The Picador

Thursday, July 12, 9 p.m.


Battles When I got the green light to write this piece on July 12's Battles show at the Picador, I was psyched, because the songs on the band's MySpace page ( were off the hook. And once I found out that the one and only Jon Stanier was the drummer, I started running and screaming like that little girl in Little Miss Sunshine. Battles is an electro-psychedelic-progressive-rock "super group" that combines Stanier's quick and solid beats with trippy guitars and synthesizers, and features accomplished guitarists/keyboardists Ian Williams, Dave Konopka, and Tyondai Braxton. After leaving Helmet, one of my favorite noise-metal bands, in 1998 - and for those who'd argue, yes, they were metal - Stanier resurfaced in 2000, joining ex-Faith No More singer Mike Patton's group Tomahawk. (In 2002, Tomahawk opened for Tool at the Mark of the Quad Cities.) Stanier formed Battles in 2003, and the band's Mirrored is its first full-length album and its first release to feature actual vocals, and according to a Rolling Stone review, "the New York quartet gives ancient prog-rock moves a makeover and a kick in the pants." Doors for the Iowa City show open at 9 p.m., and more information is available at ( - Brad Vidmar


A Few Good Men

Richmond Hill Barn Theatre

Thur, July 12 - Sun, July 22


the A Few Good Men ensemble "Mike?" "Yeah, Jeff?" "You did it again. You wrote a calendar article that's all about you." "Which one?" "The one for the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's A Few Good Men, running July 12 through 22. You don't mention that the play is a critically acclaimed military drama involving two Marines on trial for murder, or that the Broadway production ran for over a year ... ." "Right ... ." "You don't mention that it's written by Aaron Sorkin, who created Sports Night and The West Wing ... ." "Uh huh ... ." "You don't even mention the movie, which starred Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, and which, according to the American Film Institute, features the 29th most-famous line of dialogue in film history. You spend the whole article talking about that time when you were 11 years old and auditioned for that Tom Cruise movie Taps." "Well, the piece is military-themed ... ." "It won't work, Mike." "That's fine - I had other ideas. Like, I had one where you and I argue about my editing the paper, and you scream at me, 'The proof?! You can't handle the proof!' Or one where I fight to get my articles syndicated, and you go, 'Duluth?! You can't handle Duluth!' Or one where ... ." "Never mind. Your first version is fine. I hate those Mike-and-Jeff pieces." For A Few Good Men tickets, call (309) 944-2244. - Mike Schulz


Flaming Idiots

Playcrafters Barn Theatre

Fri, July 13, - Sun, July 22


Gary Baker and Jackie Madunic in Flaming Idiots While researching the Tom Rooney play Flaming Idiots - being produced at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre from July 13 through 22 - I stumbled across its description by the publishers at Samuel French, Incorporated, which is how I learned that the show "takes place entirely in a restaurant kitchen, and requires five doors for slamming." Flaming Idiots, however, isn't a dramatic take on TV's Iron Chef. (Nor is it an understandably rejected moniker for the Quad Cities' new hockey team.) It's actually a madcap comedy involving two postal workers - played by Scott Naumann and director Craig Michaels - who strive for success by opening their own eatery. Yet their new restaurant isn't doing half as well as the bistro across town, where that notorious mobster was shot more than 20 years ago. Might business start booming if there was a murder in their establishment ... ? Tony Soprano may want to steer clear, but lovers of farce should find plenty to giggle at, especially if Playcrafters veterans Gary Baker, Spiro Bruskas, and Jackie Madunic are in top comic form. And if Madunic goes at that door-slamming with the ferocity of her Tina Turner in March's Beehive, I have just one word for Playcrafters' set builders: reinforcement. For tickets to Flaming Idiots, call (309) 762-0330. - Mike Schulz


Lenora Zenzalai Helm

The Redstone Room

Sunday, July 15


Laura Zenzalai Helm I've got 200 words, huh? Okay. Deep breath ... . "For the Redstone Room's Third Sunday Jazz Matinée & Workshop on July 15, the Davenport venue presents vocalist/composer Lenora Zenzalai Helm, who explores rhythm, melody, and scat in the 3 p.m. presentation 'Armstrong, Ellington, & Ella,' and performs her soulful jazz stylings in a 6 p.m. concert, thereby providing insight into why The Washington Post's Geoffrey Himes raved that the artist 'possesses an astonishing voice' and 'improvises harmonic changes with undeniable ingenuity.' Among her accomplishments, Helm was the first African-American woman to receive a degree in Film Music Composition from Boston's Berklee College, co-founded a not-for-profit music program in New York City, served as an ambassador for the United States Information Agency, frequently lectures on jazz history and music appreciation, performs annually at festivals worldwide, fronts her own jazz trio - the Zenzalai Project - and, in 2001, actually completed more than 400 educational residencies in 365 days." Whew! Mission accomplished! Oh, wait. Forgot to leave room for a joke. Damn it. For more information on Helm and the Third Sunday series, visit ( - Mike Schulz


Off Broadway

Rock Island Brewing Company

Saturday, July 14


Mike Redmond I get to write a great deal about area stage plays, but it's a pleasure to occasionally escape my theatrical mindset and focus on area music, which is why I'm delighted to tell you about RIBCO's July 14 band: Off Broadway. Sigh. So much for "escape." Yet while you shouldn't expect show tunes from the Chicago rockers (led by vocalist Cliff Johnson, and featuring guitarists Rob Harding and Mike Redmond, bass player Mike Gorman, and drummer Gregg Potter), I'm thinking that the band's story would make for a pretty kick-ass musical. The Off Broadway biography at ( - conveniently located under the "Latest News" tab on the band's Web site - describes how the group began as a successful power-pop outfit in the late 1970s, with their debut album, On, selling some 200,000 copies in Chicago alone. But after they began touring as the opening act for heavy-metal bands whose audiences, the All Music bio states, "hated them," Off Broadway disintegrated. Yet in 1996 ... well, I won't spoil the rest. Suffice it to say there are reunions, new horizons, and a happy ending fueled by impassioned rock music; Spring Awakening, eat your heart out! For more information, visit ( - Mike Schulz

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