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What's Happenin': Thursday, July 24, through Wednesday, August 6 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 06:00

New Duncan ImperialsMusic

New Duncan Imperials

Rock Island Brewing Company

Saturday, July 26, 8 p.m.


Hard as it is to believe, RIBCO is celebrating its 35th anniversary this summer. In honor of the milestone, the beloved District of Rock Island venue is hosting an outdoor concert with the equally beloved party rockers of New Duncan Imperials. The traditional 35th-anniversary gift is coral. So make sure you bring some when you arrive for the band’s July 26 engagement, because you can’t spell “New Duncan Imperials at RIBCO” without “coral.”

Ha! And people say I strain in these introductions!

But you also can’t spell “New Duncan Imperials at RIBCO” without “a mad blast,” which is what you’ll surely have in this special event in the Rock Island Brewing Company’s 35th-Anniversary Concert Series.

Natives of Bucksnort, Tennessee, NDI’s original musicians eventually landed in Chicago, and found themselves rocking the 1980s’ club scene as part of the popular Windy City group The Service. Yet after that group’s disbandment, guitarist Pigtail, bassist Skipper, and drummer Goodtime decided to keep the music going with their own ensemble, and launched New Duncan Imperials in 1989 – meaning that while RIBCO gets the coral this summer, NDI lands the silver.

Proudly proclaiming themselves a combination of “the explosive elements of white-trash culture, Dada art, and Chuck Berry,” New Duncan Imperials have, since their 1989 album Hanky Panky Varley Voo, gone on to release more than a dozen additional CDs, EPs, and tapes. And the group’s unique, hard-rocking, totally unpretentious talents led Cosmik Debris magazine to rave about “their smörgåsbord of sounds and styles that touch on power pop and punk to trash rock,” and Music Dish magazine to call NDI’s songs “just plain cool/weird, rife with punk-rock guitar riffs and rapid-fire percussion.”

Consequently, if you enjoy your rock dosed with a healthy blast of humor (which you should expect from a group whose song list includes “I Love You, Honey, but I Hate Your Band”), you won’t want to miss the New Duncan Imperials’ Saturday-night set in RIBCO’s 35th-Anniversary Concert Series. Wow, 35. I remember my 35th birthday. Well ... most of it. I spent it at RIBCO.

New Duncan Imperials perform locally with an opening set by 3 on the Tree, RIBCO’s 35th-Anniversary Concert Series continues with August 2 headliners Tripmaster Monkey, and more information is available by calling (309)793-4060 or visiting



Gaelic StormMusic

Gaelic Storm

The Redstone Room

Thursday, July 31, 7 p.m.


On July 31, the Redstone Room will host a concert with Gaelic Storm, the acclaimed Celtic band that achieved international fame when its original musicians were cast as the steerage performers who got Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet dancing in Titanic. So considering its familiarity with water, the group should feel perfectly at home during its summertime set in downtown Davenport. (Hmm. Too soon?)

But Titanic was – pardon the horrible pun – just the tip of the iceberg for this noted traveling ensemble that boasts a schedule of more than 125 tour stops per year. With 10 albums to its name since the band’s self-titled 1998 debut, including July 29’s “best of” release Full Irish, Gaelic Storm is currently at the forefront of modern Celtic (and Celtic-rock) masters. And if you won’t take my word for it, ask some of the artists the group has opened for in recent years – if, that is, you have access to the phone numbers for Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, the Zac Brown Band, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

Best known for explosive renditions of traditional Irish and Scottish tunes, Gaelic Storm’s first taste of spectacular Billboard success came when the group’s 2004 CD How Are We Getting Home? hit number three on the World Music Charts. That’s actually the lowest World Music Charts ranking for the band over the past decade, as 2006’s Bring Yer Wellies made it to Billboard’s number two, and Gaelic Storm’s four subsequent albums all strode comfortably to number one.

Time will tell if the same will hold true for the musicians’ Full Irish release. But there’s no question that the group – composed of Ryan Lacey, Patrick Murphy, Peter Purvis, Steve Twigger, and Kiana Weber – is presently at the top of its game, with Denver’s praising Gaelic Storm live sets for their “high energy, consistent interaction with the audience, and exceptional musical performance.”

The New York-based, meanwhile, writes, “Gaelic Storm blends indie folk and world grooves with Celtic tradition to serve up a ringside seat for 15 rounds of pugilistic, poultry-pounding sounds.” So enjoy the group’s special Redstone Room engagement. And maybe leave your chicken at home.

For more information on Gaelic Storm’s July 31 concert, call (563)326-1333 or visit



Monty Python's SpamalotTheatre

Monty Python’s Spamalot

District Theatre

Friday, August 1, through Sunday, August 17


The cheeky, ridiculous, hilarious musical comedy Monty Python’s Spamalot runs at Rock Island’s District Theatre from August 1 to 17, and as the venue has been the frequent home to similarly Tony-dominating smashes – Avenue Q, Chicago, Next to Normal – the show’s eventual booking, while welcome, wasn’t necessarily a surprise.

