Iowa City Weekender: November 18-21

The balmy days have left. The chill has set in. Dig up your blankets and start preparing for the cold times to come. Oh wait, crap, I’m not supposed to talk about that, am I? Whatever. Even if it is ice cold outside, I will get you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Want to know how? Let me show you.


Wolf Parade | Englert Theatre | 8:00 PM | $18, All Ages

Coming from our frigid neighbors to the north, Wolf Parade has been one of the most consistent bands in the indie rock world for the past few years. While they started rather modestly, it is safe to say they are at the stage of being indie rock royalty as they are critically lauded and publicly loved. They write passionate, articulate songs and back them with beautiful instrumentation. Wolf Parade is one of the truly creative and thoroughly consistent bands working on the underground right now. You can check them out as they will be visiting Iowa City’s Englert Theatre on Thursday in support of their new album Expo 86.


Paula Cole w/ Brendan James | Englert Theatre | 8:00 PM | $25-35, All Ages

If you know Paula Cole, it’s safe to bet it’s in one of two primary ways. The first is through her amazing single from the 1990s “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone,” a song which holds up outside of its decade. The other is because you are a Dawson’s Creek fan, and know her as the lady that sang the theme song. While that is OK, it is also unfortunate. Cole is an amazing singer-songwriter, one that got thrown into the pool of confident, self-expressing women, which is what I will refer to as the Lilith Fair. Much like the Lilith Fair, Cole disappeared for a time to reappear, reminding us that she shouldn’t have been typecast with that movement. The Cole that we see now is the same one we knew before, the one with the beautiful voice and striking lyrics but is also more than just a woman scorned. Her lyrics cover a range of different topics, showing a variety of sincere, moving emotions. Supported by Brendan James, Cole will grace the stage of the Englert in support of her new album Ithaca.

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound | Blue Moose Tap House | 9:00 PM | $7, 21+

Coming straight out of Chicago, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound is a whale of a band. Mixing classic soul and 60s-style garage rock, this band has a sound that’s funky, soulful, rocking, and danceable all at the same time. The last part is the most important as JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound are well known for their live shows. These guys don’t mess around. Brooks belts it out and the Uptown Sound puts it down. Your head will bop, your toes will tap, and your hips will sway, even if you do not want them to. If you’re not in the mood to watch Paula Cole, you should try to find your way to the Blue Moose instead. For the modest price of $7, you will be entertained and having fun thanks to these fine gentlemen.


Jesse Albrecht: UXO | Public Space One | 2 PM | Free, All Ages

The November show at Public Space One is entitled UXO. Done by Jesse Albrecht, it is the expression of the struggle he has with the current Iraqi war. Rather than the horror of war being the sticking point, Albrecht’s art is more concerned with how he has adapted to coming home and dealt with his decision of leaving the war. Using bronze, castings, photographs, and found objects amongst other things, Albrecht has created a personal narrative which will guide the viewer through his struggle with life after war. It’s a moving installation, one that should be seen by everyone regardless of how they feel about the war.

Dan Cummins w/ Mike Koenig | The Mill | 9:00 PM | $10 Adv, $12 Day of Show, 21+

Dan Cummins is a stand-up comic that is quickly on the rise. Noted in Punchline magazine for releasing one of the top ten comedy albums of 2009 with his debut Revenge Is Near, Cummins is very talented. If you watch any of the stand-up on Comedy Central (remember: this is what they’re supposed to be known for rather than the bombs of television shows they’ve cranked out recently), there is a very good chance you’ve seen him as he has been on Live at Gotham and had his own special Crazy With A Capital F. If you don’t have cable, you may have seen him on a short-lived show called The Tonight Show w/ Conan O’ Brien. Remember that? Yea, that was a weird time. Anyway, Cummins is an excellent talent with great material and an impressive work ethic. Supported by Mike Koenig, Cummins will be on his grind at the Mill, working the stage and busting guts.

Bumpus w/ Flavor Savers & Shoeless Revolution | Iowa City Yacht Club | 9:00 PM | $7, 21+

On two nights at two separate venues, there will be two solid funk shows with bands from Chicago. For this show, the band will be Bumpus. Well known to the local area due to their previous sets on the Yacht Club stage, Bumpus is infamous for their live shows and their adaptability, able to play funk with the best of them while still being able to slide into a jam with ease. They are musicians through and through, and it shows in their music which is thoroughly rooted in funk but still shows a diversity of genres. They will be joined by Flavor Savers, another Chicago band. Rather than being based in funk, Flavor Savers recall groups like the Pips with their synchronized dance moves and Mantronix with their drum machines and electronica-based sound. They say themselves that if you don’t dance and have fun, they haven’t succeeded. That’s a promise more people wished bands would make. Rounding out this impressive line-up is local band Shoeless Revolution. If you want to get your dance on Saturday, this is your spot.


Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great | Englert Theatre | 2:00 PM | $12 Adults & $8 Children 12 and under, All Ages

Iowa City is a great city for families, and we at the Weekender want to offer options for them as well. This week offers a great one in Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great. Based on the book of the same name by arguably the greatest children’s author ever Judy Blume, the play follows the life of 10-year-old Sheila Tubman as she overcomes the many troubles in her life to become an awesome young lady. Rather than being just involved with this play in name, Blume also assisted in the writing of this play, working with Greg Gunning. Musical, funny, poignant and touching, this show will be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with the family.

The Weekender wants to wish everyone a lovely Thanksgiving. Eat a lot and take in someone that has nowhere else to go. It might cut back on the leftovers, but honestly, how many weeks do you want to eat reheated turkey, sweet potatoes, and green beans? Probably not even one, so give a person in need a meal. Safe travels to wherever you are going for Thanksgiving, whether that is to the coast, a foreign country, or upstairs from the basement.

The Weekender will be back in TWO weeks. Until that second week comes, stay warm and have fun.


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