Frightfully good stuff - Roberta's blog

What happens when three of my favorite venues have important happenings on the same night? That’s right – three big Halloween parties at three area venues on one night (there were a lot more, but these three were those I could not turn down). Read on to learn where I went and who I saw…

I knew going into this weekend that Friday was going to be a tough night. In fact, I warned Tiffany and Shawn Biehl of Codfish Hollow I might not make it there. I had important things to do in the Quad-cities that night. How could I possibly stretch myself in 3 directions, including Maquoketa in that stretch? Luckily, the Candymakers decided to have two shows in the same night at the Redstone Room, so they were starting early enough for me to make a stop there first. Well – sort of early enough. I stayed for a few songs of the early, all-ages show – and it was definitely a party worth enjoying. I can only imagine what the later show was like. I loved the giant hats they brought out for “Workin”. I wish I could have stayed longer – there was so much to take in just at this show alone. The fine stage and table decorations and the costumes were pretty amazing – but how about that Hammond organ?

Next up was The Muddy Waters. Their Halloween bash was a fundraiser for The Mercury Brothers, to help them put together the money for their International Blues Challenge appearance in January. This also served as a going-away party for Hal and Kristy. I wanted to be there to thank them for their 4+ years of service to the local music community and their support of Local Scene. The venue was packed with musicians and music lovers when I arrived, and the Mercury Brothers were getting ready to take the stage. Shortly the bar would be all abuzz as the band proved why they won the Iowa Blues Challenge this year. I could easily have spent the rest of the evening here as well. I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet Randy, the new owner of The Muddy Waters, and hope to continue to have a relationship with the venue. I’m also looking forward to keeping an eye on Kristy Bennett and her future plans. Something tells me we will be hearing from her soon enough!

And with that, it was time to leave Bettendorf and hit the road for Maquoketa. This was the final barn show of the year, and though the temperatures outdoors were about as cold as you could get on Halloween, the barn would prove to be warm and inviting, and promised to bring us the exciting and unusual.

By the time I arrived, the first two acts were done and Pizza Underground was on stage. Here is where we discuss “unusual”. Pizza Underground is a tongue-in-cheek look at Velvet Underground covers, rewritten to be about pizza. Yes, you read that right – pizza. Now, though the songs have the framework of what the Velvet Underground originally wrote, they loosely resemble VU songs. The draw of such a band might just be the celebrity membership – this band includes Macauley Culkin of “Home Alone” fame. Of course, this being a Halloween show, the members were in costume – which I think added to the uniqueness of the band. The barn was full of happy, partying people – and a whole lot of great costumes. Though I’ve read stories of the band being booed off stage at other venues, the Codfish Hollow community was very appreciative and even called for an encore.

The final act of the night was Har Mar Superstar. Though a very visual act, Har Mar provides a good blend of musical talent and beautiful vocals. Overheard in the barn, “this guy sounds great and doesn’t care what anyone thinks!” It was pretty obvious that he completely enjoyed what he was doing and was doing it his way. I found myself torn between trying to get the best shots of the high-energy performance and wanting to close my eyes and just listen. He also brought Culkin on stage to perform a song, and took us all along on the comedic romp. I’m really glad I made it out to the barn – I would have missed two fun bands that I probably would not have gone out of my way to see otherwise.

The entire week was big for the local music scene. The previous weekend was full of Halloween parties – nearly every bar or venue in the QC had some sort of costume party or live music event. More examples of the week’s events: Monday night, I checked out The Mississippi Valley Blues Society show at The Muddy Waters. Blues musician Bruce Katz brought in a good crowd for a Monday night and the audience enjoyed the show.

Wednesday night, RIBCO held its annual Pumpkin tap takeover, and The Last Glimpse performed as The Smashing Pumpkins for a very large turnout. It was to hear a local original band doing covers. They were well done and everyone was enjoying the music.

Saturday night found me in the District for yet another Halloween bash. This time, RIBCO hosted Have Your Cake and The Dawn for a Halloween extravaganza that included bouncing balls and disco lighting as well as great local music. Once again, the costumes were out of this world, and the venue was packed. I would say from my random sampling the last two weeks, that the Quad Cities music scene had a frightfully good Halloween.

November tends to be a quieter month in the music scene, and I’ve already seen a slight reduction in the number of advertised shows for the upcoming weeks. Local bands and venues, if you have something planned, please let me know through the magazine email at or my Facebook page and we’ll get your gigs on our calendar. Remember – calendar posts are FREE! (And those posters we share out through the Facebook page and Twitter don’t cost you anything but the time it takes to create them).

Meanwhile music lovers, get out and enjoy some live music this week! Just because the weather is turning colder, that doesn't mean the music stops!! Support your scene!