Damon Johnson & Ricky Warwick
Saturday, April 22, 8 p.m.
On April 22, Rascals Live will host a special acoustic concert with power-rock stalwarts Damon Johnson and Ricky Warwick, whose third album as members of Black Star Riders recently hit number six on the UK charts. Given that they’ve collaborated with the likes of Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Sheryl Crow, and Ted Nugent, you may wonder, after their area performance, how we were lucky enough to find them in Moline. But considering their individual backgrounds, the bigger question is: How were they lucky enough to find each other?
Born in Macon, Georgia, and raised in Monroeville, Alabama, 52-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnson formed his first garage band as an eighth-grader, and spent his teen years playing clubs throughout northeast Alabama. At age 23, he moved to Birmingham to join the rockers of Split the Dark – winners of MTV’s 1986 “Basement Tapes Competition” – and, by the end of the 1980s, he had enjoyed guitarist tenures with four other bands: Witness, Delta Rebels, Chinatown, and Chyld.
Fifty-year-old Warwick, by contrast, was born and raised in Newtownards, County Down in Northern Ireland, although – like Johnson – he, too, was a nascent singer/songwriter with an early gift for the guitar. Warwick’s 1980s found him invited to join the rock musicians of New Model Army as rhythm guitarist for their Ghost of Cain album’s world tour, and by decade’s end he had left the band to co-found The Almighty, a heavy-metal group that toured extensively alongside legends such as Megadeth, Iron Maiden, and Metallica.
Most of Johnson’s 1990s were spent as lead vocalist and guitarist for Brother Crane, which released three albums that yielded three number-one singles. After eight years of recording and performing as headliners and support on tours with Van Halen, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, and Lynyrd Skinner, Brother Crane eventually disbanded in 1998. But Johnson would spend the next dozen years no less busy, his résumé boasting songwriting for Stevie Nicks, Carlos Santana, and Ted Nugent, guitar duties for Sammy Hagar and John Waite, and four years as a band member for Alice Cooper.
Warwick, in addition to his long association with The Almighty, spent significant portions of the ’90s with the rock outfits The Stiff Little Fingers and (sic). But after The Almighty’s (second) disbandment in 2001, Warwick spent most of the aughts employed as a solo artist, with his acoustic releases including 2003’s Tattoos & Alibis and 2005’s Love Many Trust Few, and his solo talents showcased in European tours with headliners Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, and Keith Caputo. Then, in 2009, he was invited to be a member of iconic rock act Thin Lizzy.
And then, two years later, so was Johnson.
It may have been an incredibly roundabout way to a musical partnership, but few could argue that the wait wasn’t worth it. Not only have Johnson and Warwick achieved enormous success with both Thin Lizzy and their co-founded project Black Stars Riders, but their rock-duo tours – such as the one bringing them to Rascals Live – have earned fan adoration and critical acclaim for their intimate, acoustic takes on the artists’ collective oeuvre. Andy Nathan, at GetReadyToRock.Me.UK, described one particular Johnson/Warwick concert as “good-humored throughout as the pair swapped stories and banter and one anecdote about both growing up on chicken farms (don’t ask),” resulting in a night that “showed that it is attitude and passion, rather than the level of your amplification, that makes for a great rock ’n’ roll show.” That and, apparently, shared insight on the lives of chicken farmers. But I won’t ask.
Damon Johnson & Ricky Warwick play Rascals Live on April 22 at 8 p.m., tickets are $20 to $30, and more information on the evening is available by calling (309)797-9457 or visiting RascalsMoline.com.
The Redstone Room
Friday, April 21, 9 p.m.
Winners of the “Best New Austin Band” citation at the 2016 SXSW festival, the exuberant, psychedelic-folk artists of Calliope Musicals bring their tour to Davenport’s Redstone Room on April 21. And if you choose to view only one online band interview conducted by a nine-year-old girl this year, I urge you to check out MusicFelon.com, where an adorable kid named Mabel queries the group about their collective love of camping, gets some sage growing-up advice, and learns from lead vocalist Carrie Fussell the tricks behind performing a perfect Snoopy Dance. Which is fitting, because to hear reviewers tells it, a Calliope Musicals concert itself is like the stage embodiment of a Snoopy Dance.
Founded by Fussell and vocalist/guitarist Matt Roth, the Austin-based ensemble also boasts Josh Bickley on drums, Craig Finkelstein on vibraphone, Andrew Vizzone on bass, and Chris Webb on guitar. But if you want to know the secret ingredient to Calliope Musicals’ psych-folk traveling party, it might lie with touring partner Jerry Sparkman, whose credit as the group’s “Confetti Cat” is a literal one – he’s the guy, frequently dressed as an alien and/or unicorn, who gets to shoot off the confetti cannons for which the band’s sets are famed.
