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Live Music You Should Leave The House For This Winter

Madeleine King
IPR File
NOLA Jazz Band joined IPR for "A Conquered Christmas" at xBk in Des Moines. They're playing a show at Noce in Des Moines on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Winter in Iowa can be harsh.  Rather than keeping you at home, perhaps the snow and cold can spur you on to see a great band in a warm venue! Here are a few upcoming shows that caught my attention. With a couple of exceptions, these are all nationally touring acts passing through our state.  In addition, there is a wealth of Iowa talent to be heard performing near you in the next couple of months!

Mike Doughty Tells Your Future

When: Thursday, Feb. 6, 8:00 p.m.
Where: The Mill, Iowa City
Tickets: $20-22

Mike Doughty’s band Soul Coughing had its heyday in the 90s, and he has gone on to have an interesting career since.  That includes solo projects, collaborations, a memoir (with another on the way this year), and his opera “Revelation.”  Living up to the name of this winter tour, Doughty’s trio will not only play a full set but will also reportedly interact with the audience in a clairvoyant way.  Intriguing!

Grace Potter

When: Sunday, Feb. 9, 8:00 p.m.
Where: Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines
Tickets: $38.50-$53.50

Grace Potter’s powerful set at the Hinterland a few years ago was just the thing for a hot August night.  Potter performing inside in February promises to be equally intense, particularly in light of recent personal and professional upheavals in her life.  Those events fuel her new album “Daylight,” and she’ll be bringing the energy of those new songs to Des Moines.

Winter Blues Fest

When: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15
Where: Downtown Marriott, Des Moines

Tickets: $45 for a weekend pass, $20 for a Friday pass, $30 for a Saturday pass

The Central Iowa Blues Society’s annual event features twenty acts, several of them Iowa bands.  The national acts performing that weekend include veteran crowd pleasers and up-and-comers, including guitar slingers Chris Cain and Albert Castiglia, and Lindsay Beaver who released a fine album last year.  I’ll mention one more performer:  Mike Zito who has just released a rocking record celebrating the music of Chuck Berry.

Mardi Gras with the NOLA Jazz Band

When: Saturday, Feb. 22 
Where: Noce, Des Moines
Tickets: $30

This will be a fine opportunity to celebrate Mardi Gras on the weekend before Fat Tuesday!  The night will include the NOLA Jazz Band conveying the spirit of New Orleans music, augmented by southern cuisine and drinks and special Bourbon Street ambiance in the club. “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Elliott Moss

When: Tuesday, Feb. 25
Where: Wooly’s, Des Moines
Tickets: $16-$18

New York based songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Elliott Moss has just released his new album titled “A Change In Diet.”  I hadn’t been aware of Moss until now, but his latest record of smart and creative songs is an early contender for my best of 2020 list.  His tour begins in early February and includes this stop in Des Moines.

Bob Weir and Wolf Bros

When: Tuesday, March 17
Where: Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines
Tickets: $59.50-$99.50

Come out and join your fellow Deadheads for Bob Weir in this trio format.  The other two members are bassist (and famed producer) Don Was, and Weir’s RatDog drummer Jay Lane.  These players are sure to be sympathetic to Weir’s aesthetic as he performs Grateful Dead songs and more from his storied career.

Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears

When: Wednesday, March 18
Where: Wooly’s, Des Moines
Tickets: $15

Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears rock with a soulful intensity, as exemplified on last year’s “The Difference Between Me & You.”  The band formed in Austin, Texas over a decade ago, and they are veterans of countless music festivals.  Here’s your opportunity to catch them at an indoor venue.

Bob Mould

When: Friday, March 20
Where: The Mill, Iowa City

Tickets: Sold out

Bob Mould is known for his work with the seminal band Husker Du, his later trio Sugar, and a distinguished solo career.  Mould’s current tour follows his latest album, and is named “Sunshine Rock Winter 2020 Solo Electric.”  I heard Mould speak at the Des Moines Music Coalition’s Music University a few years ago.  He’s an enthralling storyteller, and for this show he’ll be playing and singing as well! This show is currenlty sold out, but you could check the Facebook event to see if anyone is selling tickets between now and the show. 

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

When: Saturday, March 21
Where: xBk, Des Moines
Tickets: $15

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is not your grandfather’s big band. They are in fact not a big band at all, but a trio rocking with the energy of American roots music.  They hail from rural Indiana and call what they do “hi-energy country blues.”  The seasoned road warriors will prove it when their “Poor Until Payday” tour stops in Des Moines.

Kevin Morby with Hand Habits and Penny Peach

When: Saturday, March 21
Where: Electric Park Ballroom, Waterloo
Tickets: $25

Kevin Morby is a songwriter and vocalist with a string of five solid indie rock albums. He plays guitar, and played bass when he was in the acclaimed band Woods. The man is a rising talent, and here’s your chance to catch him in one of Iowa’s grand old ballrooms. Iowa City based musician Penny Peach and Los Angeles based band Hand Habits are opening for Morby. The show is being presented by the Friends of KHKE/KUNI, with all proceeds going to support Iowa Public Radio. 

Mark Simmet is a Senior Producer and Studio One Host