal Rose, and Midnite’s Vaughn Benjamin.
The band originated in San Diego, California, and it is known for its spiritually driven, refreshing rock vibe infused with the roots of reggae music. The album “Representing” debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Reggae Charts and contains 12 original songs.
Tribal Seeds is currently working on its fifth full-length album, which is scheduled to be released early this year.
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, The Riverside Theater, 116 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. For tickets, call 414-286-3663.
Jason Isbell is one of the country’s leading Americana singer-songwriters. He has released six studio and three live albums since his debut solo album in 2007, and he has won two Grammy Awards for his 2015 album, “Something More Than Free.”
Isbell and his band, the 400 Unit, released their latest album, “The Nashville Sound,” in June 2017. It reached No. 1 on several Billboard album charts. Isbell has been leading the band since leaving his former band, The Drive-by Truckers, in 2007.
The 2013 album, “Southeastern,” was a huge success. National Public Radio music critic Ken Tucker named it his favorite album of the year and wrote: “No music moved me more, did more to make me think about life a bit differently, than Jason Isbell’s continually revelatory album ‘Southeastern.’ It cohered as a statement about love, regret, loneliness and joy, and also about what it’s like to make vernacular music concerning these themes. It was self-conscious without being self-absorbed.”
Isbell followed with “Something More than Free” in 2015, which reflected his upcoming fatherhood. The album reached No. 1 on a several Billboard music charts: country, folk and rock.
“The Nashville Sound” debuted at No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and climbed to No. 1 on the indie, folk, country and rock charts. It was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2017 Country Music Association awards ceremony, and it also was nominated for Best Americana Album in the 2018 Grammy Awards.
Kevin Hart, 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, The Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center, 1881 Expo Mall East, Madison. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.
Comedian Kevin Hart has been massively successful since getting his big break in the entertainment field in 2001, when he was cast for a recurring role on the TV series “Undeclared.” The series lasted only one season, but it got Hart’s face and talents out for others in the industry to see, and he soon landed roles in other television shows and movies.
Hart’s comedic reputation grew with the release of his first stand-up album, “I’m a Grown Little Man,” in 2008 and other performances in a number of films.
Hart’s national comedy tours have been huge hits, beginning with his first in 2009, also called “I’m a Grown Little Man.” He followed with the “Seriously Funny” tour in 2010, and his “Laugh at My Pain” tour in 2011 reportedly grossed more than $15 million—making it one of the year’s top-selling comedy tours, according to his website.
Hart is known for self-deprecating humor, which often focuses on his height, and how he fails to live up to traditional male definitions.