While shredded paper fills the air, the atmosphere at a Calliope Musicals concert is also filled with the kind of uplifting, dance-worthy electricity that – according to the group’s Facebook biography – “exudes feel-good vibes that aim to swallow listeners and spit them out as happier versions of their former selves.” And between their buoyant tour stops and the 2016 release of the musicians’ first full-length album, Time Owes You Nothing, Calliope Musicals has clearly left plenty of listeners, post-spitting, awfully darned happy.
According to Talent Monthly magazine, “Calliope Musicals has created one of the most incredible stage shows in the country.” Beats Per Minute magazine raves about the ensemble’s “chest-rattling bass and percussion that could shake a mountain to its foundation.” NPR has described the group as “a vibrant psych-folk band whose shows are spectacles of concentrated celebration.” And according to Texas’ KUTX radio station, “This Austin six-piece channels youthful energy that shows how much enjoyment can be found in life,” and is “like a bunch of kids who got really good at their instruments instead of growing up.” Damn. Had I know that was an option in my youth, I would’ve spent way more time with my clarinet.
Calliope Musicals performs locally with an opening set by Paper Bird – whose band name suggests they may wanna steer clear of the headliners’ confetti cannon – and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)326-1333 or visiting RiverMusicExperience.org.
Tuesday, April 25, 7:30 p.m.
After premiering in England in 1991, the musical sensation Stomp made its United States debut at off-Broadway’s Orpheum Theatre in February 1994. More than 23 years later, it’s still there. I’d complain that Stomp was being a tad territorial, but the show would likely just take my complaint and turn into an electrifying 10-minute dance routine.
A crowd-pleasing showcase on the art of turning found objects into musical and dance genius, the Stomp experience is nothing short of legendary, with its casts having performed in everything from the Sydney Opera House to President Bill Clinton’s millennium celebration to the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Now, local audiences will be able to witness this unforgettable explosion of movement and sound – a production the New York Times called “irresistibly frisky” – when Stomp lands at Davenport’s Adler Theatre on April 25 boasting updated and re-structured material as well as all of the provocative, sophisticated, sexy, and utterly unique thrills that have made the show beloved by worldwide audiences of every age.
So in honor of the touring show’s Quad Cities engagement, try your hand at the following true-or-false quiz, with a “true” for items that have been used as Stomp percussion, and “false” for those that haven’t.
2) garbage cans
3) wet socks
6) miniature tow trucks
8) playing cards
9) cigarette lighters
12) back issues of the River Cities’ Reader
For tickets to Stomp, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Answers: “True” for all but the Reader ... but the show is being performed just down the street, so ya know ... . Fingers crossed!
What Else Is Happenin’ …?
Thursday, April 13 – Six Organs of Admittance. A Moeller Nights concert of guitar-based folk in the primary musical project of Ben Chasny. Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel (304 East Third Street, Davenport). 8:30 p.m. $10-15. For information, visit MoellerNights.com.
Thursday, April 13, and Friday, April 14 – Liverpool Legends: The Complete Beatles Experience. Touring concert tribute to the Fab Four. Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf (1777 Isle Parkway, Bettendorf). 7:30 p.m. $10-25. For tickets and information, call (800)843-4753 or visit Bettendorf.IsleOfCapriCasinos.com.
Friday, April 14 – Dyle Bramhall II. Concert with the blues, rock, and soul singer/songwriter and guitarist, featuring an opening set by Future Stuff. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $32.50-33. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org. For an interview with Bramhall, visit RCReader.com/y/bramhall.
Friday, April 14 – Lorrie Morgan. Touring country vocalist in concert, featuring an opening set by Jodi Miller. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7 p.m. $43-73. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Friday, April 14, and Saturday, April 15 – The Fred Hersch Trio. Concerts with the touring jazz pianist and his ensemble. Hancher Auditorium (101 East Park Road, Iowa City). 7 and 9:30 p.m. $10-25. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit Hancher.UIowa.edu.
Saturday, April 15 – I Love the ’90s Tour. An evening of chart-topping hits with Salt-N-Pepa, All-4-One, Color Me Badd, Coolio, Tone Lōc, Rob Base, and Young MC. iWireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $45. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iWirelessCenter.com.
