A Giant Dog


A Giant Dog


Monday, July 3, 7 p.m.


On July 3, Davenport’s Daytrotter venue hosts a pre-party for the Quad Cities’ Red, White, & Boom! fireworks display featuring a free concert by A Giant Dog – and I know what you’re thinking. I’m probably going to follow that information with a dopey remark such as “No, it’s not Clifford,” right? Or maybe I’ll make some groan-worthy mention about how it’s a band with bark and bite? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but that just proves how little you know me. I’m more than just a relentless pun machine. I’m a legitimate journalist. Canine get a little respect around here?!?

Okay, fine. You know me pretty well.

If you’re less familiar with A Giant Dog, though, the band’s growing fame and increasingly ecstatic reviews suggest you may not be for much longer. Based in Austin, Texas, this five-piece punk-rock ensemble was formed by lead singer Sabrina Ellis and guitarist Andrew Cashen in 2008, and boasts a lineup that includes Andy Bauer on guitar, Graham Low on bass, and Daniel Blanchard on percussion. The group released its album debut Fight in 2012, following it with 2013’s Bone, 2016’s Pile, and this upcoming August’s Toy. (Methinks I sense a theme in those titles.) And as Ellis stated in a recent SoundsWelcome.com interview, A Giant Dog’s stylistic influences include some of the most iconic names in the history of rock: David Bowie, Queen, Iggy Pop, and The Velvet Underground.

With the release of Pile, the musicians have even started earning the sorts of critical hosannas that greeted those artists in their prime. According to ConsequenceOfSound.net, the “tried and true adrenalized garage thrash” of A Giant Dog’s latest results in “the most complete and fully formed record of its career” and “exhibits a noticeable tightening of craftsmanship.” Pitchfork.com, meanwhile, says, “It’s a rare cocktail that mixes sloppy punk passion with precision, but A Giant Dog have both working for them.”

A word of caution, however, if you’re planning to bring your children out for some classic rock before the night’s Mississippi River fireworks. Because here’s a quote from that ConsequenceOfSound.net rave that I left out: “Pile revels proudly in seemingly everything we were brought up to be wary of in our formative years: cheap sex, drugs, death, bad relationships, and all sorts of high- and lowbrow hedonism in between.” Here’s one from that Pitchfork.com piece: “The combination of pretty melodies and the ugliest of realities is what drives Pile: It feels like the playlist for a rock-bottom party, made by people who are in a bad place, taking the opportunity to celebrate it before rising above it.”

And here’s a section from the group’s Facebook bio: “These songs are by, for, and about the losers, freaks, and outcasts, The lonely. The terminally horny. Boozehounds and party animals. No band better speaks to the hearts of slackers, burnouts, rockers, sluts, and creeps everywhere.” So maybe tell the your kids that this is A Giant Dog just for the grown-ups. As parents, it’s the very leash you can do. (Damn. You saw that one coming, too, didn’t you?)

A Giant Dog performs locally with an opening set by The Zealots, and for more information and tickets, visit Daytrotter.com.

Rooney's Robert Schwartzman

Rooney's Robert Schwartzman





Village Theatre

Saturday, June 24, 8 p.m.


His brother is Jason Schwartzman, the star of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore and HBO’s Bored to Death. His cousin is Sofia Coppola, who won an Oscar for 2003’s Lost in Translation and best director at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. His mom is Rocky’s “Adria-a-a-an!” Talia Shire. His uncle is Francis Ford freakin’ Coppola.

Consequently, it makes perfect sense that the family’s Robert Schwartzman would grow up to be ... a musician?!? Oh, come on, Robert! With nepotistic opportunities like that, what were you thinking?!?

Perhaps that the world can always do with a little more uplifting pop rock, because as the frontman of Rooney – performing a June 24 Moeller Nights concert at Davenport’s Village Theatre – that’s just what Schwartzman has been bringing to audiences since the band’s late-20th Century beginnings.

Back in 1999, the group was actually called Ed Rooney, named after the dyspeptic principal of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The “Ed” was gone by the time Schwartzman’s five-piece ensemble released its self-titled full-length debut in 2003, an infectious blend of alternative rock and power pop that landed the album the number-two position on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Songs from Rooney eventually found their way into entertainments as diverse as the daytime drama All My Children and the video game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, and Rooney itself became widely recognized for singing four of its tunes on a 2004 episode of The O.C.