But what was a surprise, when recently announced, was that the home itself was moving, as the District Theatre is now located three doors down from its former site, in the space that previously housed the Grape Life Wine Emporium.

“To be honest, it’s a surprise to us as well,” says the theatre’s artistic director – and Spamalot director – Tristan Tapscott. “At least given the time frame. It has been a topic of discussion at several board meetings, but certainly not something we had planned on happening this soon.”

Yet as Tapscott adds, the former Grape Life venue is also “a temporary space while another location is found and remodeled. It’s all part of a master plan. This move, and our partnership with Rock Island Renaissance, is phase one of a plan to rehab and design our own facility that fits our wildest expectations. The facility that we have in mind is going to take some time to complete, and this is a very important step toward that goal. People think we are downgrading. We are not. We are making plans and making progress. It’s very exciting.”

For those familiar with the show, the company’s first production in its new locale is pretty damned exciting, too. Adapted from the film classic Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Spamalot is a supremely goofy and tuneful take on the legend of King Arthur. It’s also an endlessly malleable slapstick that fits perfectly with Tapscott’s plan for the new space’s own malleability.

“This venue takes us back to the diversity we once had in Davenport,” says Tapscott, referencing his company’s former identity as the Harrison Hilltop Theatre. With every new show, “our goal is to create a different environment for the audience the minute they walk into the door.”

And patrons can certainly expect something completely different from Spamalot, which boasts a cast including Bob Manasco as Arthur, Matt Holmes as Sir Lancelot, Christopher Tracy as Sir Robin, Wendy Czekalski as Sir Galahad ... .

Wait. Wendy Czekalski as Sir Galahad? And just what would the Python guys say of this reverse-gender casting? Says Tapscott, “I think they would say something like, ‘Women have the perfect right to play a part in our movement, Mike.’”

The District Theatre (now at 1623 Second Avenue, Rock Island) will stage Monty Python’s Spamalot Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)235-1654 or visiting



Jackson EmmerMusic

Jackson Emmer and Sam Moss


Saturday, July 26, 8 p.m.


As the late, great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong once said, “All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.”

Be that as it may, Rock Island’s Rozz-Tox venue, on July 26, will turn into a folk-music paradise during its combined set with artists Jackson Emmer and Sam Moss – gifted folk musicians with more in common than just, you know, not having four legs and a mane.

Sam MossWith 21 self-released records under his belt, Jackson Emmer is one of the most prolific and gifted performers on the American folk-music scene. An active member of the old-timey band the Howling Kettles, the Colorado-based Emmer has opened for the likes of David Lindley and the Devil Makes Three, and – with his gifts extending to the mandolin – he was memorably described by fellow folk artist Will Stratton as “a cold, tall glass of water from a spigot out in the backyard.”

Moss, meanwhile, is based in New England and has eight well-received solo albums to his name. With his Appalachian and Americana stylings also earning him a devoted fan base through his frequent tour stops, Moss is a modern finger-picking master, and his talents even earned him a 2012 residency at New Hampshire’s esteemed MacDowell Colony.

Yet beyond their statuses as acclaimed folk musicians, more links Emmer and Moss than divides them. Both are accomplished guitarists and banjo players. Both write their own material. Moss, too, recorded with the Howling Kettles. And both have been the beneficiaries of ecstatic reviews ... as the adjoining quiz should prove. For each rave about either the musician or his music, was it Emmer or Moss who received the praise?


1) “Intensely personal, deeply felt, and well-played.” – Dusted magazine

2) “Giddily communicative, celebratory, and wildly, rhythmically physical.” – Dusted magazine

3) “Impressive singing and songwriting.” – Aspen Sojourner

4) “Deeply, softly, enchantingly beautiful vocals.” – No Depression magazine

5) “A Dylan-esque ability to conjure poetry out of ostensibly mundane lyrics.” –

6) “Raw, intimate, occasionally lo-fi, and often brilliant.” –


A) Jackson Emmer

B) Sam Moss



Admission to Jackson Emmer’s and Sam Moss’ Saturday-evening concert is $5 at the door, and more information on the night is available by calling (309)200-0978 or visiting



Answers: 1 – B, 2 – A, 3 – A, 4 – B, 5 – A, 6 – B. On those last two, the same has frequently been said in reference to me. The “adequacy” part, not the good stuff.



What Else Is Happenin’ ...?



Thursday, July 24 – Sophistafunk. Funk, hip-hop, and soul musicians in concert, with an opening set by The Mainstays. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $7. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Friday, July 25 – Jake Owen. Chart-topping country musician in concert, performing with guests Parmalee and The Cadillac Tree. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $22.50-42. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit

Friday, July 25 – Ultraviolet Hippopotamus. Rock and electronica musicians in concert, with an opening set by Half Naked. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $8-10. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Saturday, July 26 – Gary Allan. Outdoor concert with the chart-topping country musician. Riverside Casino & Golf Resort (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $30-65. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit

Saturday, July 26, and Sunday, July 27 – Music of Our Family, Stories of Our Times. Music from the 1920s through the ’70s performed by The Mockingbyrds. Iowa Theatre Artists Company (4709 220th Trail, Amana). Saturday 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m. $10-15. For tickets and information, call (319)622-3222 or visit

