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starBonfire Madigan play baroque-folk punk grounded on frontwoman Madigan Shive's soaring lullaby vocals and virtuoso cello skills. Shive, a master of tone and mood, crafts songs with raw, emotional melodies and powerful, unexpected dynamics. — New York Press

starBonfire Madigan is a little string outfit led by the dynamic cellist Madigan Shive ... she stirs up a ruckus. — The New Yorker

starThe howls of a wounded cello and the voice of a tormented angel suffuse the blood-soaked tragedy on the American Conservatory Theater's stage. Above all - literally, seated high amid the massive organ pipes of Walt Spangler's industrial-baroque cathedral set - composer, cellist and vocalist Bonfire Madigan Shive is an electrifying one-woman heavenly choir. — San Francisco Chronicle

starWhat makes the play worth seeing is the live music provided by punk cellist/vocalist Bonfire Madigan Shive, a fascinating performer who connects to the play more viscerally than the actors. — Chad Jones, SF Examiner.com

starA remarkable singer and cellist, Bonfire Madigan Shive, has created music specifically for this production that adds a very edgy and cacophonic background that works perfectly, completely complimentary to the madness and moody nature of this work. — www.forallevents.com/charlesjarrett

starBonfire Madigan Shive contributes a subtly propulsive minimalist musical score (to Shakespeare Santa Cruz's 2010 production of The Lion in Winter), particularly effective in her aching cello solos. — http://www.goodtimessantacruz.com/santa-cruz-arts-entertainment-lifestyles/live-events-music-theater-santa-cruz/1498-family-feudal.html

starThe moments that worked were arresting in ways both predictable (Chan Marshall slouching in a chair and half-whispering the stark verses of "The Needle And The Damage Done") and unexpected (Elliott Sharp and Bonfire Madigan improvising on sections of Young's score for Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man"). — No Depression Magazine

starMadigan Shive emerged into the music scene in the early 1990s while a teen in the Pacific Northwest and was (and still is) connected with the DIY-style activism of music-loving riot grrrls. Playing her cello-based and punk-influenced pop she was a bit of a departure from bands on the scene at the time. The intensity of her voice and power of her words calls to mind musicians like Mecca Normal's Jean Smith. In keeping with her roots, she also continues her work as an activist and was a founding member of The Icarus Project, which takes a radical approach to mental illness, embracing it as a "mad gift" rather than a disorder. I Bleed; it's a great collection that will catch you up on the career of a multi-talented lady with a very powerful voice. — KFJC 89.7 FM | http://spidey.kfjc.org/?p=3686

starBonfire Madigan, Saddle the Bridge: Expression in its purest form... Madigan Shive belts out dangerously raw rhymes as she tangos with her very intimate partner, the cello. Bonfire Madigan, a three piece, could easily be considered a four piece for the large role the cello plays within the sound and performance. The cello intertwines and feeds off of the other musicians, sparking a sensual dance that is beautiful and cinematic. "David Lynch, your films are killing me." This is a must-have. — Kathleen Catastrophe, Buddyhead.com | http://www.buddyhead.com/bonfire-madigan-saddle-the-bridge/

starMadigan Shive is the Bruce Springsteen of chamber punk. — SF Bay Guardian

starMadigan Shive is the vocal and lyrical heart of this avant-garde chamber pop outfit, whose members occasionally rotate. Equal parts feminist polemics, civil disobedience, and raw poetic power, it's not for the faint of heart or weak of mind. Oh, and she plays a mean cello, too. — Village Voice

starA true sacred/secular synthesis – as authentic as the bottlenecked street prayers of Blind Willie Johnson or Jackie Du Pre’s soul-splitting deliverance of Kol Nidre. But Bonfire Madigan Shive is too deep, too raw, too present for us to excavate for dialectical shards. She is music history in the making. We have to catch up. — Nathan Salsburg, Alan Lomax Collection, NYC

starCheck in with her. She’ll leave you spellbound. — LA Weekly

starBonfire Madigan (Madigan Shive) channels the ghost of Tom Cora with her impassioned cello-playing. — The Stranger Seattle, WA

starBoth by herself, and with the rotating ensemble of superior musicians collectively identified as ‘Bonfire Madigan’, I’ve seen her convert neophytes into true believers. It seems almost surreal that so much musical might can emanate from such a diminutive frame. My conjecture was that she must be constructed entirely of talent. The pure. — Brandon Lieberman “Drinking From Puddles” KBOO-FM Portland, OR

starWhile surface comparisons abound, Bonfire Madigan is truly in a league of their own. Infusing a perfect meld of poetry and deliberate rawness, blending some of the finest musicianship to ever come out of Kill Rock Stars and the gorgeous and haunting lyrics of a master. — Pop Matters

starSinger-composer-vocalist Madigan Shive is Bessie Smith reincarnated as a punk rock cellist, as progressive and liberal as they come. Her powerful voice conveys irresistible emotion and her music creates a new language that is as ancient as the oldest Indian medicine woman and as modern as intergalactic space travel. — Tricia Halloran, "Brave New World" KCRW-FM Santa Monica, CA

