3 things to do in Iowa City, highlighted by concerts, a holiday market


With a city that offers entertainment venues ranging from Elray’s Live and Dive to the Hancher Auditorium, live shows never fail.

It’s especially evident this weekend with an Iowa City-based band performing at Gabe’s with a Minnesota band taking the stage at the Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon. But in between, take advantage of a Saturday morning holiday market for your last minute shopping.

Here are three things to do this weekend in Iowa City.

Anthony Worden and the Illiterati at Gabe

Iowa City-based group Anthony Worden and the Illiterati will perform their last show of the year at Gabe’s on Friday.

The band released their second album “How Could We Lose When We’re So Sincere?” in October, a collaboration that, as Worden told the Press-Citizen, allowed everyone in the group to bring their own individuality and talent to the process.

This second album began as a “pandemic project,” Worden said, working on music as a way to keep busy in the months following the early March 2020 closings.

“It was really nice to have something to do every day during this time when there was not much to do and people were struggling to keep busy,” he said. “It’s really nice to have this mental escape.”

While it was a relief for the band to play live music again, Worden said they did so with caution, asking attendees of Friday’s show to get their shots and wear masks.

Iowa City-based group Anthony Worden and the Illiterati will perform on Gabe's Friday.

The theme of “How Can We Lose When We Are So Sincere?” Worden said, is “reverent” to the music the band loves, especially noticeable on the album cover, which features designs by Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Prince, among others.

Worden said he watched many older live concerts on YouTube during the pandemic. As a result, Worden tried to emulate some of the styles of those who inspired this latest album.

Worden and the Illiterati’s upcoming performance at Gabe’s is just one of many times the group has performed at the local concert hall.

It was easy to take the venue for granted due to how often the band plays there, but when the pandemic hit it was a space the band lost, Worden said. Worden and the Illiterati will return later, including for the release of “How Can We Lose When We’re So Sincere?”

There is history with Gabe, says Worden.

Although Gabe’s has known different names and owners, the venue remains a stop-off for many bands and has already hosted Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins and more.

“I feel like Gabe’s is also a place where all local foreigners go maybe, maybe artists or musicians, or different people who maybe couldn’t fit in with others. places or that might look weird in other places to go for a walk outside. And it’s definitely a place that I want to invest my time and energy in, a place where people feel at home. ‘comfortable in a way (and) accepted to be there,’ Worden said.

Friday’s setlist will feature music from the latest album as well as “Viola”, the band’s 2020 album, a Beatles cover and more. The first single from the album, “Sad Stories”, will be performed, and it’s a song Worden recommends to those new to their music.

There will be a food drive at the show. Those who bring in non-perishable food will receive a new CD from the group and participate in a raffle for a prize. All donations will go to Community Crisis Services and the Iowa City Food Bank.

Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $ 10.

Gabe’s is located at 330 E. Washington St.

Pert Near Sandstone at Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon

Live music continues throughout the weekend with Minneapolis-based bluegrass band Pert Near Sandstone at the Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon on Saturday.

A portrait of the Minneapolis Pert Near Sandstone group.

The group, whose members play instruments ranging from violin to banjo, arrive in Iowa City as part of their 20-date US tour following their 2020 album, “Rising Tide.” Her first album was released in 2007.

Pert Near Sandstone is one of the organizers of the three-day Blue Ox Music Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, celebrating bluegrass and American music that debuted in 2015.

The group will travel to Des Moines to perform at Wooly’s on Sunday.

Contemporary bluegrass group Chicken Wire Empire will perform with Pert Near Sandstone on Saturday.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $ 15 for general admission and $ 20 for a reserved table.

Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon is located at 4919 Walleye Drive SE.

Iowa City Holiday Market

In case you missed the various holiday markets that took place over the past month – the Holiday Thieves Market, Amana Settlements Holiday Bazaar, or the Holiday Kids Market in November – there will be one. other Saturday.

The annual Iowa City Holiday Market returns from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center in the first floor gymnasium and second floor social hall.

There, farmer’s market vendors and performers will have homemade and artisanal seasonal produce and foods available for purchase.

Masks are mandatory on the holiday market.

The Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center is located at 220 S. Gilbert Street.

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle, and the arts at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Contact her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.


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