Awful Purdies celebrates 10th anniversary at Big Grove


Iowa City quintet Awful Purdies heads to Big Grove as part of the brewery’s free shows, which hope to engage with Iowa City.

By Matthew Kinney

Iowa City quintet Awful Purdies celebrated their 10th anniversary as a band in 2016, now they have a free performance at Big Grove Brewery, 1225 S Gilbert St, at 9 p.m. on April 27. The performance will be one of many that the band will play around the Iowa City area in the next few months.

Awful Purdies consists of five multi-instrumentalist women who take turns as lead singer and songwriter. The unique structure of the band and the versatility of each band member allows the group to fluctuate between many styles of music, from rock-a-billy to Motown.

While all five members of the band take turns singing lead vocals and writing songs, each member of the band plays her own instrument. The rich folk sound that the band produces comes as a result of this musical diversity which includes cello, accordion, banjo, mandolin, and guitar.

The past few years have been busy for the Awful Purdies, with numerous music videos, projects, and collaborations being released. In 2012, as a part of the Englert’s 100th anniversary, Awful Purdies was featured on a collaborative album titled the Iowa City Song Project. The album was a collaborative effort to support local artists, with 31 Iowan musicians and bands commissioned to write songs inspired by the city for the project.

The band released a music video in late 2017 in collaboration with the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust to raise awareness about the ongoing loss of Iowa farmland to development and the challenges new farmers face, while also showcasing SILT’s effort to protect the land and support a new generation of farmers.

The band members are active participants in the Iowa City area, with many side avenues pursued. Marcy Rosenbaum, who plays mandolin, guitar, and bass, teaches at the University of Iowa. Cellist Katie Senn directed high-school and middle-school orchestra in Cedar Rapids for 10 years. Katie Roche, xylophone and accordion player, is the development director at the Englert and is also the lead vocalist for a 1920s jazz group called the Dandelion Stompers, which frequently plays at the Clinton Street Social Club.

The band can also be seen at the Iowa City Arts Fest Main Stage at 2 p.m. June 2 and at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., at 11 a.m. July 29.

When: 9p.m. April 27

Where: Big Grove, 1225 S. Gilbert

Admisison: Free

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