Highlights: March 16-20

(First published in the March 15, 2018 issue of City Pages)

Switchback: American Roots & Celtic Soul



Drawing on traditional Celtic music and Americana songs, Switchback’s sound reflects their Irish heritage and Midwestern roots, with music that also touches on classic country and pop. Their incredible harmonies have been compared to other famous duos such as the Everly Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel. The Music Connection Magazine says, “There is no denying the stunning vocal blends that are achieved by this duo.” The Grand also offers a pre-show event with a traditional Irish dinner for $25 with a performance ticket. Show at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $25. 715-842-0988, grandtheater.org.

St. Patrick’s Day with Bobby Blues Tortured Soul


It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without green beer and music. You’ll get both, plus Rock 94.7’s “Scary” Terry Stevens giving away concert tickets. Bobby Blues Tortured Soul began as a classic rock cover band, but has evolved into a five-piece rock and blues band playing original and cover tunes. This band loves audience participation and makes having fun a primary goal of their performances—they love seeing you groove to their tunes, so wear your dancing shoes while you get your Irish on. 8 pm. 715-359-5300.

Baby Wants Candy



Alex Elena

Funniest. Show. Ever. That’s what you hear over and over about this improv comedy troupe that creates musicals on the spot. And it’s why the troupe is back by popular demand for the third year in a row for the Nicolet Live performance series. Most of you know about the Chicago-based Second City comedy troupe that served as a comedic incubator for legendary stars. Baby Wants Candy, also based in Chicago, has similar claims to fame, including Jack McBrayer, Rachel Dratch and Stephanie Weir. It happens like this: Audience members shout out words that become the title of a brand-new musical. While the actors make up everything on the spot, the full band provides live backup. This takes improv comedy to a new level, with singing, dancing and absurd drama. “Not only do the six performers develop consistent story lines and a sprawling cast of characters, but also rhyming lyrics and some crude, synchronized choreography… truly amazing,” said the New York Times. 7:30 pm. $15. Tickets at Nicoletlive.com.

Women of Science


March is Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to hear stories about the amazing women who have contributed to the worlds of paleontology and anthropology. Hear Dino Dave Daniels share stories of female scientists like Mary Leakey, a British paleoanthropologist who discovered the skull of an extinct ape believed to be ancestral to humans. Hear about Sue Hendrickson, an American paleontologist who discovered the remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex in South Dakota, and more. A portion of all admission on Saturday will go to support The Women’s Community in Wausau. Presentations at 10:30 am & 1 pm. Museum admission: $6, $5 seniors. Colossalfossils.com.



Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Celtic music by this Central Wisconsin, seven-member family band. They perform traditional 18th century, toe-tapping Scottish fiddle tunes, Irish music, and their own compositions. Their concerts integrate music, poems, worship, and dance with a positive message for the whole family. You’ll also learn some Scottish history with Pastor Ron Johnson acting as master of ceremonies. These guys know Scottish music and have even played in Scotland. 7 pm. $8 adults, $7 students and seniors, free 11 and under. Chesnutarts.org, 715-389-8999.

Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys



This concert features the artists widely attributed to the renaissance of Americana music. In 1993 in Nashville, Chuck Mead founded the alternative country group BR5-49. The honky tonk rockers earned three Grammy nominations, a Country Music Association award, and helped launch a renewed appreciation for American roots music both at home and abroad. In 2009 Mead released his acclaimed solo debut album and began performing with His Grassy Knoll Boys around the world, sharing the stage with Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers and the legendary Loretta Lynn. Their upbeat sound is a great blend of traditional country, Western swing and high energy rockabilly. $25 general, $30 reserved. 4 pm. Rubbersoulproductions.com.

Kinesthetic Typography closing reception



Helen Lee, assistant professor and head of glassworking at UW-Madison has had works featured all over the U.S.—the Minnesota Museum of American Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Chrysler Museum of Glass Studio and more. In her Kinesthetic Typography exhibition at the UW-Stevens Point, text takes on a physical form as glass is masterfully shaped into letters. As her exhibit closes, catch her artist talk at the closing reception, and see her fun, bright and funky work before it’s too late. Exhibit on display thru March 19. Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 am-4 pm; Thurs. 7-9 pm. Sat.-Sun. 1-4 pm. Closing reception and artist talk at 4 pm. Free. 715-346-4797, uwsp.edu.

Kyle Cook of Matchbox Twenty



If you’re a fan of the popular rock group Matchbox Twenty, get excited as Kyle Cook, lead guitar, banjo and backup vocalist for the band performs solo. As an instrumentalists and songwriter, Cook clearly enjoys all aspects of the music business—he even started his own record label, Tennessee Recording Company. His solo work has a singer-songwriter vibe rather than the alternative rock sound of Matchbox Twenty. Influenced by songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, Cook explores mature topics about struggling, substance abuse and unfulfilled dreams. Cook will be opened by the duo of Sam Kuusisto and Paul Mayasich. 7:30 pm. $25 reserved, $20 general. Voxmarshfield.com.