May 19 Brian Johannesen
Sponsored by Garage Mahaul
Originally from Iowa City, IA by way of Chicago, IL, Johannesen’s music blends the rich Americana traditions of the Midwest and the South. Raised on a steady diet of Bruce Springsteen and Alabama, Johannesen blends this musical foundation with the music he has grown to love as an adult, including Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, John Prine and Guy Clark. Johannesen’s lyrics and melodies evoke common themes of whiskey, women, and an insatiable wanderlust with a poignancy that sets him apart from other young Americana singer-songwriters. Gritty and beautiful at the same time, his voice and songwriting possess maturity well beyond his 28 years. Johannesen released two albums in 2011 and 2012 with his Iowa City-based band, Grand Tetons. He released a self-titled 10" in the summer of 2013 and had his song "Because i Bloody Well Stammer" named one of Daytrotter.com's Best Songs of 2013. His forthcoming album, Northern Town, will be released in late spring 2017.
Johannesen has played with Shovels & Rope, Justin Townes Earle, Joe Pug, The Felice Brothers, Other Lives, S. Carey, The Cave Singers, William Elliott Whitmore, Langhorne Slim, Lydia Loveless, Paul Thorn, Willy Tea Taylor, Charlie Parr, David Dondero, Fruition, The Poison Control Center, Ryan Joseph Anderson, Alexis Stevens, The Lonelyhearts, and many more.
May 19 Dave Zollo & the Body Electric
Sponsored by Garage Mahaul
Since bursting on to the midwestern music scene with the band High and Lonesome in 1992, David Zollo has had a busy career. Along with constant touring, in the U.S and Europe, with High and Lonesome (1992-1998;) and his current band, The Body Electric (1998-present) Zollo has recorded 7 records of his own material, including the most recent, 2015's "For Hire."
In addition, he founded and operated the seminal, Iowa-based, roots music label, Trailer Records (Bo Ramsey; Joe and Vicki Price; Greg Brown; The Pines; Brother Trucker; Kelly Parkeooper; Pieta Brown, as well as his own work, and that of others, from 1994-2005;) played keyboards and sang harmonies on many records by Nashville folk singer Todd Snider; fellow Iowan William Elliot Whitmore, and Greg Brown, amongst many other artists; and worked as a producer (The Pines; Brother Trucker; Kelly Pardekooper.) This year, he also formed a new band with Whitmore, guitarists Stephen Howard and Steve Doyle, and Body Electric drummer Brian Cooper, called Middle Western, which is currently finishing its debut release at Iowa City's Flat Black Studios.
Despite the many things Zollo has done during his career, it is as a live performer that many feel he's at his best. Check him out at a venue near you, or visit www.davezollo.com for a list of upcoming shows.
May 26 City High and West High Jazz Ensembles
Sponsored by AW Welt Ambrisco
Under the direction of Ryan Arp, the City High Little Hawks Jazz program will again be playing at the Friday Night Concert Series. The Little Hawks play at multiple venues each year, and always look forward to the opportunity to play on the Ped Mall. Rich & Rob Medd direct the dynamic West High Trojan Jazz program, presenting their top two jazz ensembles. The Friday Night Concert Series is a great opportunity for the students to get out and share their music with each other and the community.
YouTube (City High): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG2ZeA_zxA8
YouTube (West High): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q16BBtIOnY
June 9 Meteor Cat
Sponsored by RSM
Meteor Cat is a collaboration of musicians dedicated to preserving funk and soul music by excavating and performing deep cuts while mixing in crafted originals. The 10 piece band formed in 2012 while writing songs and performing in Iowa City. Along the way the band has played some notable stages like the Englert theater and Camp Euforia. You might have heard them pay tribute to their favorite artists by playing whole sets of Parliament Funkadelic and Stevie Wonder. Now with their first album recorded and available online, they play across the state bringing their high energy and engaging show to every stage.
