The Sets List: Fantasia, Zola Jesus, Corey Hart, more

Matthew Reddin, Staff writer

Fantasia Barrino and Friends

7 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Milwaukee Theatre, Milwaukee. $52 to $82.

Sure, American Idol is fighting for relevancy in a TV environment glutted with competitors, but think back to the ‘00s, when winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood became pop superstars practically overnight. And then think back to Fantasia Barrino, the Season 3 winner who’s been boxed out of that same category despite releasing four acclaimed studio albums, starring on Broadway in productions of The Color Purple and musical revue After Midnight, and winning a Grammy — the only Idol winner other than the aforementioned to do so, by the way. So revise that unfair opinion you’re harboring and check out her gig in town, with R&B singers Raheem DeVaughn and El DeBarge opening.

Zola Jesus

9 p.m. Sept. 24 at UW Union Theatre, Madison. Free, while tickets remain.

While Zola Jesus was still Nika Roza Danilova, the Wisconsin native transferred from studying business at UWM to studying French and philosophy at UW-Madison. She graduated in 2010, but by then she’d already released The Spoils, the bold, apartment-recorded debut that started building up her reputation in experimental rock circles. She’s managed to record another four albums since, solidifying her particular blend of industrial, electronic and classical influences with each. 

Corey Hart and the Madpolecats

8 p.m. Sept. 18 at Overture Center, Madison. $12.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Overture Center launched its first-ever talent search, Overture’s Rising Stars, in fall 2014. Last year’s winners, singer/songwriter Corey Hart and his “rastabilly skunkgrass” band the Madpolecats, will make a triumphant return to the stage, performing a set amid this year’s talented contenders — one of whom will take their crown.

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn

8 p.m. Sept. 10 at UW Union Theatre, Madison. $30 to $50.

There’s a time-honored tradition of married musicians hitting the road together, but banjo artists Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn have put it off for most of their married life. This tour changes things — thanks to the couple’s bundle of joy, 2-year-old son Juno, who the couple is taking with them across the country as they perform together for the first time. If banjos are your thing, this is sort of like the Holy Grail of concerts.

Garth Brooks

The last time Garth Brooks played Milwaukee, the biggest question facing Bill Clinton was whether or not he’d be re-elected, not whether or not he’d be impeached. Between a lengthy retirement, five-year Vegas residency and just not booking shows here for reasons we’re not qualified to expound upon, the country megastar hasn’t played a show in Cream City in 19 years. That changes when his comeback tour crosses through the Bradley Center at the end of the month, staying here for two nights and three shows of Garth, Garth, Garth.