starOn Fire: Of all the zany places for a singing cellist to perform, the ultra-imaginative and captivating Bonfire Madigan has chosen, in a repeat appearance, the Cloverdale Plaza. There's gotta be some secret connection—maybe her brother works at Pick's Drive-In? Because surely Madigan, who's just finished a lauded run with ACT's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, for which she composed and performed the music, has bigger things on her mind. One part PJ Harvey, one part Arthur Russell and one part Jacqueline du Pré, Madigan in concert is dazzling; she can build a skyscraper of sound with a full-bodied fortissimo and then knock it into dust in one breath. Once a stray puzzle piece on the early '90s Olympia scene, Madigan has settled quite comfortably into San Francisco's Mission district. Buy her a milkshake at Pick's when she performs, inexplicably, on Friday, July 18, at the Cloverdale Plaza, Cloverdale Boulevard, between First and Second streets, Cloverdale, CA. — Bohemian.com Week of July 16-22, 2008 Picks by Gabe Meline

starMadigan Shive is sonic civil disobedience. She replaces the bullhorn with a massive avant-pop assault on cynicism, settling for crumbs, and sitting on the sidelines. Even if it has failed to do so many times before, she makes you believe that music can change the world . The soundtrack to a thousand revolutions starts here. — James Tracy “Civil Disobedience Handbook: A Brief History and Practical Guide for the Politically Disenchanted.”

stari bleed is truly a worthy introduction to the works of Bonfire Madigan, showing where Madigan Shive had been and where her band’s music is heading. It’s impossible to listen to these songs and not feel her passion .... — Jeff Marsh, Delusions of Adequacy

starBonfire Madigan took the stage and proceeded to rock my socks off. Frontwoman Madigan Shive plays the cello. Hardcore. She alternates between strumming it on her lap like a guitar, and playing it upright with a bow. Overlaying the innovative musical style is a vocal performance that can range from ethereal to ragged in the same song. Topping off the whole package are laudably idealist and socially-conscious lyrics. Bonfire Madigan manages to uplift you without miring you in sap. This ain't yo' mamma's pop music. It's post-punk-folk-rock, Madigan-style. And it totally rules. — Betsy Crombie, Portland State University Vanguard

starMadigan Shive is a baroque folk-punk diva who loves clashing tone with mood. Her deep, strong voice is soulful when she’s wrathful and sexy when she’s standoffish. And she plays a mean cello to boot. —The Boston Phoenix

starNo longer will demented minds have to wonder what might have occurred had P.J. Harvey been a cellist of compelling ability. Madigan Shive, a k a Bonfire Madigan, has shown us the way. Mind you, the only real comparisons to Harvey exist in Shive's wonderously soulful voice that seems to come from the depths, but there it is. You will play "Mad Skywriting" over and over again, for its funky syncopations that are effortlessly balanced with a droning cello melody, and Shive's irresistible singing. Ascending and plummeting through the scale, growling and bellowing, this damsel is bowing out some serious jams. — Chicago Sun-Times

starBonfire Madigan was great and her band was outstanding. They had a real sense of musicianship without lapsing into jazz. It was delightful and refreshing and didn't sound like anything else. Well, maybe it sounded like the bastard child of Bjork and Tom Waits, but I think that pretty much doesn't sound like anything else. Also, her wind player dude (Ralph Carney) played not one but two instruments that I couldn't identify - one was an apparently homemade thingy that looked like a piece of split bamboo with a clarinet mouthpiece on it and sounded like a theremin only acoustic. — blogsy.smartyboots.net San Francisco Noise Pop Festival, Bimbo's show review 02/27/2004

starI first met and worked with the charismatic cellist and singer Madigan Shive at Hal Willner's Neil Young tribute last summer so I was pleased to hear that she had moved to NYC and would be doing a series at the Knitting Factory. She invited me to join her on this final evening so I packed my Guild Nightbird and headed down to a venue that I had not set foot in for nearly 2 years (for many good reasons!) It was good to see that a few old friends were still working there (hopefully under not-too-horrible conditions!) but true to form, the heat was off and there was a touch of chaos in the air. Adam, the sound-engineer was extremely helpful and Madigan and I accomplished a brief soundcheck and rehearsal. She began her set joined by Spacecraft on vocal beatbox and flute and their resonance was obvious. After a few solo pieces including one titled "Cage" which invoked his spirit along with Charlotte Moorman and Moondog, I joined Madigan for three tunes full of manic energy, varied textures, and her passionate singing and cello playing. A treat!
Elliott Sharp, Jan. 24, 2005, Knitting Factory, NYC | http://www.repple.se/datacide/road05.html

starBMad. Avant Garde is no longer retro. — Ken Stein, San Francisco Mayor's Office

starAs a live performer Shive is rousing theatrical in expression and movement... with a keen ability for poetic lyrics and a voice that pulls emotion right out of her belly. — Time Out New York

star... she is astounding. A fifth-generation Washingtonian, Shive brings a deep sense of history and place to the Northwest music scene, and seeing her perform is a confirmation that this region is special, and continues to produce wonders. — Grant Cogswell, The Stranger Seattle, WA

starBonfire Madigan, AKA Madigan Shive, is one of my favorite musicians of all time. She clutches her cello like a life-raft, singing in gorgeous yelps and hums. It doesn’t really matter if you like the kind of music Bonfire Madigan sings, because she does it so soulfully and gracefully, you can’t help but stand there openmouthed, gawking at her vocals and cello.— JS The Mercury Portland, OR

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