Over the next six years, Rooney released two additional albums – 2007’s Calling the World and 2010’s Eureka – and toured the nation with acts including Weezer, Jane’s Addiction, OK Go, Audioslave, and Queens of the Stone Age. And after six additional years of its bandmates pursuing other musical interests, Rooney made a splashy and energetic return with Washed Away, 2016’s critical hit that found Schwartzman playing and recording with an entirely new set of collaborators.

With its lineup now filled out by Boaz Roberts on lead guitar, Sean Sobash on bass, Tyler Johnson on drums, and Kim Vi on keyboards, Rooney’s Village Theatre set will find the indie rockers performing both from Rooney’s older catalog and Washed Away, with the latter earning some of the strongest reviews in the band’s career. PopMatters.com called it an album of “much cheer and honest-to-God fun,” as well as “a lighthearted venture into sun-laced pop.” The Guardian raved about its “beautifully sea-soaked, Dennis Wilson/Jimmy Webb style.” AlternativeAddiction.com simply stated, “If you like great music, you’ll be into this.”

And the New York Times described it as “a likable, bittersweet exploration of life in drift” and “a smart, understated sex comedy,” which ... . Hang on. That’s actually from the Times’ review of Dreamland, a 2016 movie directed by Robert Schwartzman. Ha! I knew he couldn’t hide from the Coppola pull forever! Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in!

Rooney performs with opening sets by Run River North and Twinsmith, and more information and tickets are available by visiting MoellerNights.com.

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers




Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

LeClaire Park

Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1


Earlier this year, longtime Mississippi Valley Blues Society member and volunteer Steve Pedigo passed away – a heartbreaking loss for all of us who knew and loved the guy. Consequently, and most deservedly, the 32nd Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – taking place at Davenport’s LeClaire Park June 30 and July 1 – will be dedicated to Steve’s memory, and I have to believe that wherever he is, our blues-lovin’ pal is smiling at the fest’s sensational lineup of scheduled artists ... and perhaps negotiating a weekend-return pass to see them perform. (I also have to believe that Steve would’ve dug that joke.)

Working backward, Saturday’s concerts begin with a 1 p.m. set with the Travis Ried Band – led by the Burlington, Iowa-based bluesman of 25 years running – and continue with the 2:30 p.m. showstoppers of the Marquise Knox Band, whose frontman has performed dozens of festivals throughout the United States and Europe. The Corey Dennison Band – favorites of the Chicago-blues scene – takes the LeClaire Park stage at 4:30 p.m., with 6:30 p.m. the time for the Hamilton Loomis Band, with its leader’s famed red guitar a gift from mentor Bo Diddley. The park will be blues-rocked at 8:30 p.m. in its set with Dana Fuchs, prized for her decades of performing and awesome growl in the 2007 Beatles tribute Across the Universe. And the day’s blues exhilaration climaxes with a 10:30 p.m. set with Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, its leader a 2007 Grammy nominee who, in a 1999 contest, beat out 3,000 others for the title of “America’s Hottest Acordion.”

As for the Blues Festival’s Friday, its entertainment boasts a 5 p.m. set with the Zach Harris Band, winners of the 2015 preliminary round at the Iowa Blues Challenge; an 8:30 p.m. concert with the iTunes Blues chart-toppers of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band; and the 10:30 p.m. evening-ender with Chicago-based slide guitarist and YouTube sensation Joanna Connor. But there’ll also be a special 6:30 p.m. treat with the River Music Experience talents of All Sweat Productions, whose latest tribute event will find a dozen-and-a-half of the Quad Cities’ finest musicians performing a blues celebration titled The 3 Kings (B.B., Albert, & Freddie).

In honor of those three blues icons and the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, try matching these Billboard-top-20 songs with the particular Kings who got them there.


1) “That’s What the Blues Is All About”

2) “San-Ho-Zay”

3) “Cold Feet”

4) “Peace of Mind”

5) “Hide Away”

6) “I Like to Live the Love”


A) B.B.

B) Albert

C) Freddie



For more information on this year’s Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, visit MVBS.org.



Answers: 1 – B, 2 – C, 3 – B, 4 – A, 5 – C, 6 – A. And when it came to blues music, Steve Pedigo liked to live that love, too. We miss you, buddy.



What Else Is Happenin’ …?



