Show Recap: Adobanga, Songbird Bethann, River Glen @ Blue Moose Tap House 10/1/2011

Three Iowa groups performed Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Blue Moose Tap House. River Glen (River Breitbach) of Iowa City opened with a dynamic set of tunes on acoustic guitar and wailing fiddle. He experimented with a looping pedal, producing fantastic, layered compositions. River sings with exuberance and charisma, like Brett Dennen or Eric Earley (of Blitzen Trapper), and he can play a wild, reeling fiddle solo. River’s music is precocious, infectious and entertaining.

Iowa City’s Songbird Bethann (Bethann Gavin) and Zaplin Vermie performed next, playing an acoustic set of original tunes. (Disclosure: Bethann is the author’s adorable little sister.) She writes songs that are heartfelt–yet wry–stories of losses and lessons, of the heart, the head and how we get by. Her guitar and voice form an intimate duo with Zaplin’s playful ukulele. Bethann’s vocals are lush and gorgeous. She displays breathtaking dynamic control across her broad range; she can whisper or wail with equal intensity. Her sound recalls anti-folk darlings JayMay and Laura Viers, but Songbird Bethann’s clever lyrics and outstanding musicality make her stand out.

Adobanga, of Cedar Rapids, is a large group that plays high energy,  polished music. They are fronted by three beautiful women, Bree Nettie and Nikki Dietze on vocals, and Hannah Drollinger filling in on fiddle. Clayton Stanek leads the group, writes much of the music, plays the keyboard and sings. Justin Crippen adds backing vocals and Christopher Cook plays a screaming electric guitar. They have a tight rhythm section of Adam Gill on bass, Nathan Parsons on percussion, and Eric Madison on drums. Such a crew makes the band’s sound wonderfully versatile: They play danceable pop tunes, sultry blues songs and even gypsy-influenced rock. An Adobanga song has multiple vocal parts, tight guitar and piano solos, solid rythym and screaming fiddle rills. Their stage presence is electric, as they dance, have a good time and encourage the audience to do the same.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.