One of the great aspects of Dubuque living are the options for visiting larger cities. Since I lived in a Dubuque version of the show COPS during a previous weekend (thanks for visiting, Mom and little brother) , I decided it was time to unwind and take myself out-of-town. Iowa City, the Quad Cities, and Chicago are all options; however, my choice for this weekend was Madison, Wisconsin, which is only a ninety-mile drive to the northeast.
Madison is a beautiful city, but I had another motive for visiting…the Great Lake Swimmers. I first encountered the Toronto-based Great Lake Swimmers a couple years ago while I was watching Weeds. Rocky Spine was featured on one of the episodes, and I was hooked immediately on the haunting folksy sound (for Weeds fans out there, the song plays when Nancy and Conrad make sweet, sweet forbidden love for the first time). So, naturally, when I found out the Great Lake Swimmers were playing a free concert at the Memorial Union at UW-Madison, I was there quicker than you can say “Ma’am, is everything alright here?” (quote from the police at my door last weekend…really).
I’m not all that familiar with Madison, but here’s what I did while I was there. Next time, I’ll get a full tour. I’m holding you to that, RB.
Friday night I arrived at the Baymont Inn West (cheap, decent, about 12 miles west of downtown, smells like cigarettes and pot roast).
Shortly after getting back in my Taurus, I became happily lost in downtown Madison. With a few wrong turns and parking illegally, I felt like I was off to a great start. I’m a big believer in getting lost as I think it’s the best way to find the things you love. Anyway, in my lost state, I snapped some photos of the capitol building and the surrounding streets.
After a fantastic sushi dinner at Muramoto Restaurant on King Street, I headed to the Memorial Union, bought a beer, and sat with a bunch of college kids in what appeared to be a cafeteria.
The opening folk band, The Wooden Birds from Austin, Texas, was really impressive although almost no one was listening. Damn kids (fist shaking in the air)! I really like the song Seven Seventeen.
The next couple photos bite. Sorry.
The Great Lake Swimmers put on a fantastic show despite the cafeteria venue. Their folksy sound and haunting lyrics are captivating. I managed to weasel my way to the front row right at the feet of the band.
Simple and amazing.
Saturday morning rolled around too quickly. Before I left, I ate the best scone of my life at Lazy Jane’s Cafe on Williamson Street, and took one last scenic drive around the city.
Here’s the view…
WHY CAN’T I PRONOUNCE ISTHMUS?!