Lookin’ to get down, but not sure where to go this weekend? It’s OK; happens to the best of us. Don’t let Monday find you with no great stories to share. Little Village has the lowdown on this weekend’s can’t-miss shows.
Charlie Parr w/ Tommy Santee Klaws
The Mill — Friday, May 18 at 8:30 p.m.; tickets $12-15
Legendary folk/country-blues superstar Charlie Parr, still touring with his September release, Dog, hits The Mill on Friday night for a perfect way to start your weekend. Parr combines keen observations, a gracious humility and incredible skill in deeply personal tunes that are Midwestern to the core.
Matthew Grimm w/ Jason T. Lewis
El Banditos — Friday, May 18 at 9 p.m.; no cover
Whenever Matthew Grimm swings back into town, it’s worth your time to stop by. And El Banditos, recently judged the best margarita in Iowa, is a great spot to see him, as they work to establish themselves as a music venue in their newly renovated space. Their live music series only kicked off about a month ago, so take time to check it out!
Har-Di-Har w/ Dizzy Bridges, whatcheer
Trumpet Blossom Cafe — Friday, May 18 at 8:30 p.m.; $5 cover
LV reviewer Michael Roeder called Cedar Falls duo Har-Di-Har’s latest, we will will you, “an impressionistic, emotions-laid-bare illustration of the mental wrestling about coming back together.” Supporting act Dizzy Bridges garnered praise in his recent Little Village review, as well. You’re in for a delightful evening of densely layered psychedelic pop.
Cedar Rapids Independent Artist Assault
Dick’s Tap and Shake Room — Friday, May 18 at 9:30 p.m.; tickets $8-10
Commanders, who were praised in the pages of LV for their unabashed, strut-filled rock and roll, join with Cedar Rapids rapper Imperfekt and delightfully category-defiant CR Dicks for a full set each to celebrate independent artists.
Russian Guitar Festival Epic Jam Session
Sanctuary Pub — Friday, May 18 at 10 p.m.; tickets $8-10
The IARGUS 12th annual Russian Guitar Festival kicked off on Wednesday and has fantastic events through Sunday that you should make a point to try to catch. But if there’s only room for one Russian guitar event in your weekend, make it the Epic Jam Session with festival co-founder Oleg Timofeyev and friends.
Blake Shaw Trio
College Street by the Iowa City Public Library — Saturday, May 19 at 7 p.m.; no cover
Ready to inject a little jazz into your Saturday night? Check out the kickoff to the 17-week-long Live at the Market series in downtown Iowa City. Blake Shaw, in addition to being a familiar studio name for countless area bands’ recordings, is a staple of the IC jazz scene in any of his ensemble incarnations.
Uptown Bill’s Coffeehouse — Saturday, May 19 at 7 p.m.; $5-10 suggested donation
If you’re in search of another folk fix for the weekend, look no further than the sweeter sounds of Sweet Cacophony, filling the weekly Saturday night music slot at Uptown Bill’s. A couple of years ago, I sang the praises of the delicious harmonies on their release Wind, Sand & Stars.
Wooden Nickle Lottery
Kosek Bandstand in Czech Village — Saturday, May 19 at 7 p.m.; no cover
Make a day of it on Saturday — head to Czech Village in Cedar Rapids for Houby Days, the annual celebration of all things mushroom. Whether or not you’re in it for the ‘shrooms, don’t miss Cedar Rapids blues rock favorites and Parlor City regulars Wooden Nickel Lottery closing out Saturday’s festivities at the bandstand.
Elizabeth Moen w/ Sister Wife
CSPS Legion Arts — Saturday, May 19 at 8 p.m.; tickets $13-16
Iowa City chanteuse Elizabeth Moen is bringing her inimical voice to Cedar Rapids for a perfect match of venue to artist at CSPS Hall. The singer-songwriter explored an array of genres on her guest-heavy, who’s-who-of-Iowa-music sophomore album last year and has since debuted a couple of captivating covers here on LittleVillageMag.com.
King of the Tramps w/ El Tejon
The Mill — Saturday, May 19 at 9 p.m.; tickets $8
Close things out with the “whiskey gospel” of Auburn, Iowa’s King of the Tramps. Settle in at The Mill for what a 2016 LV review called “anthemic songs with a mixture of swagger, attitude and honest-to-goodness road-seasoned grooves.”