Rock Island Brewing Company
Friday, August 11, 9 p.m.
Frequently, these What’s Happenin’ articles end with quizzes. But in a cheeky change of pace, we’re gonna start with one: Who, or what, are Supersuckers? (A) Characters on an animated Nick Jr. series; (B) Multi-colored, discontinued Willy Wonka candies; (C) Popular rock and cowpunk musicians; or (D) My bosses for letting me run quizzes in lieu of actual editorial content?
The answer, as the band’s many fans know, is “C.” Unless this is the last week you see quizzes in these pages, in which case it’s “D,” and my bosses have clearly had enough.
The Supersuckers, whose three-man lineup will perform at the Rock Island Brewing Company on August 11, originated as a Tucson, Arizona-based quintet, one of whom was co-founder, bass guitarist, and vocalist Eddie Spaghetti, who’s sill playing with the group 29 years after its inception. Following the musicians’ move to Seattle in 1989, their hard-driving sound landed them numerous area bookings and recording sessions for rock singles, and in 1992 they released both a compilation album (The Songs All Sound the Same) and their first studio album (The Smoke of Hell).
Garage rock was still the Supersuckers’ primary focus in 1995, which found the band releasing The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers and embarking on its first national tour. Yet the ensemble’s musical trajectory changed forever a mere two years later with the release of 1997’s Must’ve Been High – the Supersuckers’ first foray into alternative country and cowpunk that SavingCountryMusic.com called “iconic” and that led to the band recording their first EP with none other than Steve Earle.
In the years since, the Supersuckers have also recorded with the likes of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, the Breeders’ Kelley Deal, and Willie Nelson, even serving as the country legend’s backup band during a booking on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. They’ve toured with a wide range of famed rock and alt-country acts, among them the Ramones, Motörhead, the Reverend Horton Heat, Bad Religion, and Mudhoney. And they’ve thrilled both fans and music critics alike, the latter particularly so with the Supersuckers’ most recent album Holdin’ the Bag.
According to PopMatters.com, the band’s latest shows the musicians “repeatedly crossing the transom between raging, insurgent, renegade rock ’n’ roll and outspoken, often outrageous outlaw country.” American Songwriter magazine raves that the album “ranges from explosive to comparatively subtle, but regardless of the song, it’s always riveting.” And SavingCountryMusic.com states that Holdin’ the Bag finds its musicians “going back to what the Supersuckers do best, which is come out kicking with a shit-eating grin, and then hitting you in the eyes with something meaningful when you least expect it.” As kicking and hitting are also what my seven-year-old nephew does best, it’s nice to know there’s a career path for him.
The Supersuckers perform locally with opening sets by the Krank Daddies and Hong Kong Sleepover, and more information is available by calling (309)793-1999 or visiting RIBCO.com.
Roomful of Blues
The Redstone Room
Wednesday, August 16, 7:30 p.m.
The River Music Experience’s Redstone Room will be transformed into the Redstone Roomful of Blues when the legendary boogie-woogie, swing, and R&B band plays the Davenport venue on August 16. Unfortunately, the group will have to leave its list of professional accomplishments and accolades at the door, because no one’s ever designed a room big enough to house it.
Its roster of current and former members numbering well over 50, Roomful of Blues originated in Westerly, Rhode Island, in 1967, with alto saxophone player Rich Lataille – who remains with the group to this day – jumping aboard in 1970. Performing a blend of Chicago-style blues, R&B, and jazz from the 1940s and ’50s, the group was a club-scene mainstay throughout New England during its first decade of performance, and in 1977 the ensemble released a self-titled debut album through Island Records that quickly garnered them national attention. (It helped that one of Roomful of Blues’ biggest fans was Count Basie, who once called them “the hottest blues band I’ve ever heard.”)
National tours and popular albums such as Hot Little Mama, Dressed Up to Get Messed Up, and Glazed increased the band’s public awareness in the 1980s, as did their collaborations with Joe Turner, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, and Earl King on a trio of Grammy-nominated recordings. With the 1995 release of Turn It On! Turn It Up!, the group earned the biggest radio and sales successes of its existence. And over the 22 years since, Roomful of Blues has achieved more career highs than can conceivably fit in print – but I’ll give it a shot nonetheless.
Five Grammy nominations and seven Blues Music Awards, including a 2005 win as “Blues Band of the Year.” Acknowledgment as the world’s “Best Blues Band” in the Downbeat International Critics Poll – twice. Gigs alongside B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Carlos Santana. International performances at the esteemed North Sea, Montreux, and Stockholm jazz festivals. Tours throughout Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Turkey.
As for what critics have had to say, Blues Revue calls the band “explosive and electrifying” and their music “contagious, finger-popping, head-bopping grooves.” Downbeat magazine deems them “in a class by themselves.” The New Yorker extolls Rooful of Blues’ “thunderous performances that get feet stomping and hands clapping.” Blurt magazine raves, “No group has kept the spirit of early rock and roll alive better than Roomful of Blues.” And the Chicago Sun-Times states, “This is a band on top of its game, sliding easily from big-band jazz-blues to guitar-drenched urban blues … . Let the party begin.”
So I gotta teal you: If this band doesn’t get you cyan with happiness, denim a liar. Azure as I’m sittin’ here.
For more information on the Redstone Room’s evening with Roomful of Blues, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.
Rock of Ages
The Black Box Theatre
Thursday, August 10, through Saturday, August 19
It debuted as a scrappy, silly jukebox musical 2005, staged in a limited-run engagement in a Hollywood Boulevard nightclub. It went on to enjoy short but sold-out runs at Hollywood’s Vanguard and Ren-Mar Studios, followed by a booking at Las Vegas’ Flamingo Hotel. It opened off-Broadway in the fall of 2008, transferring to Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April of 2009. It received five Tony nominations that May, including one for Best Musical. And when it finally closed in January of 2015 after 22 previews and 2,328 performances, it tied Man of La Mancha as the 28th-longest-running Broadway show of all time. To dream the impossible dream, indeed.
The theatrical smash in question is Rock of Ages, a profoundly goofy, undeniably exhilarating salute to 1980s hair-metal hits that was described by Time Out New York as an “insanely fun mix-tape musical” and by NY1 as “an irresistible, offbeat trip of a show that hits all the right notes.” And it’s a smash that’s serving as the summertime production for the Black Box Theatre, with David Miller directing a major gathering of area talents – the biggest yet assembled at the Moline venue: Joanna Brewer, Adam Cerny, Madison Duling, Becca Johnson, Dan Kitsis, Peter Letendre, Aaron Lord, Sydney Marie, Joe Maubach, Mark McGinn, Dave Meumann, Anthony Natarelli, Brant Peitersen, Dani Phillips, Kyle Schneider, Andy Sederquist, Haley Teel, and Keenen Wilson.
I’ve seen a bunch of these gifted performers on-stage before and have had the pleasure of working with several, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: Some of these whippersnappers weren’t even alive during the ’80s heydays of Journey and Poison and REO Speedwagon. So please help educate these tykes by matching the following Rock of Ages songs with the artists who initially made them famous.
1) “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
2) “I Want to Know What Love Is”
3) “Harden My Heart”
4) “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”
5) “The Final Countdown”
6) “Wanted Dead or Alive”
7) “Sister Christian”
A) Pat Benatar
C) Night Ranger
E) Twisted Sister
F) Bon Jovi
Rock of Ages runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., and tickets and information are available by calling (563)284-2350 or visiting TheBlackBoxTheatre.com.
Answers: 1 – E, 2 – B, 3 – G, 4 – A, 5 – D, 6 – F, 7 – C. All songs, by the way, that I memorized in my teens. Like Styx, I guess I just had Too Much Time on My Hands.
What Else Is Happenin’ …?
Thursday, August 3, through Sunday, August 6 – 2017 Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. Annual celebration of the area-native jazz-cornet legend featuring dozens of concert sets at numerous area venues, with headliners including the Fat Babies, the Roof Garden Jass Band, the Dave Bennett Quartet, the Graystone Monarchs, and Swing Central. For information, visit BixSociety.org.
