Thursday, January 3, 2013

Three Bands and Three Bass Fiddles

Friday night I saw 3 bands I haven’t seen before. I knew what to expect out of two of them, but one caught me by surprise – and it was all good.

Dan Olds and Jon Moss of Squid's Beard
Squid’s Beard is a local bluegrass trio. I’ve seen guitarist Jon Moss and uke/mandolin player Chad Koker play at one of Steve McFate’s open mic nights, but I’ve never seen the whole trio perform together. Earlier this year a friend asked me if I could recommend a bluegrass band. I was pretty anxious after recommending Squid’s Beard. When I heard they did well, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Just to let you know - I really had nothing to worry about. I heard they were playing the Bier Stube Friday night, so decided it would be a good night to check on this band that I had already recommended. If you are even just a little interested in bluegrass music, do yourself a favor and give these guys a listen. Jon is becoming a master at double picking. I spent a good long while watching his hands fly over the strings. Doing original music and covers, the trio has found a way to connect bluegrass with good old rock and roll, as they covered some great rock tunes. At first I was unsure of what I was hearing, and then it became very clear that was a Tom Petty song… yes, it was Mary Jane’s Last Dance… in a fast and furious bluegrass style. I’ve heard a lot of covers of that song – this was unique – and I loved it!

The Krank Daddies were headlining at RIBCO on that same night. My friend Alan has been to see them a couple of times and has had good things to say about them. From his photos I could tell they would be a great show to see. (See Alan’s photos HERE).

3 On The Tree Shenanigans

Another band I’ve never seen (and hadn’t even heard of), 3 on the Tree, was opening for them. I got to RIBCO about halfway through the opening set – and was really glad I made it in time! 3 on the Tree is a step back in time – great oldies music played with a lot of gusto (Drummer Rich calls them “shenanigans”) and a twist. These guys put on a show that keeps your toes tapping, your backside dancing, and your eyes and ears glued to the stage. I learned quickly that I didn’t want to look away for long – because I was bound to miss something. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen a string bass handled the way this guy handles a bass.


The Krank Daddies show was everything it promised to be – Rock and Roll at its finest. Technically, the Krank Daddies aren’t a QC band (they’re from the Chicago area) – but they’ve become a mainstay and are very popular… for a reason. Their show is a mix of great music and comedy – someone recently told me that guitarist Chops McClintock was also once a stand-up comic. Yes, I can see that. And bassist HighTops Farrelli swings a mean stand-up. Yes, it’s true. The three bands I saw Friday night had one thing in common – they all featured stand-up bass (string bass, bass fiddle…).

 Saturday night took a different direction, though it included a venue from Friday night. I spent the evening running back and forth between Rozz-tox and RIBCO with Tom Zick and Ren Estrand. We started out at Rozz-Tox with a local punk band called Sunset 4 Ever. They have an eighties punk style that brought back memories of tights and legwarmers and polka-dots… of course, it’s not that I ever dressed like that. I really enjoyed their sound – and recommend them to anyone who has ever liked punk.

Sunset 4 Ever
During the set change at Rozz-Tox we took a swing over to RIBCO to see how things were going with Have Your Cake, a Cake tribute band. I would like to be very clear here – until Saturday night, I had no idea Cake had enough music to support a tribute band. We didn’t stay long, so I’ll have more about Have Your Cake after I tell you about Effie Afton.

The Effie Afton

Effie Afton was the headline band at Rozz-Tox. This indie-rock band is also local – and named after an infamous tug boat. If you don’t know the story - Google Effie Afton - and learn a little QC history. I really enjoyed Effie Afton’s music and am still enjoying it – thanks to the free CD they were passing out with three of their original songs. I’m hoping to hear more from these guys soon.

Let Them Eat Cake

Back to RIBCO and Have Your Cake. This tribute band has it all – costumes, trumpet, fun percussion instruments, and deadpan lyrics. They have a lot of fun – and for a newer band have a very cohesive sound – their vocals are especially tight. Thanks to Have Your.., I think I’m now a Cake fan.

Weekends rarely end on Saturday night, but I don’t get out much on Sundays. I have a day job that gets me going early on Monday mornings, so I usually use Sunday to transition. This week I made an exception, and was happy I did. I learned that the Dukes of Haggard were playing a reunion show at the Bier Stube in Moline. I’ve seen the name from time to time, and made a wrong assumption that they were a country band.

One very small portion of the Dukes of Haggard stage

The Dukes are really a multi-genre cover band, but what makes them unique is the way they present the music. I cannot begin to put into words the zany antics of this crew… even my photos only tell part of the story. Although I was warned in advance that these guys are more about having fun and putting on a show than they are the quality of music, I thought much of the music they performed was good quality. And it is unlikely that they didn’t practice at all as was suggested on the event page for the show. A “retired” band having a reunion without practicing would not sound as good as the Dukes sounded Sunday night. And for the most part, their transitions between songs were right on … and more than just a little creative. The bar was packed – I spent the first set in the back, trying to get shots of the stage from above my head. I was much luckier for the second set and managed to get around to the front of the crowd – where I was promptly caught in a glitter shower. I’m still cleaning glitter out of my stuff… but it was very much worth it.

For that weekend, that was a total of seven bands... all of which I had never seen before. That's expanding my musical horizons!

Remember, you can see more band photos on my Flickr page HERE.

This week:

Friday – Night Light is playing at Rustic Ridge, The Curtis Hawkins band is at The Muddy Waters and the Rusty Nail has Nervous Rex. You’ll find Crossroads at Fargo and Terry and the Loan Sharks are playing at the Firehouse.

Saturday – The Winter Blues Allstars from RME will be opening for Samantha Fish in the Redstone Room while Rozz-tox has American Dust, Subatlantic and Lonely Hearts. Jason Carl and the whole Damn Band will squeeze onto the Hawkeye stage, Machine Gun Willie is at Crabby’s, and Martini’s has North of 40. You’ll find the Candymakers at the Renwick Mansion. The District Theatre has a musical review with 50 Shades of White.


  1. Krank Daddies and 3 On The Tree will be among the 20 bands playing Vintage Torque Fest in Dubuque May 3-4 - you should come up!

    1. I might just do that! Muscle cars AND 20 bands? I'm practically breathless already!