Saturday, April 15 – Aaron Lee Tasjan. Nashville-based singer/songwriter in concert, featuring opening sets by Lewis Knudsen and Esme Alexis. Daytrotter (324 Brady Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $8-10. For information, call (563)293-3240 or visit Daytrotter.com.
Saturday, April 15 – Mandy Barnett: Sweet Dreams. An evening of Patsy Cline’s country and pop hits with the touring Nashville singer. Ohnward Fine Arts Center (1215 East Platt Street, Maquoketa). 7 p.m. $13-25. For tickets and information, call (563)652-9815 or visit OhnwardFineArtsCenter.com.
Sunday, April 16 – Willie Pickens Trio. Polyrhythms presents a concert in the Third Sunday Jazz Matinée Series with the jazz pianist, Ron Wilson, and Manuel Lopez III, preceded by a Demystifying Jazz Workshop. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 6 p.m. concert, $10-15, suggested $10 piano-restoration donation. 3 p.m. workshop, $5, free for students. For tickets and information, call (309)373-0790 or visit Polyrhythms.com or RiverMusicExperience.org.
Wednesday, April 19 – Black Hawk College Jazz Festival. Twenty-fifth-annual concert event, featuring performances by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and the BHC Jazz Band, with special guest artists including pianist Corey Kendrick, bassist Ron Wilson, drummer Manuel Lopez III, and tenor saxophonist Josh Forbes. Black Hawk College’s Building Four Hawk’s Nest (6600 34th Avenue, Moline). 7:30 p.m. Free. For information, call (309)796-5479 or visit BHC.edu.
Thursday, April 20 – The Sextones and Have Your Cake. Concert co-headlined by the soul/funk musicians and the Cake tribute artists, featuring an opening set by The Good Company. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $11.50-14. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.
Thursday, April 20 – Jim McDonough. Nationally touring pianist and his 14-piece ensemble in a concert of Broadway, movie, big-band, country, classical, and patriotic tunes. Central DeWitt Performing Arts Center (519 East 11th Street. DeWitt). 7 p.m. $5-25. For tickets and information, visit CD-PAC.org.
Friday, April 21 – The Obsessed. Concert with the Maryland-based heavy-metal musicians, featuring opening sets by Karma to Burn and Fatso Jetson. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 9 p.m. For information, call (309)793-1999 or visit RIBCO.com.
Friday, April 21 – Bucktown Revue. Variety show in the tradition of A Prairie Home Companion, featuring emcee Scott Tunnicliff, area comedians and musicians including the Barley House Band and Milltown, and special guests. Nighswander Theatre (2822 Eastern Avenue, Davenport). 7 p.m. $13 at the door. For information, call (563)940-0508 or visit BucktownRevue.com.
Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23 – Nova Singers: A Cappella Masterworks. The professional vocal ensemble performs some of the greatest works written for a cappella choir, under the direction of Laura Lane. Saturday: First Lutheran Church (364 East Water Street, Galesburg), 7:30 p.m. Sunday: St. Paul Lutheran Church (2136 Brady Street, Davenport), 4 p.m. $15-18. For tickets and information, call (309)341-7038 or visit NovaSingers.com.
Sunday, April 23 – Sondre Lerche. A Moeller Nights concert with the Norwegian singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Baked Beer & Bread Co. (1113 Mound Street, Davenport). 7 p.m. $15. For information, visit MoellerNights.com.
Monday, April 24 – Dressy Bessy. Denver-based indie rockers in a Moeller Nights concert featuring opening sets by Arc Flash and Bottom Dollars. Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel (304 East Third Street, Davenport). 8:30 p.m. For information, visit MoellerNights.com.
Wednesday, April 26 – The Lacs. Concert with the Southern rap and rock musicians. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $22-27.50. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.
Wednesday, April 26 – The Hackensaw Boys. A Moeller Nights concert with the folk and Americana string band, featuring an opening set by The Tillers. Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel (304 East Third Street, Davenport). 8:30 p.m. For information, visit MoellerNights.com.
Friday, April 14, through Sunday, April 30 – Relativity. Mark St. Germain’s drama about the missing daughter of Albert Einstein, directed by Angie Toomsen. Riverside Theatre (213 North Gilbert Street, Iowa City). Thursday through Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $18-30. For tickets and information, call (319)338-7672 or visit RiversideTheatre.org.
Thursday, April 20, through Saturday, April 29 – The Tin Woman. Sean Grennan’s drama about a heart-transplant recipient, directed by Aaron Lord. The Black Box Theatre (1623 Fifth Avenue, Moline). Thursday through Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m. $16. For tickets and information, call (563)284-2350 or visit TheBlackBoxTheatre.com.
Thursday, April 20, through Sunday, April 30 – Out of Sight, Out of Murder. Comedy mystery by Fred Carmichael, directed by John Donald O’Shea. Richmond Hill Barn Theatre (600 Robinson Drive, Geneseo). Thursday through Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m. $12. For tickets and information, call (309)944-2244 or visit RHPlayers.com.
Thursday, April 20, through Saturday, May 13 – Big Nate: The Musical. Family-musical comedy inspired by the comic-strip character, directed by Brad Hauskins. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). Scheduled 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. performances on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. $8.50 show-only admission. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2, or visit Circa21.com.
Thursday, April 20, through Sunday, May 14 – Making God Laugh. Sean Grennan’s holiday-themed family comedy, directed by Janeve West. Old Creamery Theatre (39 38th Avenue, Amana). Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 2 p.m. $19.50-31. For tickets and information, call (319)622-6262 or visit OldCreamery.com.
Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23 – Richard III. William Shakespeare’s historical tragedy, directed by Ron Clark and choreographed by Jeff Coussens. St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center (2101 North Gaines Street, Davenport). Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m. $8-11. For tickets and information, call (563)333-6251 or visit SAU.edu/theatre.
Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23 – The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Run of the Mill Theatre Company presents Stephen Adly Guirgis’ courtroom drama set in Purgatory. The Mill (120 East Burlington Street, Iowa City). Friday and Saturday 7 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $10-12. For tickets and information, call (319)351-9529 or visit ICMill.com.
Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 30 – The Diary of Anne Frank. Wendy Kesselman’s translation of Frances Goodrich’s and Albert Hackett’s Holocaust-memoir drama, directed by Rachel Korach Howell. Iowa City Community Theatre (4261 Oak Crest Hill Road, Jackson County Fairgounds, Iowa City). Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $9-17. For tickets and information, call (319)338-0443 or visit IowaCityCommunityTheatre.com.
Friday, April 21, and Sunday, April 23 – The Pirates of Penzance. Gilbert & Sullivan's swashbuckling operetta performed by the UI School of Music under the direction of Bill Theisen, conducted by William LaRue Jones. Hancher Auditorium (141 East Park Road, Iowa City). Friday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $5-20. For tickets and information, call (319_335-1160 or visit Hancher.UIowa.edu.
Saturday, April 22 – Welcome to Night Vale. Live taping of the funny/creepy podcast written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, narrated by Cecil Baldwin and featuring Erin McKeown and music by Disparition. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $27.50. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.
Sunday, April 23 – National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night. An HD screening of William Shakespeare’s comedy classic, directed by Simon Godwin. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 3 p.m. $15-18. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.
Saturday, April 22 – Augustana Dance Company. Spring performance featuring pieces choreographed by members of the company, showcasing genres including tap, ballet, and hip hop. Augustana College’s Centennial Hall (3703 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). 7 p.m. $4-9, ages 12 and under free. For tickets and information, call (309)794-7306 or visit Augustana.edu/arts.
Saturday, April 15, through Sunday, April 23 – Young Artists at the Figge: Davenport Schools. Exhibition of works by student artists. Figge Art Museum (225 West Second Street, Davenport). Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m. Free with $4-7 admission. For information, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.org.
Thursday, April 20, through Thursday, May 11 – 2017 Senior Honors Exhibitions. Displays of work by student artists Morgan Allen, Emma Hubner, Lindsay O’Brien, and Jonathan Wray. St. Ambrose University’s Catich and Morrissey galleries (2101 Gaines Street, Davenport). Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m (Catich) and noon-4 p.m. (Morrissey). Free. For information, call (563)333-6444 or visit SAU.edu/galvin.
Friday, April 21 – Magic Men Live! Themed acts and choreography with the touring male exotic dancers. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $23-73. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22 – Bottom’s Up Quad City Burlesque. Local burlesque with the Quad Cities troupe and area comedians. Circa ’21 Speakeasy (1818 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $18-20. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit Circa21.com.
Saturday, April 22 – Gilda’s Run for Laughs. Annual fundraising event for Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities featuring a one-mile fun run at 9 a.m. and 5K run/walk at 9:30 a.m., with a post-race party at RIBCO featuring tribute band Bluz Brother. The District of Rock Island. $15-30 registration. For information, call (563)326-7504 or visit GildasClubQC.org.
Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23 – QC Game Fest. Convention gathering admirers of board games, RPGs, miniatures, and card games. Davenport RiverCenter (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 8 a.m. doors, 9 a.m. events. For information, visit QCGameFest.com.