Thursday, August 3, through Sunday, August 6 – Mississippi Valley Fair. Summertime event with contests, games, pageants, food and craft vendors, and nightly grandstand concerts with Vince Neil, Brett Eldredge, John Mellencamp, and Randy Houser. Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds (2815 West Locust Street, Davenport). $5-10 daily gate admission; $50-55 Fun Cards required for grandstand concerts. For information, call (563)326-5338 or visit MVFair.com.
Friday, August 4, and Saturday, August 5 – Iowa Soul Festival. Annual celebration of soul music with concert sets, workshops, children’s activities, and more. Downtown Iowa City. Friday 5-10 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Free. For information, visit SummerOfTheArts.org.
Thursday, August 10, through Saturday, August 12 – Tug Fest. Annual tug-of-war over the Mississippi River, with celebrations held at the Port Byron and LeClaire levees featuring live music, carnival rides and games, food and beverages, children’s activities, and more. Thursday free, Friday and Saturday $4. For information and a schedule of activities, visit TugFest.com (LeClaire) and TugFest.org (Port Byron).
Thursday, August 10, through Sunday, August 20 – Iowa State Fair. Outdoor celebration featuring contests, games, rides, pageants, food and craft vendors, and nightly grandstand concerts. Iowa State Fairgrounds (East 30th Street and East University Avenue, Des Moines). 7 a.m.-1 a.m. grounds, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. buildings, 10 a.m.-midnight midway attractions. $4-12, ages five and under free, extra fees for grandstand acts. For information, call (800)545-3247 or visit IowaStateFair.org.
Saturday, August 12 – Ya Maka My Weekend. The District of Rock Island’s celebration of Caribbean music, food, culture, and island atmosphere, with live music on two stages, food and craft vendors, and more. 4 p.m. gates. $9. For information, call (309)788-6311 or visit DowntownRockIsland.org.
Thursday, August 3 – Lucinda Williams. Alt-country and rock singer/songwriter in concert, featuring an opening set by Bo Ramsey. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $39.50 For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.
Friday, August 4 – Split Lip Rayfield. Kansas-based bluegrass and cowpunk musicians in concert, featuring an opening set by Frank F. Sydney’s Western Bandit Volunteers. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue). 9 p.m. $13. For tickets and information, call (309)793-1999 or visit RIBCO.com.
Saturday, August 5 – Iowa Blues Challenge: Preliminary Round. The Mississippi Valley Blues Society hosts concert sets held in advance of the September 16 finals, with performances by Concreteslim, Juliana & a Soul Purpose, Bruce Kort & Forest Rische, Reggie & the Three Notes, Juliana Logan, and Blue Scratch Band. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue). 8 p.m. $10. For tickets and information, call (563)322-5837 or visit MVBS.org.
Thursday, August 10 – Nicole Atkins. A Moeller Nights concert with the New York-based soul and Americana singer/songwriter, featuring opening sets by The Dove & the Wolf, Harpooner, and Liv Carrow. Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel (304 East Third Street, Davenport). 7 p.m. $15. For tickets and information, visit MoellerNights.com.
Friday, August 11 – The Wallflowers. Grammy-winning and chart-topping rock musicians in concert. Riverside Casino Event Center (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $35-65. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit RiversideCasinoAndResort.com.
Thursday, August 3, through Thursday, August 31 – No Business Like Show Business. The Circa ’21 Bootleggers perform song selections from the theatre’s 40-year production history. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). Thurdays: 6 p.m. buffet, 7:15 p.m. show. $51.73. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit Circa21.com.
Thursday, August 3, through Sunday, August 27 – Guys on Ice: The Ice-Fishing Musical. Musical comedy about two Midwestern fishing buddies, directed by Jackie McCall. Old Creamery Theatre (39 38th Avenue, Amana). Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday 2 p.m. $19.50-31. For tickets and information, call (319)622-6262 or visit OldCreamery.com.
Friday, August 4, through Sunday, August 6 – The Clouds. Genesius Guild’s season-ending production of Aristophanes’ comedy, adapted by Don Wooten. Sunday's show will feature a 7:15 p.m. dedication of the stage in Wooten's honor. Lincoln Park (11th Avenue and 38th Street, Rock Island). 8 p.m. Donations encouraged. For information, visit Genesius.org.
Friday, August 4, through Sunday, August 13 – Sunset Boulevard. Quad City Music Guild presents the Tony-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on the film-noir classic, directed by Kevin Pieper. Prospect Park Auditorium (1584 34th Avenue, Moline). Thursday through Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $11-16. For tickets and information, call (309)762-6610 or visit QCMusicGuild.com.
Friday, August 4, through Sunday, August 13 – Brighton Beach Memoirs. The Mississippi Bend Players’ production of Neil Simon’s Tony-winning comedy memoir, directed by Corinne Johnson. Augustana College’s Brunner Theatre Center (3750 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island). Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m. $12-15. For tickets and information, call (309)794-7306 or visit MississippiBendPlayers.com.
Friday, August 4, and Saturday, August 5 – Peter & Wendy. Missoula Children’s Theatre presents a family musical performed by children from the DeWitt area. Central DeWitt Performing Arts Center (519 East 11th Street, DeWitt). Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 3:30 p.m. $5-15. For tickets and information, call (563)249-8541 or visit CD-PAC.org.
Thursday, August 10, through Sunday, August 20 – Little Shop of Horrors. Tony-nominated musical comedy based on the low-budget comedy/horror movie. Timber Lake Playhouse (8215 Black Oak Road, Mt. Carroll, Illinois). Tuesday through Saturday 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Wednesday, and August 12 at 2 p.m. $17-25. For tickets and information, call (815)244-2035 or visit TimberLakePlayhouse.org.
Thursday, August 10, through Saturday, August 19 – The 39 Steps. Patrick Barlow’s Tony-winning screwball comedy based on the Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (311 Riverview Drive, Clinton). 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.
Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13 – Alice in Wonderland Jr. Student production of the Lewis Carroll story with songs from Disney’s animated movie, directed by Richard Hall. Ohnward Fine Arts Center (1215 East Platt Street, Maquoketa). Saturday 7 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. $7-13. For tickets and information, call (563)652-9815 or visit OhnwardFineArtsCenter.com.
Saturday, August 12 – Quad Cities Ballet Folklorico: Mexican Fiesta X. Students perform a recital featuring a variety of traditional Mexican dances from Chiapas, Sinaloa, Veracruz, Jalisco, and more. Scottish Rite Cathedral (1800 Seventh Avenue, Moline). 7 p.m. $8. For tickets and information, call (309)948-4443 or visit TheQCBF.com.
Friday, August 11, through Friday, August 29 – Summer of Love Tribute. Alan Campbell's photography exhibit celebrating the spirit of the '60s and the 50th anniversary of "The Summer of Love." MidCoast Gallery at Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street, Davenport). Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Free. For information, call (563)424-1210 or visit MidCoast.org.
Saturday, August 5 – The Magnificent Seventeen. Western-themed fundraising event featuring live music by The Midwestern Swing, local entertainers, food and beverages, and more. Orpheum Theatre (57 South Kellogg Street, Galesburg). 7 p.m. $60. For tickets and information, call (309)342-2299 or visit GalesburgOrpheum.org.
Thursday, August 10, through Sunday, August 13 – Cirque Italia. Outdoor performances by the traveling circus that combines acrobatics, dance, contortion, and high-performance BMX and roller-skating. SouthPark Mall, in the White & Blue Big Top Tent (4500 16th Street, Moline). Thursday through Saturday 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. $10-70. For tickets, call (941)704-8572 or visit CirqueItalia.com.
Saturday, August 12 – Bags ’n’ Brews Fundraiser. Fifth-annual fundraiser for Gilda’s Club Quad Cities, featuring a bags tournament, local craft beers, live music, a silent auction, raffle items, and more. Gilda’s Club Quad Cities (1234 East River Drive, Davenport). 2:30 p.m. For information, visit BagsAndBrews.com.