Sunday, July 27 – Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas. Detroit-based rockers in concert, with an opening set by Lewis Knudsen. Rozz-Tox (2108 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $10. For information, call (309)200-0978 or visit For a 2013 interview with Hernandez, visit

Thursday, July 31, through Sunday, August 3 – 2014 Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. Annual celebration of jazz great Beiderbecke, featuring performances at numerous downtown-Davenport venues, workshops, children’s activities, and more. $30 single-event tickets, $55 all-day passes. For information, call (563)324-7170 or visit

Friday, August 1 – Jerry Garcia’s Birthday Celebration. Tribute concert with performances by folk-rock and psychedelic musicians Old Shoe and Sun Stereo. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $8-10. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit

Saturday, August 2 – Tripmaster Monkey. Legendary rockers from the Quad Cities in an outdoor reunion concert for RIBCO’s 35th-Anniversary Concert series, with opening sets by Dylan Sires & Neighbors and The Last Glimpse. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. For information, call (309)793-4060 or visit



Thursday, July 24, through Saturday, September 6 – Love, Lies, & the Lottery. World-premiering farcical comedy by author/director Jim Hesselman. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). Fridays, Saturdays, Wednesdays, and July 24: 6-7 p.m. buffet, 7:15 p.m. pre-show, 7:45 p.m. show. Sundays: 4-5 p.m. buffet, 5:15 p.m. pre-show, 5:45 p.m. show. Wednesdays: 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. plated lunch, 1 p.m. pre-show, 1:30 p.m. show. $29.26-49.12. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit

Thursday, July 24, through Saturday, August 2 – Wonderful Town. Composer Leonard Bernstein’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy. Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (311 Riverview Drive, Clinton). Thursdays through Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sunday and Wednesday 3 p.m. $16-23. For tickets and information, call (563)242-6760 or visit

Saturday, July 26, through Sunday, August 3 – Plutus. Genesius Guild’s presentation of Aristophanes’ comedy, adapted by Don Wooten. Lincoln Park (11th Avenue and 38th Street, Rock Island). Saturdays and Sundays 8 p.m. Donations encouraged. For information, visit

Thursday, July 31, through Sunday, August 10 – Les Misérables. Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel, directed by Matthew Teague Miller. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll). Tuesdays through Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Sundays and Wednesdays 2 p.m. $17-23. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit

Friday, August 1, through Sunday, August 3 – Hair. City Circle Acting Company of Coralville’s production of the Summer of Love rock musical, directed by John Cameron. Coralville Center for the Performing Arts (1301 Fifth Street, Coralville). Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $12-27. For tickets and information, call (319)248-9370 or visit

Tuesday, August 5, through Saturday, August 9 – Pinkalicious: The Musical. Family musical based on the book series by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll). Tuesday through Saturday (no Wednesday show) 2 p.m. $6. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit



Saturday, August 2 – Hardacre Film Festival. Annual screenings of short and feature-length films in a fundraiser benefiting the historic Hardacre Theater. Tipton High School Auditorium (400 East Sixth Street, Tipton). 9 a.m.-6 p.m. $20. For information, visit



Thursday, July 24, and Friday, July 25 – Quad-City Times Bix 7 Sports & Fitness Expo. Event featuring vendors from the health, wellness, and fitness industries selling running apparel and gear, nutritional products, injury-prevention aids, and more. Davenport RiverCenter (136 East Third Street, Davenport). Free admission. For information, call (563)326-8500 or visit

Friday, July 25, and Saturday, July 26 – 2014 Street Fest. Annual event featuring live music, vendors, arts-and-crafts vendors, children’s activities, and more. Downtown Davenport between Brady and Ripley streets. Free admission. For information, call (563)823-2681 or visit

Saturday, July 26 – Quad-City Times Bix 7. Annual foot race through the streets of Davenport, with cash prizes to the top finishers, the Junior Bix for young racers, live music, and more. Downtown Davenport. $37-45 registration, For information, call (563)383-2489 or visit

Tuesday, July 29, through Sunday, August 3 – Mississippi Valley Fair. Annual event featuring carnival attractions, vendors, a children’s petting zoo, games, 4-H competitions, and grandstand concerts with Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum, Craig Morgan, Cheap Trick, Alan Jackson, and Jerrod Niemann. Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds (2815 West Locust Street, Davenport). $4-10 daily admission, $50 fun cards for all six days and grandstand-show admission. For information, call (563)326-5338 or visit

Friday, August 1, and Saturday, August 2 – Hoover’s Hometown Days. Weekend event featuring family entertainment, craft vendors, a fireworks display accompanied by the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band, and more. Downtown West Liberty. Free admission. For information, call (319)643-2541 or visit

Saturday, August 2 – Broadway Historic District Wine Walk. Fourth-annual fundraiser with attendees visiting four premier homes and enjoying wine and gourmet appetizers. Broadway Historic District (Fifth to 16th avenues, 17th to 23rd streets, Rock Island). 6 p.m. $35. For tickets and information, call (309)786-2699 or visit

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