Three November shows to warm your cold, cold heart

Black Dahlia Murder
Don’t forget your earplugs for the Black Dahlia Murder show! — photo by Ed Battes

The Black Dhalia Murder

w/ Skeletonwitch, Fallujah, Wolvhammer, Heavyweight
Blue Moose Tap House — Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. ($16-18)

If you’re in the mood for something decidedly more fast-paced, and potentially seizure inducing, head over to the Blue Moose for a full evening of melodic death metal and thrash revival. Known for experimenting with the genres of Scandinavian-style death metal and metalcore, The Black Dahlia Murder have been growling their way into the hearts of metal fans for well over a decade. Their latest LP Everblack features strobelight paced rhythms, frenetic key changes and maniacal growling. The album’s lyrics are brimming with horror film based imagery and as a whole is reminiscent of death metal pioneers Cannibal Corpse, with whom they have toured in the past. Another genre-mixing band taking the stage will be Skeletonwitch who recently released their LP, Serpents Unleashed. As part of the thrash revival, Skeletonwitch draws hardcore punk kids and metalheads alike. Their song “Bringers of Death” appeared on the 2010 Adult swim metal compilation Metal Swim and they recently played with Ghost BC at a Lollapalooza afterparty. The more politically charged Bay Area band Fallujah and Minneapolis’ Wolvhammer will be making appearances, and Iowa’s own Heavyweight will be kicking things off. This is a lot of metal packed into one night, so don’t forget to bring your inconspicuous earplugs.

Rickie Lee Jones

The Englert – Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. ($35)

Rickie Lee Jones is one of those artists who has enjoyed mainstream success without being eaten alive by the music industry beast. In 1980, Jones won the Grammy for best new artist following the unlikely success of her jazzy single, “Chuck E.’s in Love.” Unlike other music-industry successes that sacrifice their souls to pop stardom or flee to the comforting embrace of obscurity, Jones has soldiered on after winning her award and continues to make weird old jazz standards cool again.

During the span of her career, Jones has experimented with all varieties of genres, but she is best known for her stripped-down vocal style that manages to sound sultry yet vulnerable. If I were to place her into a musical family, her sisters would be Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash. Her daughter would be piano playing songstress Norah Jones—who has no relation to Jones in real life, despite sharing strikingly similar vocal styles and last names.

In the past, Jones has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Tori Amos, Allison Kraus and Vic Chesnutt. Jones’ latest album, The Devil You Know, was produced by Ben Harper and features her unique take on songs from Neil Young, the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. Find out why they call her the “Duchess of Cool” when she plays The Englert.

Pieta Brown

The Englert — Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ($20-23)

Iowa City-born homegirl and folk rock songstress Pieta Brown will be taking the stage at The Englert as part of her annual community event, “This Land is Your Music,” where, this time, a portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to Hickory Hill Park, Iowa Public Radio and KCCK public radio.

Brown’s unique blend of folk, alt-country and blues has made her a favorite of critics and music fans alike. Joining her on stage will be her husband, blues-rock guitarist Bo Ramsey. The warmth and familial closeness translates in the duo’s performance—combining Ramsey’s electric guitar twangs with Brown’s blues-inflected vocals and acoustic strums. This performance is part of The Englert’s Intimate Series, meaning that you, too, can get in on the good family vibes and share the stage with Brown and Ramsey alongside the rest of the audience. Kelley Pardekooper will be performing an opening set following the release of his most recent Ramsey-produced folk-blues album Yonder, and there will be a short reading by local writer and Englert executive director, Andre Perry. Prior to the show, a reception for Brown’s photography exhibition “Here, There and Everywhere” will be held from 5-7 p.m. in the theatre’s Douglas and Linda Paul Gallery.

Rebecca Robinson is a street wise grad student, an unrepentant Texan, an amateur UFO enthusiast, and a co-host of the Fuzz Fix on KRUI. For more info you can go to

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