Thursday, June 22 – Blackfoot Gypsies. Concert with the Nashville-based rockers, featuring an opening set by Frankie Fontagne & the Ramblers. Daytrotter (324 Brady Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $10-15. For tickets and information, visit Daytrotter.com.

Thursday, June 22 – Kristin Diable. New Orleans-based singer/songwriter in a Moeller Nights concert, featuring an opening set by Frederick the Younger. Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel (304 East Third Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $15. For tickets and information, visit MoellerNights.com.

Friday, June 23 – The Secret Sisters. Alabama-based Americana musicians in concert, featuring an opening set by Cheyenne Meddlers. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 8 p.m. $13.75-17. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.

Friday, June 23 – Susto and Lolo. Co-headlined concert with the folk-rock musicians, featuring opening sets by Wild Fur and Frederick the Younger. Codfish Hollow Barn (5013 288th Avenue, Maquoketa). 7 p.m. $20-25. For tickets and information, visit CodfishHollowBarnstormers.com.

Saturday, June 24 – Teen Daze. Electronica with Canadian musician Jamison Isaak, featuring an opening set by Sam O.B. Daytrotter (324 Brady Street, Davenport). 8:30 p.m. $8-10. For tickets and information, visit Daytrotter.com.

Saturday, June 24 – The Schwag. Grateful Dead tribute musicians in concert. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 9 p.m. For information, call (309)793-1999 or visit RIBCO.com.

Thursday, June 29 – Branson on the Road. Two performances of country-western music, gospel, and comedy with the touring entertainers. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). Noon plated lunch, 1 p.m. show, $46.50; 6 p.m. buffet, 7:15 p.m. show, $52.25. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit Circa21.com.

Friday, June 30 – Chicano Batman. Latin funk, soul, and slow jam with the Los Angeles-based musicians, featuring an opening set by The Golden Fleece. Daytrotter (324 Brady Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $12-15. For tickets and information, visit Daytrotter.com.

Friday, June 30, through Sunday, July 2 – Iowa City Jazz Festival. Annual music celebration featuring concert headliners, three side stages, a culinary row, artist booths, a beverage garden, children’s activities, and more. University of Iowa Pentacrest. Free. For information including an event schedule, visit SummerOfTheArts.org.

Monday, July 3 – An Evening with Leftover Salmon. Concert with the Colorado-based bluegrass, rock, country, and Cajun/zydeco musicians. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $37.75-43. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.

Monday, July 3 – Mike Conrad’s All Angles Orchestra. Fusion of big-band and jazz music with the 15-piece ensemble led by Bettendorf native Mike Conrad, touring in support of the group’s new album New Angle. Village Theatre (2113 East 11th Street, Davenport). 7 p.m. $5. For information, call (563)326-7529 or visit MConradMusic.com.

Tuesday, July 4 – Barn on the Fourth: Twin Peaks. Holiday concert with the Chicago-based power-pop musicians, featuring sets by The Kickback, Yoko & the Oh No’s, Land of Blood & Sunshine, and The Blisters. Codfish Hollow Barn (5013 288th Avenue, Maquoketa, Iowa). 5 p.m. $25-30. For tickets and information, visit CodfishHollowBarnstormers.com.



Thursday, June 22, through Saturday, July 1 – Dial “M” for Murder. Fredrick Knott’s stage adaptation of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (311 Riverview Drive, Clinton, Iowa). Thursday through Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday and Wednesday 3 p.m. For tickets and information, call (563)242-6760 or visit ClintonShowboat.org.

Friday, June 23, through Sunday, July 2 – The Bomb-itty of Errors. An “ad-rap-tation” of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, directed by the Q Brothers’ Postell Pringle. Riverside Theatre Festival Stage (200 Park Road, Lower City Park, Iowa City). Wednesday through Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday and Tuesday 7 p.m. $17-30. For tickets and information, call (319)338-7672 or visit RiversideTheatre.org.

Saturday, June 24, through Sunday, July 2 – The Comedy of Errors. Genesius Guild’s production of William Shakespeare’s mistaken-identity comedy. Lincoln Park (11th Avenue and 38th Street, Rock Island). Saturday and Sunday 8 p.m. Donations encouraged. For information, visit Genesius.org.

Thursday, June 29, through Sunday, July 9 – Evita. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Tim Rice’s Tony-winning musical drama on the life of Argentinian First Lady Eva Peron. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll, Illinois). Tuesday through Saturday 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Wednesday, and July 1 at 2 p.m. $17-25. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit TimberLakePlayhouse.org.

