Legendary Quad Cities groove-rock band Burnt McMelba Toast is reuniting for a concert on Friday at RIBCO in The District of Rock Island. Drummer Erik Wilson (who now lives in Philadelphia) and guitarist/singer Pat Willis (presently of Colorado) will return to the Quad Cities for a special show that will also feature original Toast drummer Kevin Moore on some songs.

Although Burnt McMelba Toast has played only a handful of dates since it disbanded more than four years ago - after seven years as a group - its members have little trouble getting back into the groove. "We've always been a spontaneous band," said guitarist/singer Matt Friesz. "We played together so long, we still know where we're going."

The band, which also features bassist Rodney Shaw, will have only one practice session before its Friday gig, but fans should still expect a couple new songs.

And this might be a reunion that lasts forever; Burnt McMelba Toast plans to record its Friday gig and release it as a CD.

"It's just going to be a good high-energy show," Friesz said.

Tenki and Knee Deep Shag on Saturday

Saturday night brings another band with Quad Cities roots: Chicago's Tenki, with former members of Tripmaster Monkey, Team Player, Moreno, and Dick Justice. The show also features the acclaimed pop-funk stew of Michigan's Knee Deep Shag.

Tenki's new album, Red Baby, is full of rich, off-the-wall pop that recalls the oddball bounce of The Flaming Lips augmented by horns. While most bands have gotten into the habit of releasing bloated records that wear out listeners, Tenki's seven-track, 32-minute outing - and one selection is more of a 90-second interlude than a song - only whets the appetite. You don't want Red Baby to end, and that makes it a great teaser for this weekend's show.

The five-member outfit can pump out horn-and-keys funk rock and relatively straightforward power pop with the best of them, but it's also adept at delicate arrangements, such as the opening minute of "On Such a Day." And sometimes, you'll get all these elements in a single song, but the progressive-rock shifts come from the songs rather than in spite of them. Tenki is a bit like a blender, with the crucial difference that you know what's going to come out will be tasty, no matter what ingredients have been thrown in.

Burnt McMelba Toast will perform Friday, March 1, at RIBCO, with Rearview Mirror opening. On March 2, the club will showcase Knee Deep Shag and Tenki. Both shows start at 10 p.m.

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