June 9 Local on the 8’s
Sponsored by RSM
Local on the 8s, a group of musicians from across Iowa, utilizes a compelling combination and mixture of progressive rock, jazz, R&B, hip hop and funk music. Performing original compositions as well as the music of Trombone Shorty, Roy Hargrove, Kneebody, Christian Scott, Snarky Puppy and many others, Local on the 8s offers high energy music, steeped in tradition and sophistication, that will make anyone dance. Local on the 8s seeks to erase the lines between the mainstream and the underground - straight ahead and rock/funk.
Facebook: Local on the 8s - Facebook
June 16 Goose Town
Goose Town is made up of past and present jazz students from the University of Iowa and Northern Iowa. The band is lead by a killin' horn section and fronted by Emily Snyder on vocals. GT's mission is to get your booty shakin' and they do this with music from Erykah Badu, Vulfpeck, Stevie Wonder, Hiatus Kaiyote, Michael Jackson and many more. You can find out more about them on FB or follow them on instagram @goosetown5000.
June 16 Soul Sherpa
Soul Sherpa was pieced together from the remains of members of a jazz combo from Kirkwood Community College. After playing m...usic with each other daily, there was such an indescribable connection that we just couldn't leave behind. Having similar inspirations and aspirations, Soul Sherpa emerged. We strive to bring the groove from our hearts to the audience, playing a mixture of R&B, Funk, Pop, Jazz, and Soul music.
June 23 Death Valley Welcome Center
Death Valley Welcome Center began in 2015, shortly after singer Linzi Holandes moved from the lonely deserts of Arizona to Iowa City, where she began writing songs with local music scene veterans Louie Doerge (drums) and Jonathan Hansen (guitar). Inspired by Holandes’ powerful voice, the group draws from equal parts R&B and indie rock, creating a distinct sound that is soulful and moody, dark and anthemic. In 2016, DVWC released a 4-song EP of live performances, and the band is currently developing their first studio album, which promises to be an audacious debut with instrumentation as grand and dramatic as Holandes’ voice.
July 7 The Fez
Sponsored by Herteen & Stocker Jewelers
If you are a Steely Dan fan, The Fez is going to knock your socks off! The Fez is a 15-piece band composed of some of the finest musicians in Eastern Iowa dedicated to faithfully reproducing the jazz/rock fusion masterpieces of Steely Dan. Featuring a 4-piece horn section, 3 backup singers, 2 keyboardists (including a genuine Rhodes 88), 2 guitarists, and one of the best rhythm sections around, The Fez captures the magic of Steely Dan's glory days. The band is comprised of veteran players from other notable bands, such as Public Property, OSG, Dr. Z's Experiment, Jumbies, Insectoid, Saul Lubaroff Jazz Ensemble, Amanda Miller and the Super Secrets, We Funk, Big Funk Guarantee, various big bands, etc, etc.
July 14 The Recliners
Sponsored by Calacci Construction
Iowa City mainstays for more the past 24 years, the Recliners play a wide variety of music that is hard to classify. Perhaps a category labeled “contemporary Acoustic-Pop-Folk-Indie-Rock” would fit the bill.
Their repertoire has something for almost everyone, from classic ‘60s and ‘70s rock to songs by contemporary singer-songwriters, from American folk to Irish melodies, bluegrass and Van Morrison to the edgy rock and ballads of Richard Thompson. Their goal is to play the most beautiful and/or interesting music and to make sure everyone enjoys the journey.
July 21 Candymakers
Sponsored by Zephyr Printing
The Candymakers are a Rock N’ Soul band with the traditions of old-school R&B and funk. This young band offers a sound that is contemporary, yet keeps the essence of music past. Though the band is known for its soulful male vocalist, it is anchored by the collaborative genius of its blues driven guitarist, gospel influenced female back-up vocals and funky rhythm section. Often joined by a rotating cast of horn players, the band can be seen with up to 12 members on stage.
After forming in 2010, they were awarded 1st place in the 2011 Blues Challenge. After reaching the semi-finals in both The International Blues Challenge and The Kings of Beale Street Competition, they returned to release their debut album in February of 2012. Their second studio effort ‘Ridiculicious” was released in September of 2014. The band has spent the last two years touring regionally around the Midwest.
July 21 The Maytags
Gaining in popularity over the years, especially since the release of their newest album, The Maytags have drawn attention from many and received countless outstanding reviews. Joe Lawler from Juice Magazine said "Fast-forward to a year later and it's clear that that band is just wildly talented, not a wild card." Another review from VICE, stated "The Maytags' music swings. It differs from all of Des Moines' other retro offerings by it's sheer vibrancy - there's just warmth lining every note."
July 28 Winterland
Specializing in the Grateful Dead’s music from 1969 through the late 1970s, Winterland pulls you back in time to a place where the Dead’s rhythm and blues, folk, and country roots were still deeply embedded in their music even as they explored the wild and experimental frontiers of psychedelic rock. More importantly, though, Winterland channels the music of the Grateful Dead with an uncanny authenticity, a sublime fidelity to the Dead’s musicianship, sound and emotional connection with the audience – that almost indefinable something that, according to audience feedback, Dead fans are currently hard pressed to find elsewhere.
August 11 Flash in a Pan
Sponsored by Old Capitol Screen Printers
A collective of Iowa City musicians have teamed up to ramble everywhere from street corners to red carpet events. Founded in 2012, named on the assumption that the band would play two shows and dissolve; the band is currently in its Fourth year of playing all over Iowa. These pickers and grinners bring a fun mix of folk music of many shades. With warm humor and fiery content, this band will have you dancing and laughing, singing and stomping, and cherishing the moments we drink to remember! Noted for their shining harmonies, provocative compositions, and heart-felt performances, Flash in a Pan dishes out a sound that is all at once familiar and refreshingly different.
August 11 Cedar County Cobras
Sponsored by Old Capitol Screen Printers
Cedar County Cobras have been described as contagious, acoustic rockabilly, dancing bluegrass, or brand new old-time country with the gritty sound of soulful blues. The band is made up of two brothers, a gal and a small army of string instruments to make original music that can only be found down a gravel road in rural Iowa. The blues and rock sound comes from the Spielbauer brothers who bring with them twenty years of playing boogie-woogie music in the band Porch Builder. The mandolin player brings years of experience playing in traditional bluegrass circles and learning celtic mandolin to make up the signature "gypsy" sound that can be heard in the cobra songs and she plays a hard-driving rockabilly bass. It is almost impossible to box the sound of The Cobras into one musical genre...just know that you should be prepared to bring your dancing shoes and party with this musical troupe playing true Iowa music.
August 18 Jack Lion
One of Iowa City's premier bands, Jack Lion's sound is a one-a-kind gem in the Iowa music landscape. Mixing some traditional jazz sounds with electronic music, Jack Lion's music would please both Miles Davis and Nine Inch Nails fans.
August 25 Paa Kow
Paa Kow is an internationally renowned artist, drum set player, composer, and producer. Growing up in the small village of Enyan Denkyira near Cape Coast in Ghana, West Africa, Paa Kow began to play music and tour with his family’s concert band at a very early age. He has since grown to be widely recognized as one of the most remarkable drum set players to tour in Africa, Europe, and America. Paa Kow’s deep groove and prodigious talent reveal a unique ability to speak to listeners with his drums, inspiring a profound spiritual conversation. His songs are captivating and danceable and incorporate lyrics in his native language, Fante, as well as English. Paa Kow’s vision is to spread the music and culture of his homeland by touring the world with his Afro-Fusion orchestra.
Notable musicians he has shared the stage with include African greats: Amakye Dede, George Darko, Kojo Antwi, Nat Brew, Hugh Masekela, and Vusi Mahlasela, as well as American greats Victor Wooten, Brad Goode, John Gunther, Michael Kang, and many more.