Monday, July 3, through Saturday, July 8 – Grease. Teens from the region perform the ’50s-themed musical comedy. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll, Illinois). Monday and Thursday through Saturday 7:30 p.m. $12. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit TimberLakePlayhouse.org.



Thursday, June 22, through Saturday, June 24 – David R. Collins Writers Conference. The Midwest Writing Center hosts its annual conference featuring five three-day workshops, book pitches with a publisher and an agent, an author luncheon and concluding luncheon, a keynote address by Luis Alberto Urrea, and more. St. Ambrose University (518 West Locust Street, Davenport). $45-60 workshop registration. For information, call (309)732-7330 or visit MWCQC.org.

Thursday, June 22 – An Evening with Luis Alberto Urrea. The Midwest Writing Center hosts the 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction, member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, and keynote speaker for the David R. Collins Writers Conference. Figge Art Museum (225 West Second Street, Davenport). 6:30 p.m. Free. For information, call (309)732-7330 or visit MWCQC.org.

Thursday, June 29 – An Evening with Heather Gudenkauf. Readings and Q&A with the New York Times bestselling author based in Iowa. Moline Public Library (3210 41st Street, Moline). 6:30 p.m. Free. For information, call (309)524-2470 or visit MolineLibrary.com.



Saturday, June 24, through Sunday, September 24 – Jean Shin: MAiZE. Installation of thousands of repurposed green plastic bottles crafted into “cornstalk” sculptures by Shin and area volunteers, forming an elaborate maze on the museum’s third floor. 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 summer admission. For information, call (563)326-7804 or visit FiggeArtMuseum.org.

Saturday, June 24 – ARTists in Motion. Fundraiser in which Quad Cities artists create pieces throughout the evening and the audience “votes” on their favorites with cash donations split between the winner and Midcoat Fine Arts. Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street, Davenport). 6-10 p.m. For information, call 563-424-1210 or visit Facebook.com/MidcoastFineArts.



Thursday, June 22, through Saturday, June 24 – Miss Iowa Scholarship Competition. Annual competition for young women in the area featuring Thursday and Friday preliminaries and Saturday finals. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). Thursday and Friday $40, Saturday $50. For information and tickets, visit AdlerTheatre.com.

Friday, June 23, and Saturday, June 24 – Urban Street Games. Annual competitions of physical strength and stamina sponsored by The Foundation. The District of Rock Island. $320 per team. For information, call (309)278-8029 or visit DowntownRockIsland.org.

Saturday, June 24 – Downtown Iowa City Block Party. Outdoor event featuring concerts with Caroline Smith and Elizabeth Moen, dueling pianos, games, fashion and drag shows, movies, and more. Weatherdance Fountain Stage (210 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City). 5-11 p.m. Free. For information, visit DowntownIowaCity.com/downtown-block-party.

Sunday, June 25 – Blossoms at Butterworth. Annual summertime event featuring live music, crafts, lawn games, tours, children’s activities, exhibits, food vendors, and more. Butterworth Center (1105 Eighth Street, Moline) and Deere-Wiman Carriage House (817 11th Avenue, Moline). Noon-5 p.m. Free. For information, call (309)743-2701 or visit ButterworthCenter.com.

Monday, July 3 – Red, White, & Boom! Annual Independence Day celebration featuring live music, children’s activities, a climactic fireworks display over the Mississippi River, and more. Modern Woodmen Park (209 South Gaines Street, Davenport) and Schwiebert Riverfront Park (17th Street and First Avenue, Rock Island). 6-10 p.m. Free. For information, visit DowntownDavenport.com and DowntownRockIsland.org.

Tuesday, July 4 – East Moline Firecracker Run and Parade. Holiday event featuring 7:30 a.m. races and a 1 p.m. parade. Run location: Quad Cities Marathon Race Headquarters (733 15th Avenue, East Moline). $22-40 race registration. For information, visit FirecrackerRun.com.

Tuesday, July 4 – Bettendorf Old-Fashioned Fourth of July. Holiday event throughout the city featuring a 10 a.m. parade, games, live music with 10 area bands, vendors, fireworks at dusk, and more. Free. For information and a schedule of events, visit Bettendorf.org.

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher