Summer eases into its second half this week, and the live music season is going strong. The calendar includes: the new Faces in the Sand exhibit at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum; the latest editions of Mad Toast Live and Concerts on the Square; and more tunes by Jessica Lea Mayfield, Mat Kearney, Fountains of Wayne with Jon Auer, William Fitzsimmons, and The Henhouse Prowlers.
NOTEWORTHY: Althea Gibson wins women's singles title to become first black Wimbledon champion, 1957.
BIRTHDAYS: Rapper 50 Cent, 1976.
FULL MOON (BUCK MOON/THUNDER MOON)
NOTEWORTHY: Solar Challenger crosses English Channel, 1981.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor/Beatles drummer Richard Starkey, 1940; figure skater Michelle Kwan, 1980.
Faces in the Sand
Wisconsin Veterans Museum, through July 2010
The permanent exhibits at the indispensable Veterans Museum commemorate the actions of American servicemen and servicewomen in wars dating back to the nation's birth. This new, temporary exhibit examines the as-yet-unfinished business in Iraq and Afghanistan, with interviews, photographs, uniforms and more.
Jessica Lea Mayfield
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
Mayfield's just 19 but channels a thousand years' worth of sadness in her minimalist brand of alt-country, which impressed The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach so much that he recorded her debut album in his home studio. This show was moved from Cafe Montmartre, which just closed, which is a freaking shame. Jentri Colello opens.
Mad Toast Live with Blake Thomas & Josh Harty, Rigel
Brink Lounge, 7:30 pm
Blake Thomas is the real thing when it comes to weary, tuneful, deftly arranged country and roots music. He's joined by Harty, a gifted guitarist who likewise works an Americana vein. The brother-and-sister duo Rigel play traditional Celtic tunes. It all ought to work beautifully with the low-key variety format of Mad Toast Live.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Not a ton of Christian pop-rockers cross over into the mainstream, but Kearney's made a successful attempt by touring with big names such as John Mayer and Jason Mraz, and by letting not-so-Christian TV shows like Dirty Sexy Money feature his singles. Erin McCarley opens.
NOTEWORTHY: Senate confirms Sandra Day O'Connor to U.S. Supreme Court on 99-0 vote, 1981.
BIRTHDAYS: Dreamy Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Houston, 1951; rock star Beck, 1970.
Concerts on the Square
Capitol Square, 7 pm
The European classical tradition meets American popcraft as the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs a program dubbed "Verdi Meets Elvis." There's music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and, yes, Verdi, along with medleys of music by Stephen Foster and, yes, Elvis. Pair that wine and cheese with peanut butter and banana.
Fountains of Wayne, Jon Auer
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Fountains of Wayne understand how to milk the three-minute pop-song format better than most, using a combination of jangly, '60s-style guitar, '90s alt-rock edge and some of the catchiest choruses around to create hits such as "Stacy's Mom." Auer, who rose to fame as frontman of the Posies during the late '80s and more recently by joining Big Star, has taken a deeply personal turn with his first solo effort, Songs From the Year of Our Demise.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
As the son of two blind parents, the sense of sound is especially meaningful to this singer-songwriter, who's used a blend of earthy folk and otherworldly electronica to work through his parents' divorce as well as his own on his last two albums. Jenny Owen Youngs opens.
NOTEWORTHY: French soccer star Zinedine Zidane head-butts Italy's Marco Materazzi in World Cup final and is ejected, 2006.
BIRTHDAYS: Oscar-winning actor/American Film Institute career achiever Tom Hanks, 1956; striped rocker Jack White, 1975.
The Henhouse Prowlers
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
The bluegrass answer to the Hives -- at least in terms of fashion -- the Henhouse Prowlers hit the stage in suits and ties, with a clean-cut set of harmonies and fingerpicking that's about as polished as it gets. The Barley Brothers open.